Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The "No Spend Month" Challenge Meal Planning - Week 1

There's a lot that goes into planning for a week, apparently. Personally, my life doesn't contain a marriage or children or even an animal! It's really just me. You'd think it's be easy but what I've learned is that I'm a really pain in the, when it comes to food. Who the heck knew? 

My downfall? Spending money to spend money during my No Spend Month. To say this was actually a challenge for me... well, it really was an actual challenge. Being strict and honest with myself about where my money was going was tough enough so I had to create a plan that would work and keep me in line. 

I know I've spoken about this before, in another post, and this isn't a summary of my challenge. It is, more or less a type of guide on how I planned my meals. Which, by the way, was every single Sunday afternoon. Planning, buying and cooking. All of it at once. My favorite recipe guides were mostly from pinterest. I found at least one new recipe that I wanted to try and make, checked to see what I already had in the fridge or in the pantry and then set out my meals for the entire week. 

My main goal was to be budget friendly as well as healthy. 

Often, my breakfasts were yogurt with granola, two pieces of fruit or a smoothie. I planned to have a very small snack, lunch and an option for dinner. Lunch and dinner were interchangeable which was perfect because I didn't want to tire of the same thing every single day for lunch. Sides are a big thing for me as well. I bought loads of lettuce and veggies for salads. 

Dessert were generally a square of dark chocolate, if I was up for it, or a handful of nuts. 

Here was my Week 1 List!

Granola + Soy Yogurt
Nectorines with Honey & Cinnamon
Perfect Almond Milk Iced Lattes

Lunch/Dinner Alterations:
Chicken Tortilla Soup by Cooking Classy (minus the tortilla)
BLATT - Bacon, Lettuce Wrap, Avocado, Turkey and Tomato
Southwestern Chicken Cilantro Lime Salad (future post, promise!)

Apples (Normally Free from Work)

As for savings, after I planned my meals out, I hopped on my Safeway app and my ibotta app to see what I could save money on or rearrange the recipe to fit what I could save on. It helped me get creative! Plus, saving money was top priority as I had a very limited budget. Rarely did I go over and I always brought my bags so I wouldn't get charged at the cash rep.

I'd love to know what recipes you enjoy and if either of you have meal prepped for a No Spend Month. What were your staples and how did you make use of what you already had? 

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