63 Dollars Per Week Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge, Start Of Week 8

Hello, and welcome to Friday. If you have been following along, my family of 3 is doing an extreme grocery budget challenge hopefully for the whole year of 2022. The amount of money we saved has already afforded us a new washing machine paid in cash, not on credit. I have had two weeks that I went over, one on purpose, and one was an oops because I just didn’t pay attention. Each week I allow myself to spend 21 dollars per person or 63 dollars. We are using up existing inventory that we have on hand, but I do not want to run out of food completely, so each week I spend the 63 dollars. This is only for food and does not include household items, or dog food. So far we have not had to buy any condiments, or spices, from the last Sam’s Club grocery haul back in December before this challenge began. We also have allotted other money for special occasion dinners when my son and his wife come to visit. There has been some minor grumbling from my family, but for the most part, we all see the benefits to this budget, and since we are eating well it is fine. That doesn’t mean they don’t spend their own money on a soda here and there, or other snack items. So far I have been able to include fresh fruit, and a savory snack such as popcorn, crackers, or pretzels. I generally would rather discourage snacking altogether. Starting today my start and end day has changed. This week and next will be from Friday to Thursday. After that, I am not sure. Today is also the end of week 7. My husband was gone all week so it was a mish-mash of eating for me and my daughter. We generally ate easy light meals.

In the picture below you will see all of the items I bought this week. Not pictured are ice cream sandwiches that had to be put in the freezer right quickly. I did go to Aldis again, even though it is not close, because I had to take my daughter to an eye appt, right near it. With all of the stuff going on in Ukraine, and gas prices going higher, we will need to adjust where we grocery shop in the coming weeks.

I spent $41.61 at Aldis and again this time they did not have the coffee creamer that my husband will drink, nor did they have pizza sauce. So, I went to Publix and spent $15.44 and got creamer, pizza sauce, and the ravioli were buy one get one free. I forgot I had ravioli on my meal plan so I am glad I saw them at Publix. The creamer was 3 for 9 and that was a very good deal. So, my total for this week was $57.05 which means I am under budget this week by $5.95 woot woot. I noticed at Publix that some of their prices are still pretty reasonable, but some items are way through the roof. I forgot to get eggs, so if I end up needing them I will have a little room in the budget to get them.

On my meal plant this week and in no particular order is:

Cesar chicken salad

BBQ fish

Air fryer ravioli with sauce

Turkey teriyaki

Breakfast for dinner

Cheese quesadillas with tomato soup

Tonight, there are still 3 hot dogs left in the package. So, we will be having a hot dog each, on a bun, with a nice salad on the side. I want macaroni salad but my husband probably wants a green salad.

Creating and sticking to a budget is difficult. If you would like to use a health coach to help you use the contact form at the end of this post and send me an email for a free consultation.

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Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge Start Of Week 7, Oopsie!

Hello, and Happy Monday. I am just going to get the oopsie out of the way to start with. Have you been following along, did you join the challenge? The challenge is to spend 21 dollars per person per week for groceries. There are 3 of us, one with CKD, and our budget is 63 dollars a week. My week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday, but that may change with my new job that begins Wednesday. I will let you know. Each week I learn something new about our eating habits, how much food we buy that we really don’t need each week, and most importantly, so far we have been able to eat relatively healthy on this budget. I gave up on eating pantry foods with CKD. It was not healthy for me, and I could tell by how I felt.

When I order from Misfits Market, it is on a Thursday or Friday, and then the food is not delivered for several days after that. So, Friday of last week I noticed they had some really good sales on organic meat. If you read here, you know that is my preference and I was getting concerned as to whether I would be able to afford it on this budget. I compared their sale prices to the organic options I can buy at Walmart to compare the pricing. Walmart didn’t even carry some of the options, and the ones that they did Misfits beat them by at least a few cents. So, anyway I placed a 30 dollar order with Misfits Market on Friday to be delivered this Wednesday or Thursday. Then this morning I went shopping and totally forgot I placed that order. So, my oopsie this week is that I should have only spent 33 more dollars today, and I spent $58.17. That is my blonde moment for the week, lol. That means I am 25 dollars over budget this week, which really just annoys me, but live and learn. I will have to see if I can change my Misfits order and delivery days, so this doesn’t happen again.

One thing I learned is that I probably will not buy canned veggies anymore. If I can’t afford fresh, I will buy frozen. They taste much better than canned and don’t have all the sodium. Each week I learn something new and it helps me to buy smarter for our needs, and avoid waste. Below you will see what I purchased from Walmart this week for $58.17. We still have a good amount of food on hand, but like most families, we run out of favorites and snack foods. I always try to have fresh fruit on hand for snacking, but that is not always the snacks they want, but it will have to do. You will see donuts and Trix yogurt. My daughter asked if I would get those and I do try to let her have some snacky stuff each week.

What is on the menu this week? Breakfasts and lunches are always simple and whatever is leftover or on hand to make. These dinner ideas may or may not be in the order they will be made. Today, we had leftover pizza from the get-together with my son last night. I did not actually have pizza I had taco casserole again. I actually froze the last 2-3 servings for later use. I put lettuce in it this time so it was kind of like a taco salad. Tuesday, my daughter and I are having some small steaks I purchased from Misfits a couple of months ago. My husband will not be eating dinner with us this week, so these 4 oz steaks are perfect for two people. I will decide on the sides later. Wednesday I will work, and I will take out hot dogs and buns, and fries will be the side. I am not sure yet if I will have hot dogs or something else. It depends a whole lot on what I decide to take for my lunch. My daughter and husband can have the hotdogs for lunches the next couple of days after. Some other meal options for the week are tuna noodle casserole. That meal makes a lot of food and can be used as leftovers for several lunches after. Probably one night will be sweet sausage with spaghetti. I am not sure, though, because we already have steak and hot dogs this week. Quesadillas with tomato soup is another option. I haven’t really thought out meals that much this week, as you can tell. I will share what I come up with. I need to sneak in at least two chicken meals or a meatless meal.

This budget has allowed us to save more money to pay down debt, and that is a good thing. Our washing machine just died last week and we were able to buy a new one with cash, and no financing. That was pretty awesome! We have some financial goals we would like to meet before we retire, and as long as we are not starving or malnourished this budget works fine. I can always add more money if we need to, but so far everyone is adjusting fairly well. We do not buy a lot of sweet drinks, snacks, and other empty calories that really can suck up your budget. We are also learning to eat healthy portion sizes, which also saves us a lot of money. I have been following my portions for many years, but now the others have to as well.

If you would like to learn more about meal planning, meal budgeting, portion sizes, healthy snack options, etc. a health coach like myself may be able to help you to learn these things. Use the contact form below to message me for a free consultation.

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Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge End Of Week 6!

Hello, to all of my amazing readers. I am at the end of week 6 of my 2022 Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. Go back and read the previous weeks to see how this has evolved in relation to my kidney disease. The week technically ends on Sunday, but I will go over what we will be eating through the weekend from items we already have on hand, and the groceries I bought this week. So, far, with the exception of Superbowl week, we have been able to stick to the budget with no issues. Yes, we run out of our favorites by the end of the week, and I have to be more creative with meals, but we are certainly not hungry. One thing I have definitely noticed is that I can cook one large meal that can be leftovers for a couple lunches and another dinner. That means 3 meals a week can be stretched to cover the other days. We don’t typically eat breakfast, except maybe my husband some days, and we always have eggs and toast on hand. Lunches are always leftovers, peanut butter sandwiches, salad if the supplies are all here, grilled cheese, soup, etc. Below you will see the dinners I made this week, and how you can modify them for kidney disease. Remember, I am now hovering right around stage 2, and your dietary requirements are going to be different than mine, along with any other comorbidities you may have. They are examples of what can be done, not dietary advice. I have been off all week because I start a new job next week, so my lunches will need to be figured in as well. My old job would feed me, but it was in no way a healthy option for CKD.

Monday- This might be my new favorite meal ever. I made chicken alfredo for my husband and daughter. They love it, I hate it. Plus, the already made alfredo sauce is full of phosphorus, like 450 mg per 1/2 cup. If you are only allowed 700 mg of phosphorus per day on your renal diet, you can see where this is problematic. There is one you can make homemade on one of the kidney sights that is much less phosphorus. It is also expensive to make. Anyway, what I did was I sauteed some mushrooms and onions with the chicken. I cooked the pasta and drained it. I measure all of my proteins on a scale, except for eggs. On my plate, I put one cup of pasta, 2.5 ounces of chicken breast, some mushrooms, and onions, and then for my sauce, I use 3/4 of a cup of canned creamed corn heated up. This was so delicious! I am the only one in my house that will eat creamed corn. I love it! Try to buy low-sodium canned items.

Tuesday- Leftovers, and we still had some leftovers from Superbowl Sunday that we were eating for lunches.

Wednesday- Actually, lol, I think Monday was Superbowl leftovers, and the chicken alfredo was Tuesday and Wednesday. No reason to delete all that and fix it, lol.

Thursday- When we still had our Sam’s Club membership I had bought a box with like 8 Stove Top stuffing in it. I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought that. Anyway, we still have like 6 boxes left. This meal is not for people with high blood pressure or very strict sodium restrictions. You can find the recipe here. The original recipe called for swiss cheese, but I only had a Mexican blend, so that is what I used. I also left out the vinegar. You can certainly buy low sodium cream of chicken soup, and lower sodium cheese. Swiss cheese, especially you can find in a lower sodium option. There is also a lower sodium stuffing mix, but I had to use what I had on hand because it is a budget challenge. We had 4 pork chops, so this made enough to have for lunch on Friday.

Friday- This was just something I threw together with ingredients I had on hand. I originally was going to make Taco soup, if you read my post-Monday. However, it is way too hot to make soup today. So, I made a taco casserole, actually, my teenager did, that is how easy it is. Buy low sodium taco seasoning or make your own. This made a huge amount of food and will feed us all the way to Saturday and maybe Sunday.

Saturday- taco casserole leftovers.

Sunday- There may still be taco casserole left, but my son and his wife are coming to visit, so we decided that we will buy pizza. We have tried making homemade pizza before but no one really likes the crust at all and it doesn’t really get eaten. I am all about not wasting food.

Next week I am going to try to make a kidney friendlier version of the Tik Tock feta cheese meal that everyone is talking about. If you are not sure what I mean Google it. Next week I am also going to discuss a new CKD drug that has a lot of promise for reducing the risk of kidney disease progression, and a new CKD supplemental drink I found. Be sure and come back to read all about it.

Are you joining in on the 21 dollars a week per person food budget challenge? Let me know how you are doing in the comments. I have actually learned so much about how much money we were wasting on food.

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$63 Dollar Per Week Grocery Budget Challenge: Start Of Week 6!

Hello, and welcome back! If you have been following along then you realize I changed the title It used to be a duo challenge with the first part being could I, with CKD, eat pantry shelf-stable type foods and still feel good and healthy. After 5 weeks, the answer is no, I can’t. Those types of foods, unless I buy organic which I can not on this budget, are too high in fat, salt, sugar, and added phosphates. None of which is good for someone with CKD. So, that part of the challenge is over and decided. With that said there are some options that can be worked in like peanut butter, nuts, seeds, frozen fruit, beans, and canned or frozen veggies. Be sure and read the label and ingredients list prior to buying these items. For example, last week I save a couple of dollars by buying a cheaper French salad dressing. I did not read the label before buying. Today I went to put it on my salad and did read the label. Much to my shock 2 tbsp contains 13 grams of fat and High Fructose Corn Syrup. I will never buy this dressing again, and I am not even sure I will eat it.

For the remainder of this year, I will continue the 63 dollars per week Food Budget Challenge.

This is the start of week 6. I will be starting a new job probably within the next 7 days, so I may have to adjust my start and stop days. You also may remember that I went way over budget last week buying Superbowl stuff. The good news is, we have tons of leftovers, probably enough to feed us lunch all week, or most of the week. We also still have in the freezer mozzarella sticks and a package of hot dogs. Plus, a bunch of other things we didn’t use last week. We also did not cook the macaroni and cheese, I just forgot. For my challenge, The Pantry is anything in a cupboard, on a shelf, or in the freezer.

You can see everything I bought in the image. Aldis seemed just as expensive as Publix this week. So, unless I need to be over there I will shop at Walmart or Save A Lot from here on out, which is only 10 miles from my home, as opposed to 35. The only meat I purchased was the Boston Butt which I am not sure you can see well. It is a good chunk of meat and will make a lot of meals.

No one in my house will eat beans, except me, and I don’t eat them a lot. So, as this challenge goes on and the meat inventory gets depleted, this budget will be a real challenge. We may have to have a few meatless meals a week. Good thing they like eggs.

The only fresh veggies I bought this week are carrots and onions. My Instapot died and I didn’t buy a new one yet. So, I am going to prep the whole bag of potatoes extra from last week’s haul, and the carrots by baking them all up or freezing them. Because, I love to pop a carrot and a potato in my Instapot for an easy lunch, but I forgot I don’t have one. I did buy fresh fruit, because I hate canned fruit, and will use frozen only in smoothies. I got a bag of apples and some bananas. I eat a banana every day until they run out, even with CKD. I bought no salad stuff this week. It just doesn’t get eaten well this time of year. Some of this stuff I don’t eat, like the pizza, and chicken tenders. Once in a while, I will, but not this week.

One thing I like to do when we are having Alfredo Sauce, like tonight, is I use creamed-style corn as my sauce instead. Gravy will work too as long as it is low sodium and doesn’t have phosphorus additives in it. This will be tonight’s dinner. I will cook up the chicken breast with some onion, mushrooms, and frozen peas with carrots. Then, I will cook the creamed corn in a separate pan, and add half of a cup on top of my chicken and veggies. No one else will eat it this way but for me.

Some meal ideas I have floating around in my head for this week are Chicken Alfredo which is a definite for tonight, Spanish rice with ground turkey, cream of chicken lemon pork chops, taco soup, bbq fish. All of the ingredients for these meals I already have on hand. We should not have to buy any other food items until next week.

I spent $60.25 on groceries this week, but it could have been much less had I not bought the Boston butt.

If you would like to learn more about meal planning, and grocery shopping with CKD, use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email and arrange for a free consultation.

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Living With CKD: Eating From My Pantry And Food Budget Challenge End Of Week 5

If you read my post from Monday, which was the start of week 5, then you know I went way over budget this week due to the Super Bowl party we will be having. Even though it is small, and just us, all that extra food added up quickly, and some of it I had on hand! Going over budget once in a while is not a huge big deal, and we are lucky enough to be able to do so. Food prices are so high right now and I was disappointed with the prices at the store I chose to shop at this week. But, we have used just about everything I bought this week, or will by Sunday, plus finished up leftovers from last week and used items from the pantry that have been there for a while. If you are new here this is a food budget challenge where I challenge myself to spend 21 dollars per person per week. That means I can spend 63 dollars per week on groceries. I have CKD, so the second part is more of a self-study to see if I can eat more affordable shelf-stable foods with CKD and still feel good. If you have been following then you know that no, unless I buy organic, and low sodium options, I do not feel good when I eat these types of foods. This makes it harder to stay on a budget because I refuse to sacrifice all of the hard work I have done to get my kidneys back to stage 2. But, I know I can eat nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans and they are shelf-stable and feel OK, as long as I am mindful of portion sizes due to phosphorus. As we move on with this budget challenge, through the year, as our pantry winds down, plant-based protein sources will be vital. I just am not sure how my family will do with that since this is a challenge, not a necessity. So, I guess I need to rename this challenge because I have answered that question.

My husband is adjusting well to the new budget challenge. He only ran out of milk once. My daughter, however, not so much. She is very much into the more expensive and unhealthy convenience meals. At least I think they are expensive considering they are low-quality nutrition in my opinion. Next week I will be back on track and will head to Aldis again because so far that has been where I get the best prices, and they have organic options for less. I really do like Misfits Market, especially the way they do it now, but this time of year we do not eat as much fresh produce and it goes bad too fast. Obviously, throwing food away is not part of this budget. But, if you have never tried Misfits check them out. They have a great mission.

What did we eat this week? It was pretty much as I stated it would be.

Monday was a bagel, egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich. This is a favorite at our house. I eat only one and will have fruit or a salad on the side.

Tuesday was homemade scalloped potatoes and ham. I used this Taste of Home recipe. I modified it a little. I did not use 2% milk because I don’t buy that. But, I did have Half and Half that needed to be used up and it was the exact amount needed. I also didn’t use Thyme, I don’t like it, or parsley because I didn’t have any on hand. However, I did use Rosemary and sprinkled Paprika over the top. If you have never cooked with Rosemary, it is the bomb! You only need a very tiny amount to get a ton of flavor. This was a huge hit and I will definitely make it again. For CKD it probably is not something you want to eat often. I leach the potatoes by soaking them for a while, then rinsing, prior to use. This leaches out a lot of potassium and phosphorus. I would probably use skim milk the next time to save on the fat content. Ham is ham and not something I eat more than a couple of times a year. This made a ton of food and fed us for lunch and dinner a couple more days.

Wednesday I had a board meeting so I needed something fast. I mistakingly bought from Sam’s a huge tin of their Member’s Mark chunk chicken. They usually are small cans but for some reason, this one was one big can. I knew I had to use this up, but I wasn’t sure how. I know some people put it in soups and casseroles, but I am not crazy about it like that. So, I decided to make chicken salad wraps with some pretzels on the side. We like the low-carb, high fiber wraps. These are going to be higher in phosphorus as they are whole grain. Be mindful of your portion sizes with CKD. I add celery, and onion to the meat, plus some mustard and light Mayonnaise. We are now out of light Mayo and I will have to use full fat because we have a huge tub of it from Sam’s to use up. I drain and rinse the chicken to reduce the amount of sodium. This was really good, easy, and economical. It made a ton because of the large can size and we are still eating it for lunch today I will take some for my lunch tomorrow at work. I stick to a 2.5-ounce portion size.

Thursday Leftover scalloped potatoes and ham with green beans. I forgot to say we had fresh asparagus on Tuesday. I didn’t like it, though, so I probably won’t buy it again.

Friday today we will be having Chicken Alfredo over pasta with broccoli. I buy frozen broccoli and steam it. The Alfredo Sauce, in the pics below, came from Misfits Market. It was not cheap, and it has been in my pantry for a while. I don’t care for Alfredo sauce, but the others in my family do. I will probably only use half the jar, so we will be having this again soon. I also had Rao’s organic pasta in my pantry, also from Misfits. It isn’t cheap but it only has one ingredient. You can see the information for the Alfredo sauce below. Compare it to a non-organic variety here, and see the difference mainly in the ingredient list. While it is true it is cheaper to buy in bulk, when you are on one of these budget challenges you will have to buy smaller amounts. I bought a very small package of organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I think it was 6 dollars for a pound. That is expensive, true, but I am getting organic which I prefer. Sometimes I can get Publix Greenwise brand, which is organic, on sale at a decent price, but that was before all of this inflation crap.

Saturday my family will eat this tomorrow as well when I am at work. Cook once eat twice, or thrice, that is a good way to do this.

Sunday Superbowl junk food fest, lol. The menu will include pigs in a blanket, mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, tortilla chips with salsa, fresh veggies with ranch dip, pickles, and of course they have to have soda. I don’t drink soda it is Pepsi and dark soda is a bad choice for anyone with CKD.

Who will you route for in the Superbowl? I have no team favorite as my team didn’t make it, nor did my husband’s. So, I have picked the Bengals to win.

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The Start Of Week 5 Of My Pantry/Food Budget Challenge

Hello, and Happy Monday. If you have been following along then you know I have CKD and we are committed to following a Pantry Challenge and a Food Budget Challenge for 2022. This is to save money and to see if I can eat shelf-stable type foods on a budget with CKD and remain healthy. I can already tell you that no I can not eat shelf-stable food, at least not the affordable ones, on a budget and still feel good. There is just too much sodium, phosphorus, and other additives that are not good for CKD. While these foods are more affordable they are not healthy. We have, however, been sticking to the 63 dollars a week food budget, with just a few dollars over one week. Well, this week, as you know is the Super Bowl, and I knew I would not be able to stick to that budget. The Super Bowl party items cost more than 63 dollars, and I didn’t even buy chicken wings or soda. Good grief! For this 5th week, I spent 130 dollars. I also stated I was going to try Winn-Dixie, as it was closer than Aldis. No, even with their sales it is still not a better deal than Aldis, even with the long drive to Aldis. I also had to go to Walmart for just a couple of things that were cheaper than Winn-Dixie. I guess we will chalk the Super Bowl up as a gift.

In the image below you will see all of the things I purchased. The best deal of the whole shopping trip was the ground turkey. It was 3 pounds of ground turkey for less than 6 dollars. That is a good deal! Most of the food in the image will be for the Super Bowl, lol. So, we are definitely eating from the pantry this week.

Our Super Bowl menu will be pigs in a blanket, raw veggies with dip, cheese, and crackers, tortilla chips with salsa, mozzarella sticks, and Cracker Barrel mac n cheese which I already have in the pantry.

I decided to pick meals this week based on what I have on hand and the sales flyer. I have not really done that as of yet, but the pantry is dwindling now, and that is the most efficient way to do it.

On the menu this week will be homemade scalloped potatoes and ham, with fresh asparagus on the side, and cornbread. The cornbread is the Jiffy brand. It is very affordable, but not very healthy. It has been in my pantry for a while and it needs to be used up. Egg, cheese, bacon bagel sandwiches. These are a favorite at my house. I like the Applegate bacon and that is the one I am using. Chicken salad sandwiches on wraps with tortilla chips and salad. We use low carb, high fiber wraps, and the chicken is the kind in a can. I will share my thoughts on that chicken the day I make it.

Lunches are generally leftovers, salad, soup, or sandwiches. We still have leftovers from last week that everyone is working on. There is one or two servings of spaghetti with meat sauce and pineapple rice. There is one chicken thigh left as well.

Next week I am going to try and buy only necessities, to save from what I spent this week.

We have really reduced our grocery budget, and the amount of food we are wasting. These are both very good goals to have.

If you would like help in learning more about food options with CKD, label reading, cooking, menu planning, food budgets, etc. use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

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Living With CKD: Eating From My Pantry The End Of Week 4!

Hello, and happy Friday! I have some news to share today. Last week I took the plunge and decided that the 12-hour shifts every weekend was not healthy for me, and I started to look for other nursing opportunities. I had an interview yesterday, and was hired! I should start my new position in the next few days. I am very excited about this move, and they have opportunities for me to grow with their company.

We are at the end of week 4 of our $63 dollar per week food budget and pantry challenge. The budget will stay all year unless it gets to a point where we can no longer do it. My husband did have a minor freak out last week because he had to go a day without milk, but he is OK, lol. I may have to change the beginning day and ending day because I will be working every other Monday at the new job, but I think I can keep it the way it is. We actually ate a lot from our pantry this week and ate a lot of the fresh stuff I purchased on Monday. I update my pantry list every time I grocery shop and we do not have a goal to completely eat everything in the pantry and then start fresh on the super low budget. That just will not work, but if we had to we now know we are not going to starve to death and can eat relatively healthy if we shop smart. I have not shopped at Misfits Market in a few weeks, because I don’t need a lot of fresh stuff, or meat, yet, and there is a 30 dollar minimum to order. Today, I will be making spaghetti and meat sauce, and we bought pizza last night as a treat to celebrate my new job. Both of those things will get my husband and daughter through the weekend while I am at work. I eat at work now, not the healthiest, but it saves me time prepping in the morning when I have to get up so early. I don’t know if the new job provides food to the employees, so that may have to change in the near future. Be sure and check out my post about cleaning fruits and veggies to remove pesticides if you can’t afford organic foods.

I had a crazy busy week and did not take pictures. So, I will provide links to some of the not-so-healthy food items we used, so you can see the nutrition info. Next Sunday is the Super Bowl, and I can already tell you we will be over budget this week, but I don’t know by how much. I am going to try and get everything we need in my weekly shop, but I know my husband will want chicken wings and he insists on buying those, and they are expensive.

For breakfast each day this week I had a banana and my coffee. I still have enough for tomorrow and Sunday. For some reason, my husband is not eating fruit right now. I also have one cutie left if I need it in case he does eat a banana. I do have frozen fruit and can make smoothies.

For lunch each day this week I had a green salad. Some days I put on a little cheese or croutons. I do not mind a simple salad. I ran out of tomatoes and instead of going over budget and buying more I decided to use one can of corn and put a little on each salad. That worked out well and was very tasty. I am almost out of my Country French dressing so I will be on the hunt for an affordable low sugar variety, as the one I have is not low sugar, though it was affordable. We still have quite a bit of lettuce leftover and we will have some tonight with dinner, and my daughter will use the rest over the weekend.

Dinners this week were:

  1. Monday: This was a low carb dinner with lean pork chops, peppers and onions, and steamed broccoli. All of this was from the freezer and fresh pantry. I do not eat more than 3 ounces of meat at any meal, unless I have not had enough protein the rest of the day.
  2. Tuesday: For this meal I had bought the previous week a turkey polska kielbasa at Aldi. Even though this is still not super healthy, it is much better than the regular variety. It is way less in fat, and sodium. Just be sure and weigh your portion and try to stick with the 2 ounce portion size. I cut it up really small so it looks like I am getting more. Then I made a homemade macaroni and cheese. I had about 2 ounces of Velveeta cheese left in the fridge. I do not remember why I bought this but it has been in my fridge for about 2 months. I do not eat this stuff, usually, but I cooked some macaroni, then added the Velveeta and about 1/4 of a bag of part skim mozzarella cheesed that also had to be used up, and a 3/4 of a can of low fat evaporated milk from the pantry. Velveeta is very high in sodium, and fat per 1 ounce serving. There is absolutely no way you can call it healthy. Be mindful of your portion size. I eat about a third of a cup to half a cup once it is prepared. We had canned corn on the side. I love corn with macaroni and cheese. You can also substitute some of the cheese with an orange veggie like pureed carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potato to make it healthier.
  3. Wednesday: I had fresh pineapple in the fridge that needed to be used before it went bad. So, I made pineapple rice, using Jasmine rice, that is the favorite rice in our house. It is white rice, so it is still not as healthy as the brown version, but economically it is very affordable. I cooked the rice separate, then added it the cooked pineapple, and cooked onion mixture. At the very end sprinkle on some garlic salt, and just a little brown sugar. This is super delicious and a big hit at my house. I also made chicken thighs. I did not realize I bought the bone in variety and I won’t buy them again. You really are not getting much meat for the price, and paying mostly for bone. They were just OK and too forever to cook due to having the bone in.
  4. Thursday: Pizza take out to celebrate. Be mindful of your portions and have a large salad with it to fill you up.
  5. Friday: Today, I am making spaghetti with meat sauce. The meat is not organic, but I will survive. This makes a ton of leftovers and my family will eat on it over the weekend. As does the pineapple rice from Wednesday. These large meals make great lunch options for at least a day or two after.
  6. Saturday and Sunday: I will be at work and they will be eating leftovers from the week, the pizza, and any snack options they can find in the pantry. I know there is still pretzels, bagels, and popcorn.

Unless I have to go to Gainesville to do stuff for my new job on Monday, I will not be going to Aldi. So, my other budget-friendly options are Dollar Tree, Save A Lot, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie is not always budget-friendly, but my husband reminded me we have a rewards card there, so I may give it a try. The Dollar Tree I am not so convinced about their food options, and Save A Lot is usually good. At least they are all in the same city and within a mile of each other. So, if I have to go to more than one it will be convenient.

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend. Are you joining in my food budget challenge? Share what you are doing, and how it is going in the comments. I would love to hear about it. We have spent about $250 dollars on groceries for the past four weeks. We did go over a tiny bit this past week, I think by 8 dollars. That is at least half of what we were spending on groceries.

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Living With CKD Pantry/Food Budget Challenge Start Of Week 4

Hello, and welcome to the start of week 4 of the Pantry/Food Budget Challenge. If you have not been reading along, shame on you, just kidding, maybe, lol. My husband and I have decided for the whole year of 2022 to try a Food Budget Challenge. Right now we still have a lot of pantry items left, but it is dwindling each week. At first, we were just eating out of our pantry and only buying what we absolutely needed. But, then last week it occurred to me that it wasn’t a very good idea to do that, and just buy no groceries. That would put us in a bind for sure. Especially, since I am the only one in my family of three that can very easily go without eating meat. So, I decided to just spend the full 63 dollars each week, and that way not completely run out of everything. This is still a challenge, and I know it is only going to get more challenging, lol.

If I remember correctly last week I only bought a kielbasa and some chicken nuggets for meat. There is still a half bag of chicken nuggets left and the kielbasa. We have cut back on our portions of meat so much, that I am amazed at how long it is lasting. My daughter will only eat processed meats, yuck, or beef. She will eat eggs too. So, she is limiting herself in the protein sources she is getting, though she definitely can get enough from all the cheese she likes. Until I get away from these 12-hour shifts I work I am just relegated to eating at my workplace even though I know it is way over-salted, and processed. I am actively starting to apply at other places because this 12-hour stuff just is not healthy for me.

One more quick note. Last week I discussed coffee, and how important it is to our morning. I do not like cheap coffee, and since my husband went and bought another coffee pot that only takes the pods I am stuck with it. Coffee is extremely expensive right now. After doing some research I found on Amazon that I could get their brand of the breakfast blend, light roast, 100 pods for 24 dollars. That will last us well over 4 weeks. So, we decided that coffee would be our gift to each other every month and will not be counted in the budget. It only comes out to about 6 dollars a week or less, anyways.

One more thing about my husband. He can not eat the same thing more than 2 days in a row, where I could and not even care. So, I have to have variety each week. I told you it was gonna get hard. We ran out of milk on Sunday morning and he thought he was going to die one day without milk until the new week started today.

In the picture below you will see this week’s haul. Some of it is hard to see like the eggs, the large Aldi pizza, behind the bagels, are some tortilla chips, and there are 4 cans of veggies, but my daughter piled them high. Canned veggies are not perfect but they will do on a budget. Be sure and get low sodium if you can, or just drain the liquid and rinse before cooking if you can’t. Asparagus was quite expensive, but my husband asked for it. I could have saved nearly 10 dollars by not buying the chips, corn chips, and pretzels. But, I have to have something for us to snack on in the house. We do have a bunch of crackers that they really need to eat up. Creamer is also almost a luxury at this point. Even at Aldi even though it is half the price of Publix, the bottle is not nearly as big. I did buy meat this week. The chicken thighs had 8 thighs for $5.55. They are not organic and the skin and bone are still there. But, that is easily 4 meals of chicken dinners. The ground beef was $5 dollars a pound and I got two pounds. Honestly, I was kind of disappointed because I can get the organic ground beef for a similar price but they didn’t have any. I split the ground beef up into two 1 pound packages before freezing it. Aldis eggs were not economical at all, either. Eggs are even higher priced. I had to run to Publix to get eggs, and then my daughter decided she wanted some french fries. All in all this week I spent $71 dollars.

I went $8 dollars over budget this week, and while that is certainly not a crisis it is still over budget. I am sure I will be buying tomatoes before the end of this week, so that will be a couple of more dollars. I can not afford organic that is for sure, and I absolutely can not afford to shop at Publix on this budget. I do have several ideas of how maybe I can do more with my hard-earned money. I will try to get my meat from Misfits Market so that I can get organic. No, it is not huge packets of meat for cheap, but it is doable and I prefer organic. I have an account with them, but since I started this challenge have not bought from them. My husband does prefer the taste of organic milk but doesn’t have to have it to be happy. That is good because it is twice the price of non-organic milk. Next week, I don’t have to go to the city where Aldis is, so I am going to try my luck at Save A Lot and possibly the Dollar Tree. I will not eat processed junk, so if it comes to that to stay on the budget something will have to give.

If there is one thing I hope people can take away from all this is that healthy food should not be expensive and shitty food cheap. This is a horrible way for things to be. Nor, should I have to shop at 10 different stores, trying to find the best deals every week. People that have time to do all that is probably not working full-time jobs.

Over the weekend my family ate leftovers and cooked out of the pantry while I was at work. I need to update my pantry list after today’s shop. This is a super important way to keep track of what you have so you can plan meals around your pantry.

Today for lunch we had the Aldis pizza because it wouldn’t fit in the fridge. Keep that in mind if you buy one, they don’t fit. I had one slice of pizza, and a side salad. That pizza had 880 mg of sodium in one large slice. I ate half a slice. That is way too much sodium in one slice of pizza. I didn’t even look at the other nutrition information. For dinner, my husband and daughter will finish the pizza and I will have a leftover pork chop from Friday, and leftover broccoli. I may have a banana, or pretzels for a snack.

Some other meals I have planned for this week are spaghetti and meat sauce, chicken and bacon-wrapped asparagus, and pineapple rice. I have to use up the pineapple I bought a few weeks ago.

Do the best you can do. Try not to buy high sodium, overly processed, and foods with added sugars.

Let me know in the comments if you are joining in the challenge and what success you have had so far. You can leave links to your videos, or websites and I will check them out. I am going to try to do short videos once my husband is not working from home anymore.

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Walking is the best exercise for someone with CKD. Walk with Me!

Living With CKD: Pantry/Food Budget Challenge Week 3

Hello, hello! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend! It is freezing here in Florida right now and my Buffalo Bills lost. So, I am kind of sad today. But, don’t worry it’s alright.

Today begins week 3 of the budget/pantry challenge for my family of 3 at home. The budget is 63 dollars per week, and I hope to do it all year and save lots of money for projects I want to do. Part of the goal is also to see if having CKD limits me from eating convenient or pantry-type meals. We ate a lot from our pantry last week, and then I thought why would I eat everything and then start buying? So, this week I took a different strategy. I planned on spending the whole 63 dollars to replenish some of the fresh stuff we had eaten, and other items that we like. Meat, especially organic meat is going to be our biggest expense. I did buy some cheaper fewer quality meats this week, but I will probably have eggs or a meatless night, instead on those nights. I only list what I eat for breakfast and lunch, and what we all eat for dinner.

I have come to the conclusion that it is just easier for me to eat at work on my 12 hour days. They let us eat for free and I will just have to pick the healthiest option. I only work two days a week, so it should be fine. Yesterday, my husband made the extra turkey from Thanksgiving, used up the rest of the fresh potatoes, and green beans from the pantry. My son and dil were here to enjoy the meal. They did well and did not purchase anything extra as I asked them not to do.

Today, I went to Aldis and Publix to get my 63 dollars worth of groceries. I honestly would just avoid Publix right now because prices are so high, but we had a coupon for a specific coffee that my husband wanted, and Aldis had no coffee creamer. Coffee and creamer are kind of like luxuries in this challenge because they are so expensive. We have one of those k-pod coffee makers, so it is even more. I spent $43.97 at Aldis and $20.06 at Publix. For a total of $64.06 which is obviously over budget, but I did not account for tax in the budget. The budget is for food items only. You can see everything I bought in the image below. I recorded all the new items on my inventory spreadsheet and deducted the things used over the weekend. We still have a good supply of food.

For breakfast, I had one of my Quest protein bars that I already have a ton of. I do not like these at all, but I bought them, so they must be eaten. For lunch, I had 1 ounce of corn chips, a tuna pouch with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, onion, and tomatoes. Plus a dill pickle. For dinner, I am having leftover turkey breast, 4 ounces of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of green beans, and a side lettuce salad. Yes, I am doing low carb again. The mashed potatoes are homemade so no additives or preservatives.

That is it, for today. Come back throughout the week to see what else we had from the pantry. The pantry includes fresh, frozen, and canned or convenient meals. Let me know in the comments if you are trying either the budget challenge or the pantry challenge with CKD.

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Eating From My Pantry With CKD: End Of Week 2

Happy Friday! Even though the week doesn’t technically end until Sunday, I know we have everything we need to get to then without buying anything. So, I can safely say that in week 2 I spent 19.56 from my 63 dollar budget, which means I saved $43.44. Now, next week, as we have eaten a lot from our pantry from the last two weeks, I will have a little bit of a bigger food haul to buy, but still not a lot.

For clarification, because someone asked me, The Pantry Challenge is a two-pronged challenge. It is a budget challenge, and a challenge to eat what we have and see if I can still feel well with CKD while eating shelf-stable type products. Even when I buy shelf-stable items I try to buy organic as they don’t have all of the stuff I may not want in them. My organic items are running out and the real challenge will begin. Can I still afford those items on this budget of 63 dollars a week? I may not be able to and I may have to just stop buying the shelf-stable items that make me feel junky most likely from added phosphorus in those foods. Case in point we were treated to Chinese takeout last night and yes I feel yucky today. The sodium and most likely phosphorus in the batters and sauces are not good for people with CKD.

From my last post on this topic, we are still eating leftover soup as there was so much, and meatballs and pasta. I did use a can of green beans, and my daughter used a box of macaroni and cheese from our current inventory. She also used a pizza crust, sauce, and cheese. I ate some of the salad as well.

Tonight, we are having pork chops from the freezer and broccoli. I had popcorn for breakfast, lol. Popcorn is an awesome snack, but you do have to maintain portion control because it does naturally contain phosphorus. I air pop it to avoid added chemicals in microwave kinds.

The weekends are tough for me because I work 12-hour shifts and it is hard to plan ahead, especially on Sunday. But, I am going to prep some stuff tonight to keep me fed and hydrated over the weekend. Sunday my husband is cooking the extra turkey we bought at Thanksgiving and we are having family over for dinner after I get out of work.

Monday is shopping day and I think I will go to Aldi. Their prices are slightly lower than Walmart and I will have to see if it is worth the drive with gas prices. I will share my grocery haul and the amount spent. I am hoping to be able to get good organic items and stay within my budget. We do not need meat and that is good because organic meat is expensive. I can get it from Misfits Market but with a 30 dollar limit to buy, I need to wait until I need more things.

One more little tidbit. This 63 dollar-a-week budget is about half of what we normally would spend, so even after the food we have on hand is depleted it will still be large savings if we can stick to it. All monies saved will go towards spending down debt, home improvements, and my daughter’s graduation.

Do you have CKD? Do you eat processed or shelf-stable foods? How do you feel? Drop me a note in the comments. If you would like to learn how using a Health Coach like Health Buddy Melissa, can help you learn more about your kidneys, send me an email using the contact form below.

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