Looking for a grocery list ideas for eating healthy? I’m sharing my budget meal plan and how to make a grocery list to reduce your food spending!
Grocery List Ideas for Eating Healthy on a Budget
Sometimes your New Year’s resolutions show up after January 1. I believe this is 100% OK because let’s face it, who can’t make all of the change we want to make at one time?
One of our family focuses for this year was focus more on our budgeting. We followed Dave Ramsey’s plan a few years ago and were able to pay off all of our non-house debt. Since then we have gotten much closer to paying off our house (woo hoo!) but we’ve also had to take on a car payment (boo!) when my car died last summer.
After really taking a look at our spending we realized that we could be doing a lot better! We started following The Budget Mom and using some of her techniques!
We realized that we were discounting the little things! Little habits, little areas of overspending, these were all areas we could improve on!
After chatting with some of you on Instagram it seems like you are in the same boat as me! Food takes up SO much of our budget! If you’re looking to keep eating healthy on a budget, is it even possible?
My goal is to help make eating healthy doable for anyone at any budget. I want to show you that you can eating healthy on a budget is achievable, it just might take a little pre-planning and legwork!
Hopefully by sharing our budget healthy meal plan it will help keep us both accountable!
How I Saved Money on Groceries in January.
Ever look at someone and wonder, “how much do you spend a month on food?” I know I have.
Our food budget for January was $800 for groceries (ideally $200 per week) and $300 for household items. It can get kind of confusing when I shop somewhere like Target where I can pick up both groceries and household goods. In February I’m planning on breaking these two out!
This month was a photo fail month! I only remembered to save my last week’s ALDI cart and Costco cart. I will be sure to share more of these each week during February! You can always follow my Instagram and Instagram stories where I share what I’m purchasing each week!
I’m also challenging myself to reduce our food spending in February. I’m budgeting $700 for groceries (or about $175 per week) and $250 for household items. Even with this reduction, I’m hoping to still not spend it all!
My shopping trips for January included
- one trip to Walmart for mainly household goods
- four trips to Target for weekly household goods
- two trips to Costco for bulk food & household good purchases (the first one was the larger trip)
- four trips to Aldi for weekly fresh food and other weekly food not purchased in bulk
How to Save Money with Meal Planning
For us it’s dinners that are the most critical to meal plan. Dinner is usually where we could find ourselves eating out, eating unhealthy, and likely throwing leftovers away.
During the first three weeks of January I was having a protein shake in the morning and a salad for lunch. I like things to be easy so will find myself repeating my breakfast and lunch weekly. During the last week of January I was eating quinoa parfait bowls and hardboiled eggs for breakfast and making it work with what was left in the fridge for lunch.
Here are some grocery list ideas for saving money on healthy food
- 1/1 – Family Dinner
- ½ – Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats & Salad
- ⅓ – Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats & Salad
- ¼ -Frozen Cauliflower Pizza
- ⅕ – Out
- ⅙ – Family Dinner
- 1/7 – Instant Pot Meatloaf, Sweet Potatoes & Veggie
- ⅛ – Instant Pot Meatloaf, Sweet Potatoes & Veggie
- 1/9 –Instant Pot Quinoa Soup & Salad
- 1/10 – Instant Pot Quinoa Soup & Salad
- 1/11 – Out of town
- 1/14 – Instant Pot Meatballs & Veggie
- 1/15 – Instant Pot Meatballs & Veggie
- 1/16 – Taco Salad
- 1/17 – Taco Salad
- 1/18 – Out
- 1/19 – Sheet Pan Dinner (coming soon to the blog!)
- 1/20 – Family Dinner
- 1/21 – Chicken Cakes & Veggie
- 1/22 – Chicken Cakes & Salad
- 1/23 – Instant Pot Beef Stew (similar recipe here!)
- 1/25 – Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 1/25 – Family Dinner
- 1/26 – Out
Fifth Week – Make it Work Week
This means using up all of the frozen meals from the previous weeks for dinner. The great thing about this is that we are saving time on prepping and money!
- 1/27 – Family dinner
- 1/28 – Meatloaf fail (as documented on Instagram stories ?) Resorted to frozen Cauliflower pizza (make it work!)
- 1/29 – Instant Pot Meatballs and Salad
- 1/30 – Instant Pot Quinoa Soup & Salad
- 1/31 – Chicken Cakes & Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Need more help with learning how to eat healthy on a budget? Here are a few ideas for diets such as Whole30, Keto and Plant based!
How Meal Planning Can Help You
You may be wondering if meal planning is worth the time and effort it takes. I remember sitting at my kitchen table about four years ago thinking the same thing.
I sat on Pinterest for hours looking up healthy recipes. Then I would spend hours in the kitchen prepping the meals with all of the ingredients I purchased.
It took a lot of time and a lot of money! I didn’t have a good system in place. The only thing that has worked over time is simplifying our monthly and weekly meal planning process.
Meal planning can help you if you have a simple system. Tons of cookbooks and recipes won’t help if you are overwhelmed.
My Monthly Meal Planning System and How I come up with my grocery list ideas
- Take inventory of what you have. At the beginning of the month I take an inventory of everything we have in our pantry, freezer, spice cabinet and fridge to see what items I need to buy and what I can use in the following month.
- Print out a blank 30 day calendar. I use the printable PDF calendar from Time and Date.
- Write out all of your commitments for the month. If I know I’m going out of town, I know not to plan meals for those days. I also know that going out of town for the weekend can shift my meal prep day to Monday.
- Make a list of your family’s favorite eight to ten recipes. Write two to three recipes per week assuming you are going to double each recipe. I usually reserve one day a week for eating out, one for leftovers (unless I freeze them) and one day to eat at my parents house.
- Gather the recipes for these items and compare them to your pantry inventory. Mark which items can be purchased in bulk.
- Create your bulk and weekly shopping list and go shopping! Freeze any meat or other freezable items that you’ve purchased for making later in the month.
Should I Meal Plan Monthly or Weekly?
One thing we chat about on Instagram is monthly versus weekly meal planning. The biggest concern I hear from the community about monthly meal planning is that they are afraid things will come up or they won’t want the food that they have planned when it’s that far out.
I have tried both monthly and weekly meal planning and for me, monthly meal planning is by far the more budget-friendly choice for me. When I go to the store less, I just spend less. Also – when I’m planning monthly I can plan for bulk purchases.
If you have never meal planned before, weekly meal plan would be a great place to start. Or, if your schedule is completely unpredictable, weekly meal planning can be helpful.
Freezing Leftovers is Helpful for Both Weekly and Monthly Meal Planning
I would challenge you to start freezing any leftovers that you may have. Even if you are weekly meal planning, you can use up what is in your freezer for the last week of the month that will greatly help your grocery budget and your time spent meal prepping.
If your schedule is more predictable and/or you are really looking to ramp up your grocery savings and meal planning expertise, monthly meal planning might be a good fit for you.
Like this article on grocery list ideas for eating healthy? Follow me on Instagram @mommafitlyndsey and check out some of my healthy budget-friendly meal ideas!