Friday, June 1, 2012

My REAL food Challenge!

So here was my challenge to myself this past week or so...Eat only REAL foods and very minimally processed foods (if any) with 5 ingredients or less, while ON a (fairly tight) budget.  This is usually how we eat anyway so not much changed except just being a little more aware of the things we do buy and making sure it stays within my guidelines.  AND I spent way less money....

What were my  guidelines exactly?

Most of all we bought organic when possible, used farm fresh meats, and LOTS of fruits and veggies!!

1) No refined or processed sugars (white sugar, brown sugar, or any added sugar to any already packaged anything--only natural like honey, pure maple syrup, and liquid stevia and in limited quanities)

2) No white flours or grains (all whole wheat),

3) And if anything was in a container of some sorts that it had 5 ingredients or less (if it happened to be 6 bc the fresh salsa contained more veggies than 5 or 1 ingredient was water on a true natural product, I didn't beat myself up...),

4) And those 5 ingredients could not include any artifical colors, no high fructose corn syrup(obviously since it goes against rule #1), nothing that I couldn't pronounce or that had more than 12 letters to it's name (cuz usually all those are bad).

 Only exception is that when we are invited to someone's house and graciously given food, we will eat it and not let our food choices come before our relationships.  And since that doesn't happen too often anyway, not a big deal.

And the budget??...I wanted to stay around $150 for the week.  We are a family of 7 (6 of us eating food)...but those 6 all eat like adults.  And if you know my kids, you know that's true! :)

My total?  $136.83  Under budget!!  (And get this...I looked up what our "allowance" would be in the state of illinois if we were on a full food stamp program...$263 per week!!!!  That is RIDICULOUS!!!  We ate REAL nutritous food, fed a family of 7, for HALF of the allowance for food stamps!!!

Where did I shop?  3 places....Majority from Trader Joe's.  Some from Target (what I couldn't find at TJs), and then a few things at Sams Club.  (And since we don't have a source for good meat yet, the 2# of burger I used was bought from home which we got from our farmer so technically that wasn't out of the budget but it cost us $4/lb totalling $8 so even if you added that to the total, I was still under budget! :)

So what did I make?  Well here is my menu...Breakfast first line, lunch second, supper third, and snack in parenthesis. 

(Nathan's lunches usually consisted of left-overs, sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and/or yogurt)

Oatmeal, raisins/milk, fruit
PB bread, yogurt, smoothies, apples
Warm bean dip/chips

pancakes, fruit
grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches, veggies/dip
pizza at friends house
(hard boiled eggs)

French toast, bananas
Beach--meat sandwiches, trail mix (almonds, pistasios, cherries), raisins and grapes
Cheese/crackers, veggies (too burnt and tired to make anything else!)

Fried eggs on toast, apples/bananas
Buttered noodles, strawberry/yogurt dip with apples
Taco salad, guacamole/chips

Oatmeal, raisins/milk, fruit
Buttered bread, applesauce, carrots, orange smoothie
Creamy crock chicken & rice, steamed brocolli

Smoothies, toast, fruit
Leftover chicken & rice, veggies
Salmon pieces, spaghetti, green salad/sunflower seeds
(crackers, cheese, almonds)

Oatmeal, raisins/milk, fruit
Bean & cheese burritoes wrapped in cabbage, veggies/dip
Baked potatoes with fixings
(almonds, cheese)

And actually I have enough left to do today's menu too....

Oatmeal with milk, fruit (was going to be scambled eggs but 4 outta 4 votes was oatmeal)
Peachberry slushies, veggies/dip, buttered bread, almonds
Hamburger stroganoff, cooked cabbage
(frozen blueberries & strawberries)

So there ya have it.  If I can do this living in a hotel, with 5 kids, no oven, no dishwasher and only 2 burners on my stove, you can do it too!!  I challenge you!

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