Challenge: Can You Eat Healthy On A Budget of $40 for 2 Weeks


IMG_7350I decided to do this challenge after seeing all these food stamp challenges. I also wanted to know if I could create a 2 week meal plan that would allow me to stick to a $40 budget to include 3 meals and snacks for 2 weeks. Of course, this would only work if I had a few staples already in the house. I also would have to pay attention even more to serving sizes and meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! This challenge is posted after I completed it to show what I spent.

What Did I Already Have?

Oatmeal – A container of oatmeal has 11 servings (depending on what size you buy) if you eat the serving size which is 1/2 cup of dry oats. I already had a container in my cupboard and had only eaten 3 servings during my 7 Day Challenge so that left me with 8 servings. Since I don’t want to eat the same thing every day for breakfast, I will probably alternate. With 8 servings to eat, I can eat oatmeal 4 times out the 1st week and 4 times out the second.

Grits- I saw two containers of grits in my cupboard during the start of the 7 Day Challenge and thought I was good to go for the week. Then I found out that one of the containers was practically empty and the other one was about to be. I had to buy a bag of grits a week before I started this challenge which allowed me to mark this off my grocery list.

Three Cheese Sharp Shredded Cheese- I’m not even sure what I originally bought this for, but I still had it in the fridge and it doesn’t expire until September of this year. I plan on using this in my Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla

Real Bacon Pieces (Low Sodium)- my Aunt told me about this quick easy breakfast which involves grits, real bacon pieces and cheese. Real bacon pieces is cheaper than turkey bacon so there is savings there. Besides, I only eat bacon in my grits anyway.

Kraft Light Sour Cream

Rice Pilaf (2 boxes)- I got this at Wal-Mart during the 7 Day Challenge, it was marked down to $1 a box.

Cereal

Popcorn

Turkey Patties- leftover from the 7 Day Challenge

Pancake Mix

Light Ranch dressing

Jelly

Taco Seasoning

Hash browns

Chips- I am trying not to eat chips, but since I have 5 bags of chips, in the event I get hungry at work, I’ll grab one

Staples: Eggs, mayo, sweet relish, light margarine, peanut butter

Grocery List

  • Farmers Market (First Visit)
  1. 4 Bananas- I like to eat bananas in my oatmeal. I only need 8 bananas to go with my 8 servings of oatmeal. Well, technically 4 because only half a banana is needed in oatmeal, but you get the picture. However, since I don’t like my bananas really ripe, I bought 4 from the Farmer’s Market and at the top of the 2nd of week, I bought another 4
  2. 4 Baked Potatoes – there’s something about having a potato with fish, whether its mashed or baked. Hopefully I can find 4 really good ones for a great price
  3. 1 zucchini
  4. 1 squash

Total Spent: $3.24

  • Farmers Market (Second Visit)

1. 4 Bananas

2. 2 Plum Tomatoes

Total Spent: $1.40

Total Spent at the Farmers Market: $4.64

Notes: I definitely could’ve gotten more squash and zucchini on my first visit considering the price at the Farmers Market, but once I slice these two veggies up, it spreads very well so only 2 are needed. Never again will I buy produce from a supermarket. I normally spend $4 on 4 microwave-ready potatoes. Here at the market, I didn’t even spend $4 on everything I got.

  • Wally World (Wal-Mart- First Visit)
  1. Bag of Salmon (I bought this during the 7 Day Challenge for only $3.25. This week, it was $3.97)
  2. 1 bag of broccoli florets
  3. 1 pack of English Muffins (12-count) (I could’ve gotten a 6-pack of whole wheat bagels for less, but I chose the English muffins because its lower in calories)

Total Spent: $7.69

  • Wally World (Second Visit)

1. Salad Mix

Total Spent: 1.48

Note: I couldn’t find the bag for .99 that was for 2 servings so I had to buy the 4 serving bag.

Total Spent at Wally World: $9.17

Save-A-Lot (I prefer Save-A-Lot over Aldi only because they give you bags, lol)

  1. 1 can of black beans
  2. 1 can of whole kernel corn
  3. 1 jar of Mild Salsa
  4. 1 pack of whole wheat tortillas (10 count)
  5. 1 package of Sandwich cheese
  6. Bacon bits (this is actually for my baked potato since I’m using real bacon pieces for my grits)
  7. Cream of Mushroom soup
  8. Crackers
  9. 1 can of spinach
  10. 1 can of green beans
  11. 1 can of collard greens
  12. Yogurt (4)
  13. Pinto Beans (2 cans)
  14. 1 loaf of whole wheat bread
  15. 2 packs of Tyson Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (3 breasts each)
  16. 1 pack of chicken drumsticks

Total Spent at Save-A-Lot: $25.79

What Did I Spend?

I spent a total of $39.60. While I intended to show copies of all my receipts, I accidentally threw away the receipts to the Farmers’ Market and to Wally World on my second visits.

Meal Plan (Week One)

Sunday 06/07/2015

Breakfast: Oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 toasted English muffin with 1 tbsp of light butter

Lunch: 1 chicken drumstick, 1 serving of rice pilaf, 1/2 cup of spinach

Dinner: Moe’s Grill to support the Theta Eta Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho’s fundraiser (EEE-YIP!)

Monday 06/08/2015

Breakfast: 1 serving of grits, 1 tbsp of Real Bacon pieces, and 1 slice of sandwich cheese, and 1 toasted English muffin with 1 tbsp of light butter

Snack: Yogurt

Lunch: 1 chicken drumstick, 1 serving of rice pilaf, 1/2 cup of spinach

Dinner: 4 oz of salmon, baked potato with butter, bacon bits and sour cream, 1 cup of broccoli florets

Tuesday 06/09/2015

Breakfast: Oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 toasted English muffin with 1/2 a  tbsp of light butter

Snack: Yogurt

Lunch: 1 chicken drumstick, 1 serving of rice pilaf, 1/2 cup of spinach

Dinner: 4 oz of salmon, baked potato with butter, bacon bits and sour cream, 1 cup of broccoli florets

Wednesday 06/10/2015

Breakfast: 1 serving of grits, 1 tbsp of Real Bacon pieces, and 1 slice of sandwich cheese and 1 toasted English muffin with 1 tbsp of light butter

Snack: Yogurt

Lunch: Shredded Chicken with brown rice, cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup of collard greens

Dinner: 4 oz of salmon, baked potato, 1 cup of broccoli florets

Thursday 06/11/2015

Breakfast: Egg Muffin Sandwich ( 1 English Muffin with 1 egg, 1/2 tbsp of butter, and 1 tbsp of bacon bits)and 1 banana

Lunch: Shredded Chicken with brown rice, cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup of collard greens

Snack: Yogurt

Dinner: 4 oz of salmon, baked potato, 1 cup of broccoli florets

Friday 06/12/2015

Breakfast: 1 serving of grits, 1 tbsp of Real Bacon pieces, and 1 slice of sandwich cheese and 1 toasted English muffin with 1 tbsp of light butter

Snack: Yogurt

Lunch: Shredded Chicken with brown rice, cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup of collard greens

Dinner: 1 broccoli and cheese baked potato and 4 Chicken Nuggets from Wendy’s

Saturday 06/13/2015

Snack: 1 banana

Breakfast: 1 serving of grits with butter, slice of cheese and 2 turkey patties and 1 English Muffin with butter

Lunch: Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla (Check out the recipe here!)

Dinner: Shredded Chicken with brown rice, cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup of California Style Vegetable Mix (leftover from the 7 Day Challenge)

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Meal Plan (Week Two)

Sunday 06/14/2015

Breakfast: Egg Muffin Sandwich ( 1 English Muffin with 1 egg, 1/2 tbsp of butter, and 1 tbsp of bacon bits)

Lunch: Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla

Dinner: 4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1 cup of cooked/sliced  zucchini+ squash mix, 1/2 cup of  pinto beans

Monday 06/15/2015

Breakfast: Oatmeal and 1 banana, 1 toasted English muffin with 1 tbsp of light butter

Lunch: 4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1 cup of zucchini/ squash mix, 1/2 cup of pinto beans

Snack: Yogurt

Dinner: Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla

Tuesday 06/16/2015

Breakfast:2 Black Bean and Corn Burritos (I made burritos with the leftover mix versus quesadillas)

Lunch: 4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1 cup of zucchini/ squash mix, 1/2 cup of pinto beans

Snack: Crackers and Peanut Butter

Dinner: 1 drumstick, 1/2 cup of pinto beans, 1 serving of rice pilaf, 1/2 cup of green beans

Wednesday 06/17/2015

Breakfast: Oatmeal and 1 banana, 1 toasted English muffin with 1 tbsp of light butter

Lunch: Shredded Chicken with brown rice, cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup of collard greens (leftovers!)

Snack: Crackers and Peanut Butter

Dinner: 1 drumstick, 1/2 cup of pinto beans, 1 serving of rice pilaf

Thursday 06/18/2015

Breakfast: 2 sausage burritos and 2 hash browns from McDonalds’ (I was running late and had a cheat meal)

Lunch: 1 drumstick, 1 serving of rice pilaf, 1/2 cup of pinto beans

Dinner: Chicken Salad (1/4 of the salad mix with baked chicken, tomatoes, eggs, and light ranch dressing)

Friday 06/19/2015

Breakfast: 1 banana, 1 serving of grits, 1 tbsp of Real Bacon pieces, and 1 slice of sandwich cheese

Lunch: Chicken Salad (1/4 of the salad mix with baked chicken, tomatoes, eggs, and light ranch dressing)

Dinner: 1 drumstick, 1 serving of rice pilaf, 1/2 cup of pinto beans

Saturday 06/20/2015

Breakfast: No breakfast this morning. I slept in

Lunch: Chicken Salad (1/4 of the salad mix with baked chicken, tomatoes, eggs, and light ranch dressing)

Dinner: My uncle treated me to a cheat meal at Ryan’s.

7 Day Challenge (Day Seven): Saturday, June 6, 2015


IMG_7349Food, Food, Food

Breakfast

1 serving of grits, 2 turkey patties, slice of cheese and 1 banana

Calories: 425
Lunch

4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of collard greens

Calories: 160

Snack

6 oz of Lowfat Strawberry Banana Yogurt

Calories: 205

Dinner

1 chicken drumstick, 1 cup of California Style Vegetable Mix, 1/2 cup of whole kernel corn, 1/2 cup of Near East Wild Mushroom

Calories: 435

Total Calories: 1170

Exercise

30 minute walk on the treadmill at 3 miles per hour (I did various inclines every 5 minutes)

Water

1 gallon of water completed!

7 Day Challenge (Day Six): Friday, June 5, 2015


IMG_7348Food, Food, Food

Breakfast

1 serving of Mom’s Best Oatmeal, 1 banana, 2 turkey patties

Calories: 400

Snack

6 oz cup of Yoplait Light Limited Edition Watermelon Yogurt

Calories: 90

Lunch

4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1 cup of zucchini/ squash mix and 1/2 cup of black eye peas

Calories: 208

Snack

6 oz cup of Lowfat Strawberry Banana yogurt with 1/2 cup of Post Honey Ohs cereal

Calories: 205

Dinner

Calories: 4 oz of pink salmon skin-on, 1/2 cup of whole kernel corn, 1 cup of California Vegetable Medley

Calories: 200

Exercise

2 laps around the Lake Pointe Business Park, completed in 34 minutes

Water

1 gallon- completed!

7 Day Challenge (Day Five): Thursday, June 6, 2015


dayfiveOn My Soapbox

Well, since my oranges went bad, I didn’t have that as a snack. I also was busy at the beginning of the day so I didn’t even have a mid-morning snack. I really hope I’m not putting my body in starvation mode by sometimes not eating 1200 calories. I did it make it to almost 1500 today. It’s only because I got a salad from Wendy’s to go with dinner. I guess I’ll see on Sunday at weigh-in if these calories will affect the scale.

Food, Food, Food

Breakfast

1 serving of grits with 1 tbsp of light margarine, 2 turkey patties and 1 slice of cheese, 1 banana

Calories: 425

Lunch

4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1/2 cup of black eye peas, 1/2 cup of collard greens

Calories: 210

Snack

6 oz of Nonfat Banana Creme Pie Yogurt with 1/2 cup of Post Honey Ohs

Calories: 135

Dinner

1 chicken drumstick, 1/2 cup of black eye peas, 1/2 of collard greens

Half size Apple Pecan Chicken Salad with 2 tbsps of Pomegranate Vinaigrette dressing from Wendy’s

Calories: 690

Total Calories: 1460

Exercise: I was only able to do 1 lap around the business park before it started drizzling. I was talking on the phone during the walk so it took me 20 minutes for 1 lap versus the normal 15-17. I then did 10 minutes at home of freestyle dancing to The Pussycat Dolls and Christina Aguilera 🙂 

Water: 1 gallon completed!

7 Day Challenge (Day Four): Wednesday, June 3, 2015


IMG_7346On My Soapbox

So to help me get closer to 1200 calories, when me and my temporary roommate went to Jack in the Box, I bought the Sourdough Grilled Chicken Club sandwich, didn’t eat the bread or the bacon (pork is considered as a red meat, which is against the challenge), but only ate the grilled chicken, lettuce, and tomato. I also once again finished all of my water, another gallon down!

Food, Food, Food

Breakfast

1 packet of Kiggins Instant Oatmeal- Raise & Spice with 1 tbsp of light margarine, 2 turkey patties, and 1 banana

Calories:400

Snack

6 oz of Nonfat Banana Creme Pie Yogurt with 1/2 cup of Post Honey Ohs cereal

Calories: 135

Lunch

4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1/2 cup of sliced carrots, and 1/2 cup of collard greens

Calories: 160

Snack

I planned on eating an orange as my snack, but my orange was rotten! Eewww!

Dinner

1 chicken drumstick, 1/2 cup of whole kernel corn, 1/2 cup of collard greens

Calories:260

Misc

Jack in the Box Sourdough Grilled Chicken Club

Calories: The sandwich is originally 540 calories but since I removed the bread and bacon, I’m not sure how many calories that is. So I basically divided the total calories in half and assumed that without the bread and bacon, it could be 270. It could be way less, but I really have no way of really knowing.

Exercise

I was only able to walk 1 mile at work before it started drizzling in 19 minutes. I went over my usual time by 2 minutes. I also spent 11 minutes freestyle dancing around my room.

Total Calories: 1223

7 Day Challenge (Day Three): Tuesday, June 2, 2015


On My Soapbox

Well, according to MyFitnessPal, getting slightly over 1000 is good enough. I completed my entry for yesterday and it didn’t give me a message that I wasn’t eating enough calories. I didn’t do that much better today. Only clocked in at 1012 calories.

Food, Food, Food

Breakfast

1 banana, 1 serving of grits with light margarine, 2 turkey patties and a slice of cheese

Calories: 455 

Snack

6 oz cup of Nonfat Banana Creme Pie Yogurt with 1/2 cup of Post Honey Ohs

Calories: 135

Lunch

4 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1/2 cup of sliced carrots, 1/2 cup of collard greens

Calories: 160

Snack

1 orange

Calories: 62

Dinner

4 oz of baked pink salmon, 1/2 cup of whole kernel corn, 1/2 cup of green beans

Calories: 190

Misc:

Total Calories: 1012 calories

Exercise

2 laps around the Lake Pointe Business Park, completed in 34 minutes