I Feed My Family Of Five For $100 A Week — Here's Exactly What A Week Of Meals & Groceries Looks Like For Us
·24 min read
Hi! I'm Sydney, a stay-at-home mom of three, and I make homemade meals for my Colorado family every week.
Each weekend, I plan all my family's meals for the upcoming week. This includes choosing the recipes I will make — via the internet and cookbooks — plus the actual shopping.
With meal planning, up-front preparation is key — but it's also the most challenging thing. Here are a few tips and tricks that I use each week:
1) I pick recipes with ingredients that can be used for multiple meals (and in multiple ways). This also includes getting creative with leftovers. Sometimes eating leftovers all the time can get old, but I try to remember that I can always use different components of my leftovers to create new meals.
2) I look at what's on sale. For example, this week I was able to get avocados on sale with a stackable coupon, honey for half off, and BOGO chicken thighs!
3) I buy the cheapest store brand most of the time. Unless it's something that I'm unable to use due to the peanut allergy (or if a different brand is on sale), store brand it is.
4) I ask my kids to help me! Feeding kids is a challenge. They change their minds constantly, and they seemingly get new taste buds every meal. When I ask them to help pick out recipes (usually by them looking at pictures), I find that they are more excited to eat them.
My kids are small, so I'm really able to make $100 go a long way — as long as it's coupled with a plan.
This past week, my groceries rang in at $103.15. This includes all breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I found my recipes online and input all my ingredients into my local grocery store's app.
I normally like to plan, shop, and start cooking for the week on Saturdays. However, this Saturday we were not going to be home until after dinnertime. I planned ahead and made sure to get my grocery list completed before we left for the day.
I love grocery delivery primarily because it helps prevent impulse buying. (The last time I went to the store, I ended up with a ceramic porch pumpkin, a Captain Underpants book, and two loaves of bread I had to buy because my toddler smashed them. 🙃)
Here was this week's grocery haul:
Two other things to mention when it comes to portioning out meals in my home: My oldest eats lunch at school, so that's one less serving to worry about. My husband comes home for lunch every day, but he doesn't eat breakfast every day (which I 100% disagree with because breakfast is the best).
Here's how my week went!
We had an extremely busy Saturday, so Sunday was all about taking it easy. In the morning I decided to do something simple that would also buy me more breakfasts throughout the week. I made Hash Brown Breakfast Cups.
I measured out my ingredients and combined everything together. I should have read my recipe before getting started because I discovered the recipe called for the hashbrowns to be thawed. Despite this, we carried on because if my kids are awake, they want to be eating. No time to wait!
I filled my muffin tin with the frozen hash brown mixture and pressed them into the cup shape about halfway through baking (instead of in the beginning, as the recipe instructs).
I always try to keep my kids busy while I'm cooking. Otherwise things typically turn sour fast when all of them start fighting with each other.
Soon enough the eggs were ready. Like I said before, I kept these simple for my first time. Next time I would also like to add different breakfast meat and/or veggies! To help with cleanup, I would also highly recommend using muffin liners.
After breakfast, the whole family headed out for some activity. Everyone thrives on outdoor time, especially my toddler. I really try to make sure we spend every morning outdoors so that we can keep a peaceful household for the remainder of the day.
By the time we got back home, everyone was hungry and also tired. I wanted to keep lunch simple, but also delicious. Enter: BLTs!
Usually when I cook bacon, I prefer to toss it all onto a sheet pan and pop it in the oven — rather than cooking it on the stovetop. I also always line my baking sheet with foil to help with cleanup.
BLTs are nothing gourmet, but the comfort makes them so satisfying!
For dinner I wanted to incorporate fresh veggies and keep it light since it was still a very hot day in Colorado. I decided to make One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken.
The entire recipe was made in one pot, which I appreciated when it came time for cleanup!
Once the chicken thighs were browned, I removed them from my Dutch oven and set them aside. I then added honey, brown sugar, garlic, and spices to make the sauce.
Everything turned out very tasty with this recipe. I think the chicken would have been juicier had I used skin-on, bone-in thighs — but the flavor was definitely there either way!
Monday started out with leftovers for the first two meals. I was able to quickly heat the Hash Brown Breakfast Cups and get my son situated for another week of school.
Everyone was looking forward to BLTs again for lunch. I kept the BLTs for my youngest two kids separated out so that it would be easier to eat for them.
The rest of the school day was spent at home learning and exploring.
Now, I am notorious for planning recipes that need bread (like a baguette or French bread) and then waiting until the end of the week to make it — which by then has me wondering how to salvage my now-stale loaf. I was determined to not let that happen this week, so I made North African-style Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce for Monday's dinner!
Prep was super easy: just chopping onion and garlic, sautéing everything, then adding diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
After some time allowing the tomato mixture to thicken, I added the eggs and let them sit. Depending on how you like your yolks, you can finish the dish once the egg whites are cooked.
I plated each dish and put a baguette in the oven to warm.
I was weary about my son's reaction to this meal because he doesn't normally like "red sauce" dishes — even spaghetti sauce. So I thought he would be hesitant about this.
Plenty of leftovers to carry on to tomorrow too.
On Tuesday, I woke up to a nice surprise: My husband was already up and making eggs for breakfast. He had also been amped up about the hash brown egg cups and finished off the remaining leftovers of those.
Normally the girls and I spend our days with just ourselves. I've recently been feeling really burned out of our normal activities, so this morning I took them to an outdoor story time put on by our local library.
The girls were already looking very sleepy in the car on the way home, so I just reheated the leftovers we had in the fridge for lunch and got them to nap as quickly as possible.
The kids really didn't eat much at lunch so I wanted to have a snack ready to go when they woke up — and for my son to enjoy when he got home from school. I took a quick inventory and realized I was going to have quite a bit of leftover cheese this week. I decided to make Homemade Cheese Crackers.
I threw all of my ingredients together in my mixer and let it all combine together to form the dough. Then I wrapped the dough up and put it in the fridge for about 20–30 minutes.
Once the dough was chilled, I rolled it out nice and thin with my rolling pin. I'm no stranger to the homemade cracker, so I already had these fish cookie cutters on hand. (However, the recipe just has you cut little squares.)
These crackers ended up being a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that my kids love them. The curse is that my youngest loves them so much that she'll stand in the pantry and scream until you give her more.
After their snack, my kids played outside and had some down time while I started thinking about dinner. My middle child held onto the last minutes of summer weather — running through the sprinklers.
Keeping with the warm weather theme, I incorporated some summer tones into dinner by making Sweet & Sour Pork.
I wanted all of my ingredients to be prepped and ready before I started my cooking. I chopped all my produce and set it on a plate next to the stove so I could access it easily.
I didn't need the entire pineapple for this recipe, so I cut the remainder into chunks and threw it into the fridge for snacking.
Back to the pork! After a quick dredge, I tossed the diced pieces into my air fryer. (The recipe has you cook the pork on the stove, but I wanted to make it easier.)
Now it was about this time that some inevitable weekly chaos ensued. While wrapping up this meal, the kids were pulling my legs, wanting me to hold them, crying, fighting — you name it.
In the middle of it all, I went to the pantry and grabbed what I thought was rice, rinsed it, boiled it, and let it sit covered. When it was done cooking, it was...orzo?? Wasn't on my grocery list, nor was it in my weekly budget. It was just what I happened to grab blindly in the pantry in a moment of near-meltdown.
Here was everything plated up with the rice. (Er, orzo.)
Personally, this wasn't my favorite dish due to the cornstarch mishap. My kids didn't really seem to love it too much either. We did end up having enough leftovers for my husband to have it for lunch, as he was the only one that really enjoyed it.
If you've read my previous meal plans, you'll know by now that my kids love oatmeal. It made another appearance for breakfast this week — cooked simply with just milk and brown sugar.
And just when I thought things were going smoothly for the middle of the week...
We ended up having a second spill a little while later, and by the time lunch rolled around, I needed a break. My husband ate the leftover Sweet & Sour Pork, and the girls and I finished off the BLTs.
When nap time was over, we had leftover Homemade Cheese Crackers. The snack was small because up next, I wanted to make muffins with the kids.
I wasn't originally planning on making muffins this week, but after assessing my breakfast choices for the remainder of the week, I realized I needed to throw something together.
The batter was really simple:
The muffins came out of the oven with a nice, round shape and looked amazing. I didn't have any raisins on hand to put into the batter like the recipe instructs, so I just went with plain oatmeal.
While the muffins were still slightly warm, the taste testers clocked in and got to work.
For dinner I was hoping to do something a little lighter since the first part of the day was a bit dense. However, I had a dentist appointment and a parent-teacher conference in the afternoon, so I was a bit pressed for time. To keep things moving forward, I settled on pasta: Mushroom, Spinach, & Sausage Spaghetti.
This recipe does call for a decent amount of red pepper flakes. I only used about a quarter of the amount, and next time I would leave it out completely for my fam.
The recipe also states that it makes four servings, but I found that to be a really large portion. We ended up doing six to eight servings instead and had plenty of leftovers!
By the time I headed over to the table to eat after getting the kids settled, my son had finished half his plate. Another hit!
Just when we thought we had recovered from our midweek mayhem, my youngest woke up in an absolute MOOD on Thursday. Still, breakfast was eggs and oatmeal muffins!
I got my son off to school, and the girls and I headed out for some emergency outdoor time.
In the afternoon, I had two goals: make a snack and regroup. I picked a recipe for Apple Fruit Rollers that only consisted of two ingredients! Easy.
I put a silicone mat on my sheet pan and smoothed out the purée.
Thursday evenings are always very busy and my most stressful day and time of the week. My son has soccer practice, and the girls get to clock some park time while I fret over how hungry they're going to be when we get home.
I thought that Black Bean Burgers would be the perfect fit for our hectic Thursday evening. I was able to form the burgers earlier in the afternoon and set in the fridge to chill until I was ready to warm them. I also prepped some sweet potatoes that I planned on turning into fries in my air fryer.
I also prepped some sweet potatoes that I planned on turning into fries in my air fryer.
The kids ate burgers on regular buns, but I decided to put my burgers on some spinach because they were pretty dense already!
By Friday morning, I was running out of breakfast ideas. Then I remembered we never finished the bread from our BLTs earlier in the week. I quickly made some French toast drizzled with honey.
For lunch, I finished off the pasta, and the girls ate hardboiled eggs, homemade crackers, and apples. When my son got home from school, he finished the remaining Homemade Cheese Crackers.
My husband would not stop talking about the Hash Brown Breakfast Cups all week. I had far more hash browns than needed the first time around due to my shopper's XL substitution — so I decided to make him another batch for breakfast on Saturday.
Saturday evening, we took the kids out to the pumpkin patch. We ended up eating dinner there because they had a grill with hot dogs and burgers — and my kids decided it would not be the full patch ~experience~ without them.
Sunday breakfast was egg cups and the last of the pineapple.
After scheduling my next grocery order, I took a quick inventory as to what I had to work with for lunch.
I made another quick honey-mustard marinade for the chicken thighs, pan-fried them on the stove, and then sliced them into bites. I had one final recipe remaining that I hadn't made yet — 2-Ingredient Dough Pretzels — and I thought honey mustard would be the perfect pairing with it.
On to this week's final recipe: 2-Ingredient Dough Pretzels. I absolutely love pretzels of all varieties, so I was really excited to have nice, warm ones fresh out of the oven with lunch.
I used my mixer to make the dough and then divided it into eight equal parts. Again, I used my silicone mat to help with sticking.
While I was making this recipe, I thought about putting the pretzels in a baking soda bath before baking. But since it was my first time making it, I decided to stay true to the recipe and see how they would turn out on their own.
Once the pretzels were out of the oven, I threw a little bit of everything on a plate and made a bit of a smorgasbord lunch. I put a little olive oil, salt, and pepper on the greens and called it good!
And that was my week! As mentioned, I understand that not everyone can stay home to cook — and that people enjoy the experience of going out to eat. This is just what works best for my family, our needs, and the stage of life we are in. (Put another way: Have you ever brought a baby, a toddler, and a 7-year-old to a restaurant and had things work out perfectly?? 😂)
I also acknowledge that my kids are small and $100 goes a long way for us. Others may need a bigger or smaller budget depending on the number and age of people they are cooking for.
However, I hope that this provides some inspiration in new recipes, new planning ideas, or how to work with whatever your budget may be. You can find more of my articles with a week's worth of plans here, here, here, and here!
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