A healthy grocery list on a $25 weekly budget
This is post # 3 of a series of post on eating on a $25 weekly budget. Click here for the beginning post.
What does a fairly healthy grocery list look like on a $25 weekly budget? (I won’t claim that everything on our grocery list is healthy. That is why I say, a “fairly healthy grocery list.” If you want to eat completely organic, check out how this family does it on $188 a month.)
We purchase a few ready-made foods, dried pasta (the regular macaroni or spaghetti noodles because they are the cheapest. I like the shell or bow noodles as much as any girl, but it’s just paying for the shape.), tortilla chips (cheaper and healthier than most any other kind of chip or crunchy food along that line), and tortilla shells (Homemade ones break easier so they do not work as well in Paul’s lunch.), and occasionally crackers.
The sort of stuff we do not buy is box cereal, ready-made sauces (spaghetti sauce, etc.), “instant” products (oatmeal, rice, etc.), gravy or seasoning packets, boxed foods (macaroni, rice mixes, cake mixes, etc.), precut or made salads, fruits, or vegetables, bread (with the occasional exception of hot dog buns, since hot dogs are un-healthy anyway, I sometimes go ahead and buy a cheap package of hot dog buns for .80 cents or less at Aldi.), pre-made canned foods (soup, etc.) and frozen dinners.
While many of those items are expensive, some of them might be cheaper store bought. Such as, a cheap loaf of store bought bread might very well be less expensive than making it. However, we are not only considering a frugal grocery list, but a healthy grocery list. Homemade whole wheat bread is far healthier than cheap store bought white bread. And simple homemade granola cereal has no food coloring or high fructose corn syrup.
So what kind of foods goes on a healthy grocery list while trying to maintain a low weekly budget? The grocery cart might vary, so let’s just look at what our freezers and pantry generally has in them. The freezers hold frozen juice concentrate (we drink mostly water, but when we want orange juice for a big breakfast, it is most convenient to have the non-sugar-filled concentrate in the freezer), butter, frozen garden vegetables, frozen wild berries we picked in the summer, meat (just plain pounds of raw pork, beef, and chicken with the exception of corn beef, sausage, and sometimes hotdogs), maybe a homemade pre-made meal (left over spaghetti, slices of homemade bread, stuffed bell peppers etc.), and ice-cream (sigh, yes I have to admit it! That is one reason this is only speaking of a “fairly” healthy grocery list!).
Refrigerator foods would be garden vegetables such as lettuce, carrots and beets, also purchased milk, eggs, butter, condiments, maple syrup, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and maybe some few store-bought fruits and vegetable we do not grow such as celery and oranges.
Other usual items we have around are all the garden vegetable in the summer, and in the winter the garden storable vegetables of onions, butternut squash, and potatoes. Store bought items would be the common ingredients needed for cooking – seasonings and spices, yeast, baking powder, soy sauce, oil, vinegar, etc. Then – honey, wheat berries, popcorn kernels (no microwave stuff. We also grind our own cornmeal from the kernels), bananas (or apples in the fall), raisins, brown rice, dried beans, some nuts, peanut butter, cocoa, chocolate chips, tortilla shells, tortilla chips, oats, pasta, and maybe grits. Because we grow and freeze vegetables like tomatoes and green beans, we buy very little canned goods. Olives is about the only regular canned foods we keep, though sometimes we might have canned tuna or something like canned tart cherries. You may sometimes find other foods in the house, but those are the usual ones.