[In case you missed the intro to Jessica’s SNAP Challenge]
I am guilty of some bad habits. I usually don’t decide what I am going to eat for dinner until I am on my way home that evening. By the time I get home, I am starving and sometimes make poor dinner choices because I do not have much time to cook. This week, my goal is to improve this habit. By a lot.
To help me do this, I decided that doing my grocery store shopping and cooking a chunk of my food on the weekend would save me time throughout the week.
First, I picked out three recipes I wanted to cook the following week. I chose recipes with low cost ingredients and recipes I could eat 2-3 times. Next, I made a little chart with breakfast, lunch, and dinner on it. I took about 45 minutes to plan my meals for the next week. I knew that with only having $32, I would have to buy stuff that would last!
My list and I took a trip to the big box supercenter to do 99% of the grocery shopping. Here’s my grocery list I took with me.
Tips for finding low cost food:
- Choose seasonal produce.
- Farmer’s markets! Some markets have incentive programs that double your SNAP benefits used at the market.
- Choose canned veggies if needed. Many canned goods are less than $1.
- Buy store-brand.
- Only buy in bulk if you know you will eat the food before it goes bad.
- Keep food in the fridge to prevent it from going bad and thus losing $. I keep my produce and bread in the fridge.
- Stay away from processed, pre-prepared foods. These are costly and usually don’t last long. You are paying for convenience when you purchase these types of food.
After I got home, I spent some time cooking on my day off. These are the things I prepared ahead of time:
- Crockpot chicken chili- will talk about recipe on Day 1
- Spaghetti squash- this made a lot!
- Boiled eggs
Overall, it took about 1.5 hours of actual labor to prepare these things. The squash and chili took a while to cook, but I got other things done around the house while I waited for these to cook. These were my two biggest things to prepare so I was totally relieved to have them already cooked.
After cooking everything I put the food in neat little containers and was ready to go!