So, the new year begins again! A time for re-evaluating our lives to see what can be improved on. My personal health goals are to eat Paleo 99.99% of the time and to increase my cardio workouts to 5 days per week. Our family will begin by our annual Whole30 cleanse. It’s nice to get the first few days out of the way before I begin teaching again. The sugar detox after Christmas can make me a bear!
Recently, I was asked to teach my school community about healthy cooking with kids. I’m SO excited to take on this venture. I’m going to try to stick to the budget that food stamps provides for a family of 4, which is around $500 per month. With a few tricks and lot of smart planning, this is more than enough to feed a family a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. I think the big change will be them learning to cook vs. reheat/warm up processed food. Real food also takes time, which can be hard for working parents. I have lots of ideas, though! Planning is the key, along with creating food storage when items are at a good price. Thanks to my mom and grandmothers, I was taught this skill from an early age. I remember sitting down with my mom, looking at what we had in the refrigerator or was ripe in the garden, the protein sources available to us at the time, and the local grocery store circulars. A plan was made, and thus we always had healthy food on the table. Here’s the modern day version of my “plan.”
The large box ($25) from 5280 Produce this week contains:
- Bananas – smoothies / breakfast
- Macintosh Apples (5) – lunches
- Mangos (4) – dinner 2 and snacks
- Tangerines (6) – lunches
- Kiwi (1 pkg) – snacks / smoothies
- Cantaloupe (1) – snacks
- XL Tomatoes (4) – dinner 1 and salads
- Avocados (6) – dinner 1, 2
- Celery (2) – dinner / snacks
- Broccoli Bunches (2) – meals
- Romaine Hearts – lunch and dinner salads
- Baby Carrots (1 pkg) snacks / lunch / dinner
Looking at the Sprout’s ad for the week, I see that I’ll be buying the following items on sale:
- Jonagold apples (2 pounds for $1) $4.00
- Raw Almonds ($4.99 per pound) $5.00
- Chicken Breast Tenders ($1.97 per pound) – extra packages for the freezer $10.00
- Unsweetened Almond milk – $2.50 each
- Rump Roast – 3 pounds @ $2.97 per pound – 1 extra for the freezer $18
- Baby Carrots – 98 cents for 1 pound. I know they’re in the box, but we’ll eat a lot of them this week. $2.00
- Brussel sprouts – $.98 per pound – 2 or 3 pounds. $3.00
- cucumbers – 3 for $1. Great for snaking and for salads. $3
- Chicken Breakfast Sausage – $2.97 per pound
Other items to pick up that aren’t on sale, but they’re necessary for this week:
- limes $1
- salmon $14
- 5 pound bag of carrots (usually $2.99 at Sprouts)
- baby spinach $2.50
- canned diced tomatoes $2.00
- Red Peppers – $0.99 at King Soopers $2.00
- Beef Broth – usually $0.50 at King Soopers. Just watch to make sure there is no added sugar. $1.00
- Eggs – 3 dozen $4.50
By planning out my menu and stocking up my freezer with extra chicken and rump roast, I’ll spend around $100 this week, including the produce box. Not too bad.
Breakfast will be Paleo Breakfast Muffins. I’ll use the breakfast sausage from Sprouts and some of the spinach instead of the kale. I’ll double the recipe. I always under-cook them by about 2 minutes so that when I heat them in the microwave they’re not tough. I’ll have enough for all 4 of us to have 2-3 a day next week along with a piece of fruit. Another option is a smoothie. We have bananas, almond milk, kiwi, and mangoes to blend together with a spoon of almond butter and chia seeds.
Lunch will usually be leftovers. Lots of soup, salad with leftover chicken tenders cut up on them, sweet potatoes with pot roast or ground beef.
Snacks will be Roasted Rosemary Almonds, fruit or celery with almond butter.
It’s going to be a great 2017.
Whole30 Menu Days 1-7
- Paleo Chicken Tortilla Soup – I’ll use chicken that I purchased at 5280 for my protein. Lots of leftovers for lunch.
- Blackened Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa – I’ll use the red onion from my box 2 weeks ago. I’ll serve with roasted baby carrots and russet potatoes (The potatoes are from the box 2 weeks ago.)
- Chicken Broccoli Casserole and Romaine Salad with Paleo Ranch Dressing. I’ll need to pick up more chicken. Sprouts has breasts tenders for $1.97 per pound if you don’t have a stash in your freezer. I use chicken broth from cooking the chicken instead of the bone broth. Trader Joe’s has the best price on canned coconut milk to use in the ranch dressing. When you go, pick up a few cans! While you’re there, pick up a bag of ground almond flour / meal – 1 pound is $4.99. They make amazing chicken tenders.
- Crock Pot Rump Roast – This piece of meat is always a tricky one. The only way I’ve ever cooked it so it’s not tough is in the crockpot. On low. For 10+ hours. 15-16 is best. About an hour before they’re done, I’ll trim the Brussel sprouts and roast them with baby carrots after I’ve tossed them in some olive oil and seasoned with black pepper and a little sea salt. Maybe some potatoes, too?
- Mustard Balsamic Pork Chops – We have some pork shoulder steaks in our freezer that I need to use and this recipe is as good in the oven as on the grill. I’ll serve with a salad and roasted Brussel Sprouts.
- Chicken Strips with Paleo Ranch Dressing. Probably serving with potato wedges. You can make a Whole30 Ketchup and it’ll be worth it if you’re sticking with the program for 30 days. Other than that, I’d probably substitute with Sriracha or make a honey-mustard using Dijon and honey.
- Spinach-Beef-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – This is one of my favorite meals! I have some giant, left over sweet potatoes that I need to cook and beef from the 5280 Meat Package in December. I love having protein available in the freezer. This is one of my favorite meals! If you add some cumin and chili powder to the ground beef, you have a Tex-Mex flavored meal. I try to double the filling and then bake a lot of sweet potatoes so that I can bring this to work as my lunch.