Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What we're eating...how about you?

I often wonder what it’s like in other people’s homes.  This sounds a little creepy, doesn’t it?  It’s not meant to be!  I used to live with a few families after leaving my mom’s house when I was 13.  I was able to see how they all live…some with small children, some with older children, and some childless.  I married my love when I was only 21. My twenties were spent trying to figure out how to be an adult, and a wife and mother at that, gleaning tidbits of knowledge and experience from those wonderful families who took me in for a season.  I learned a lot about marriage, parenting, work ethic, and keeping a home. However, one thing that was never a habit growing up, or in my twenties for that matter, was taking care of my body.  Eating right and exercise were never made habit or priority.  Now, I sit here at 30 years old after having 4 kids, having dealt with some health issues for years now, and I feel like it’s time to get a handle on it! 
Now, this is hard for me, and I feel really vulnerable even putting it out there.  Cooking was not something I grew up with, so healthy cooking is really a stretch!  I feel like adding a new way of eating and trying to squeeze in some exercise is like learning a new way of living entirely.  I thought it would be overwhelming and all-consuming, but surprisingly, it’s not.  Admittedly, I spend more time in the kitchen, but my boys (and baby girl!) are right there beside me, learning skills that I wish I would have.  My hubby and I exercise together after the kids go to bed, which has been a fun way of spending more time together.  So far, so good.  Different, but good.
We try to memorize a verse a week as a family, and 4 weeks ago, we learned 1 Corinthians 10:31 that says: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 

I wanted my boys to memorize that one as a spring board into learning a work ethic and joyful service, but God had something different in mind for me.  Every time I picked up something to eat that week, it was like a tape recording playing through my head…whether you eat or drink…do it all for the glory of God.  After a few days of wrestling with my bad eating habits, justifying them all the way, I realized that it was time to continue the pruning process and to learn how to lead my family into a healthier way of life.

So, we’ve recently made some changes in the Stack kitchen.  We have considered going vegetarian or even vegan…maybe we still will someday.  However, in the meantime, we are adding some new elements to our daily diet, cutting out processed food, and bumping up the nutritional value of what we eat.   

Here’s our challenges:  we are on a very fixed income, we have 3 very hungry little boys, and we are dealing with tree nut, peanut, and egg allergies.  Yikes! 

We’ve been at it for only 4 weeks now, but I’m proud of us!  My biggest challenges have been substituting whole foods for processed, convenience foods for breakfast and lunch, and making sure we have the appropriate servings of fruits, veggies, and proteins every day.  I buy as much organic as I can, but I only spend about $100/week to feed all of us.  I rather buy some non-organic and still have whole food than sacrifice and have to supplement with processed junk just to fill our tummies.  Disclaimer: we are not 100% processed free…we’re learning!

So that’s why I want to know what it’s like in other people’s homes!  I want to know how they eat, how what they eat or drink or whatever they do bring our Maker glory.  I know we are given this one body, and we should be grateful and steward what we have been given!

Here is some of what we’ve been eating:

Breakfast, Lunch, snacks:

  • Homemade oatmeal with agave syrup and bananas
  • Whole Wheat Toast and Greek Yogurt with chia seeds and blueberries
  • Vegan Banana Coconut Muffins (created by me!) and fruit smoothies
  • Whole wheat banana pancakes with fresh fruit
  • Caprese Salads
  • Hummus and Vegetable Wraps
  • Hummus and Veggies or Whole Wheat Pitas
  • Grilled Chicken Salads loaded with veggies and homemade dressing
  • Sunflower seed butter sandwiches (it’s actually good, and my Sammy can’t have peanut butter!)
  • Homemade Kale chips (which all my kids LOVE)
  • Chia seed, coconut milk and frozen banana smoothies
  • LOTS of fresh fruit and veggies!

Below I posted my weeknight dinner menu with a breakdown of cost.  After the cost of dinner ingredients are deducted from my budget, I add to it some new staples like coconut milk, chia seeds (which are a once a month purchase), bread, and lots of fruits and veggies.

 Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers, Corn, Spinach Salad:  $9.65 for 5 servings ($1.93/serving)

·         $3.00:  1.5 lbs. Hormone/antibiotic Free Chicken Breast: (B.J.’s sells a 10 lb. bag for $20)

·         $0.50: 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut (staple in our house…I think a whole bag is $1.50)

·         $0.90: ½ bag Panko Bread Crumbs (another staple): $1.79 for whole bag at Trader Joes

·         $1.79: Trader Joe’s Organic Frozen Corn

·         $1.98: baby spinach from Trader Joe’s

·         $0.79: Organic Bell Pepper (TJ)

·         $0.69: Locally grown tomato (TJ)

Eggplant Parmesan, Homemade Bread, Steamed Broccoli:  $11.58 for 6 servings ($1.93/serving)

  • $3.18: Two Eggplants
  • $0.90: ½ bag Panko Bread Crumbs
  • $3.00:  Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • $1.00:  Estimated price for my homemade sauce portion (pre-made and frozen in batches)
  • $0.50: Basil (Entire package for $2.29…will use the rest for lunchtime caprese salads)
  • $1.00:  2 heads of broccoli
  • The bread was all pantry items

Sweet Potato/White Bean Veggie Burgers and Sweet Potato Chips:  $12.82 for 6 servings ($2.13/serving)

  • $3.38: 2 lb. sweet potatoes
  • $2.38: 2 20 oz. cans garbanzo beans
  • $0.90: ½ bag panko
  • $2.69:  Tahini paste (this recipe only calls for a few tablespoons, so there’s much leftover)
  • $1.99:  Package of whole wheat sandwich thins
  • $0.79:  Avocado
  • $0.69:  Tomato
Sneaky Slow-Cooked Turkey Sloppy Joes:  $10.33 for 6 servings ($1.72/serving)

  • $4.87:  1.5 lbs. hormone/antibiotic free ground turkey (TJ)
  • $1.99:  Organic diced tomatoes
  • $0.79:  green pepper
  • $0.30:  zucchini
  • $0.39: Tomato Paste
  • $1.99:  Whole Wheat Buns
Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Spinach Salad:  $10.46 for 6 servings ($1.74/serving)

  • $1.00: estimated price for homemade sauce portion
  • $2.00: 1 lb. piccolini vegetable pasta
  • $3.00:  estimated price of  ½ lb. homemade hormone/antibiotic free turkey meatballs pre-made and frozen
  • $1.98: baby spinach from Trader Joe’s
  • $0.79: Organic Bell Pepper (TJ)
  • $0.69: Locally grown tomato (TJ)

 $51.84 for 5 dinners serving 5-6 people


  1. ooh, thanks for posting this. We've been trying to make a change as well. Getting rid of processed foods (I have to try not to rely on some of it just for the convenience for the kids!) mostly and also not to just eat all the time because it tastes good or we're bored. Sticking to meal and snack times. This is a hard one for me being at home! But I have NOT been paying close attention to the amount we're spending and I want to do better with that.

  2. You're certainly welcome! It has been a wonderful change for us! We're seeing a lot of energy level increases, digestive changes, and Sam's eczema is so much more managable! We've consistently been able to to keep our groceries within our budget, and have learned a TON along the way!! I totally get teh convenience issue! We're finding some good, healthy snacks that have been life savers...I'll share them soon!!