DIY Meal Kits For Emergencies and Budget Meals!

I did not realize I have not done a post in like 3 weeks. That was not my intention at all. When I first moved to Florida, from a cold state, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I remember watching it on TV and thinking what have I gotten us into. I was used to snow, ice, and blizzards. While those things can be very deadly they pale to a hurricane. During our first few years, I had our emergency kit stocked and ready to go every hurricane season. Then nothing happened for a while and I got lax about it. Now, granted where I live in Florida, we are at least an hour inland and I think the largest that has ever come over our home was close to a 2, but more like a 1.5 which is not really a thing. I find them to still be plenty scary, especially at night. We will almost always lose power, sometimes for up t a week. So, we still have to be ready to leave, and or stick it out without power. When Irma hit in 2017 we evacuated, because we were told to. I learned a lot from that as it was our first time evacuating. Now, Ian hit Southwest Florida just a couple of weeks ago. Given the size, Ian was, had it come on the original path it surely would have come right over us. If you have never seen what storm surge can do to a community watch the video below of Ian’s damage from storm surge. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this monster storm, and if you can in some way donate to their needs please do so through charities that are good, solid charities.

I watched some Youtube videos on meal kits from shelf-stable foods all packaged and ready to use. I thought that is brilliant! I used to just store a bunch of food in a bin, all thrown in there. This way you will get a meal in a bag all ready to be used with what you need. You can even slip in directions if you forget what the meal was or how to make it. These are also budget meals or can be, depending on what you use. Food is so expensive right now, especially fresh food, finding healthier shelf-stable foods to put in my kits will be a goal, but definitely not budget-friendly I am sure. My goal will be to create 14 of these meal kits to have stored either in a bin or in my pantry for easy grabbing. Keep in mind how you will open these products, cook them, and or heat them if needed. You will also need something to eat them on and with. In an emergency, filling your belly may be more important than eating healthy. However, if you have to eat a special diet for any reason it is crucial that you have kits that you can eat and still stay well. I have CKD, so I am mindful of that when doing these kits. If we ever evacuate again we will just pack these kits up and take them with us. That way we have food to eat without needing to eat out and food when we come home should something really awful occur. If 14 don’t take up too much room, I will create 14 more.

This first one is from items I already have on hand. That will also be a goal, to try and use stuff I have, instead of buying more. The date on the bag is the date of the item with the earliest use by date. That means we need to eat it by that date and replace it with another. Don’t make kits your family won’t eat, even if they seem healthy. This is dumb and a waste of money. Like you will never see oatmeal in one of my kits because only my husband will eat it.

I will give totals for each meal kit. I am using Walmart as a guide, but if I bought it somewhere else and I know the price then I will use that price. You will see the kit in the image below. These meal kits are to feed 3 adults.

Creamy Chicken Ramen with Corn

2 packets of creamy chicken Ramen .60

1 can of Libby’s corn .98 If you buy the Walmart brand it is about .50

1 bottle of Aquafina water .25 I buy them in packs of 32 and store them. Aquafina is my favorite, but there are cheaper brands. I drain most of the water off so I only need one bottle. If you intend to eat it more like a soup you may need 2. A single bottle is probably expensive if you choose to buy it that way.

1 can of chicken Walmart brand is $3.00 for 12,5 ounces. These are in water and fully cooked. You will get 13 grams of protein per serving. If you are watching your potassium there is 210 mg per serving and 380 mg of sodium. You could rinse the chicken to reduce some of the salt content, but honestly, if it is hot and humid and you don’t have power, you may need the extra sodium to not get depleted from sweating.

The grand total for meal kit #1 is $4,83 and it should feed 3 comfortably. I would break up the noodles before cooking to make them easier to portion out.

Just put everything in the bag, and seal it closed. This is a gallon bag but bigger bags would be better. I could not find any in stock anywhere, except for absurd stupid prices. So, I squished it all in there.

I have some ideas for some other kits and continue to search for products that are affordable, healthy, and easy to use. I will try to share a new kit each week and if I get more than one done, I will share them all. Hurricane season is coming close to the end this year, so it gives me time to get the kits made. The Dollar Tree has smaller-sized items and fit in these kits very nicely. However, they are not the best bargain always.

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National Sloppy Joe Day!

Welcome back for another Food on Friday topic. I love Sloppy Joes! Do you? Today in the USA, is National Sloppy Joe Day. Watch the short video below to learn about the history of sloppy joes and her recipe. I make mine a little different than she does. I really enjoy her food history videos. Be sure and check out some of her others. I was actually going to make these today, but I completely forgot to take out the meat to thaw. But, I have made these lots of times using the ingredients below. My new week for the grocery budget challenge will begin Sunday, as that is when I have time to grocery shop.

Now, I have CKD, and I try to avoid HFCS at all costs. It upsets my stomach and generally makes me not feel good. There is a standard Sloppy Joe sauce that is available in stores. It is affordable, but it does contain HFCS and lots of sodium. So, I choose not to use it, and honestly, I don’t even think it tastes that good. Keep your portion size of the meat mixture to no more than 3-4 ounces, and try to make a vegetarian option using mushrooms. Ooh, I bet that is delicious.

To lighten up your Sloppy Joe you could use ground turkey, lean ground beef, or even ground chicken. A whole-grain bun would add more nutrients than just a plain white bun. If you are trying to keep it light don’t add cheese to the finished sandwich.

These are the ingredients I use.

  1. Lean ground beef, the leanest I can find, or ground turkey.
  2. About a tbsp of olive oil to cook the ground beef and veggies in
  3. A bell pepper, green is the most affordable
  4. Some chopped onion. I like Vidalia onions.
  5. Garlic minced, or any garlic you have on hand. I generally have garlic powder.
  6. Low sodium tomato paste.
  7. 2/3 of a cup of catsup. I like organic and prefer sugar free, though no one else does.
  8. 1.3 cup of whatever vinegar you have on hand. I usually have red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar on hand.
  9. 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  10. 1 tbsp of brown sugar, use stevia brown sugar if you watch your sugar intake
  11. 1/2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce.

That is it. After you cook the ground beef, onions, and peppers, add everything else, stir it all in, and voila a Sloppy Joe is born. Don’t forget to drain the fat off of your meat.

Let me know how you make Sloppy Joes, and if you don’t if you will try this recipe and how much you like it.

Disclaimer

Ouch Grocery Prices!

Hello, everyone! If you read here often then you know that I missed my Wednesday post for the next kidney class. I worked all day, and it was a rough day, and I was exhausted. I just plain forgot. I do have to work again next Wednesday, but it is mostly meeting stuff, and I will be bored and thinking about other things I need to do, lol.

The other day I blogged about the really high gas prices. It cost me 40 dollars to almost fill my tank this morning. That is about 8 dollars more than typical. 8 dollars may not sound like a lot, but even if it was 8 dollars a week, that is 32 dollars a month, plus another probably 35 for my husband’s car, extra each month. It will add up pretty fast.

Today is the start of week 10 of my 63 dollars per week grocery challenge budget. That equals 21 dollars per person per week. We pretty much have been able to stick with it, mostly because I shop smart, make a list, shop my pantry first, and have an idea for meals from what we already have on hand. Our on-hand foods are dwindling, and soon this will just be a budget of 63 dollars per week. The budget is for food items only, and not for pets, or other home supplies. You can see the picture of the items I bought this week. I checked all of my local stores for the best deals, and Walmart had the best deals. I mean I could get one or two things elsewhere but to me, it isn’t worth it to go to several stores, and it was pouring rain today too. Anyway, I stuck to the list and it was 5 dollars over. Since these are typical of what I will buy each week, this is probably going to happen each week. So, I will have to put something back each week to stay within budget. Since we are a family, all with different eating needs, and styles, it is hard to follow a strict budget. I have CKD and am on a weight loss journey. My husband eats what he wants, and I have a teen, so yeah teens, lol.

Walmart had the best price on boneless skinless chicken breasts, at 1,99 a pound. Yes, I know I can get another variety of chicken for less, but again, I have to buy what everyone will eat. I could do boneless skinless chicken thighs, but apparently, they didn’t have any. You will also notice I did not buy much fresh stuff. I needed onions, I use them in everything, and that bag of onions was 4.98 and the more affordable yellow onions were sold out. I bought frozen veggies instead, which I prefer over canned. No organic purchases either, this week. Everything is at least a little bit more expensive. I did buy more brown rice because for the price and the nutrition profile it works for me. I can add some beans and we will have a complete protein. I also have the bag of lentils from last week that can be added to rice. In my pantry is also quinoa.

What will be on the menu this week? Tonight, we are finally going to eat the ham steak, some pineapple rice, and a veggie. If I decide I don’t want the ham, I will stir fry up some onions, and mushrooms to put over my rice. Nobody else will eat that but me, lol. Tomorrow we are eating out because of our anniversary. Sunday, my son will be visiting and we will have kielbasa, mac n cheese, baked beans, and green beans. I have some apple chicken sausages in my freezer, that I will eat instead of kielbasa, though I love kielbasa. I may or may not have the mac n cheese. I still have one package of ravioli left and that is why I bought the sauce. I can have my whole grain pasta with sauce. I don’t really like ravioli anyway, but my husband and daughter do, and price-wise it is a good deal. Beyond that, I have not really planned much out. My biggest struggle right now is breakfast, and lunch, on the days I work. I did some prep and got some potatoes done in the air fryer. I can just heat these up and have an egg or two over them in the morning. When you walk 15,000 steps a day at work, I need breakfast to start my day. If I had a desk job it would be different. Lunch is harder. I don’t want to prep a meal for the next day when I get home from work, and I don’t want to take leftovers that will need to be warmed. That is why I bought the whole wheat bread. I really like the Ole Wellness low-carb wraps, as does my husband. But, you only get 8 wraps, and the price of them has gone through the roof. The whole wheat bread was only 1.48 and I didn’t check, but I hope it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. My husband will not use whole wheat bread, so I had to get regular sandwich bread for him. I still have not had time to try making my own bread, but after next week, my weeks should quiet down a little. I can pack a sandwich and a piece of fruit for lunches. I still have apples and oranges on hand.

I am still contemplating shopping every two weeks, at 126 dollars, instead of weekly. I have not decided if that will be more cost-effective. If gas continues to rise, most likely it will be.

Are food prices high where you live? Let me know in the comments what you are doing to save money on food. There were a lot of empty spots on the shelves at my Walmart too, this week.

Please remember that we are doing this as a challenge, to save money, avoid food waste, and challenge ourselves. If you have food insecurity that is not by choice, please reach out to local organizations that can assist you to get food.

Disclaimer

Start Of Week 9 Of The $63 Per Week Grocery Budget Challenge

Hello, and welcome to Friday. Have you joined the challenge, yet? Each week I spend 21 dollars per person, per week, on groceries. There are 3 in my home at this time, so that is 63 dollars per week. At first, it was a pantry challenge as well to see if I with CKD could still feel healthy eating pantry or shelf-stable type meals. That only took a few weeks to decide absolutely not. However, as the weeks have gone on I have found that we can still eat quite healthy on the small budget I created. We still have a few snacks for the week, and we still eat meat. It is a little trickier I will admit, but so far it is very easily doable. If you take out all of the junk we tend to eat, then you can afford the good stuff. I can’t afford organic, or grass-fed most weeks, but I can squeeze it in if it is on sale. If I could tolerate beans better, and my family would eat beans as an alternative to meat, that would be much better, but alas I am not the only person that eats in the house.

As you will see in the picture this week I focused on meat. I went to Save A Lot because they had the best prices on the meat. My husband likes those Ole low-carb wraps, I do too, actually, I just don’t eat them as much. They are quite expensive for only 8 wraps. I am going to see if I can find a recipe to make my own homemade low-carb wraps. They don’t even have to be low-carb as long as they are high fiber. There are some snacks in there too, for my daughter and husband. I tend to try to avoid snacking altogether. We still have apples and oranges on hand. My daughter likes those instant potatoes for her lunches. Drinks are one place that can suck up a lot of money. We have cut way back on the drinks, and just have water most of the time. Except for coffee and creamer, if you have been following along then you know coffee is no longer part of this budget. I tend to buy the larger packets of meat and then split them up into proper portion sizes before freezing them. Use your leftovers too! Don’t let your family waste them. I spent $2.50 at the Dollar Tree and picked up the lentils, and a 2 pound bag of rice. The lentils do not bother my stomach as much as beans, but my family won’t eat them. So, I will prep them and store them for me when I don’t want meat. I spent the full 63 dollars this week, and not a penny less.

This week my husband was away for dinners, again, but he will be back next week. So, my daughter and I had smaller meals and leftovers. I did some meal prep this week by air-frying almost a whole bag of potatoes. Now they are ready for any meal I want to use them in. Potatoes take forever to cook, but they are affordable and healthy. I have started a new plan as part of my weight loss journey to eat little or no carbs after lunch. I can not say I have adjusted to this yet, and it is still a work in process.

For dinners coming up we will be having: tonight baked pork chops and a veggie, Saturday ravioli with sauce, Sunday breakfast for dinner, Monday cornbread and ham. Now, they may not be in that order, and I haven’t thought past Monday. Since I am doing low carb for dinner I will either prepare the dinner meal for lunch, as my husband still works from home, or I will make it for dinner and save it for my lunch the next day and eat something else for dinner. So far it really only affects the ravioli dinner, and I don’t really care for them anyway.

I bought the ham steak on purpose because I knew I had two cornbread mixes in the cupboard that need to be used. Now, they do have HFCS which I generally avoid, but I bought the dumb things and I refuse to waste them, but I won’t buy them again. Gas is getting so high now, that we probably won’t be heading to Aldis again anytime soon unless I go after work, but even then it is still not that close to my new job and I really don’t want to shop after working all day. So, I will have to do with the stores that are closer to me.

Leave me a comment if you are giving this challenge a try and how you are doing with it.

Have a great weekend!

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.

Disclaimer

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.

Disclaimer

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.

Disclaimer

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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Who Likes Squats?

I would say most people do not like to do squats, but some people probably do. The other day I was reading an article on bone health and preventing Osteoporosis. With CKD you know how important bone and muscle health is. Squats were considered one of the best weight- bearing exercises you could do for bone health. I mean think about it, you are lifting your own weight from a seated to a standing position and then back to seated. The article stated that women in certain cultures who regularly sit on the floor have the best bone density in that study. This is because they have to get up and then down to the floor several times a day. I mean think of it this way, say you have an office job but you get up from your chair at least every hour and take 250 steps. In an 8 hour work-day, that means you would have done at least 8 squats as long as your chair is not high. Even if you have an active job, doing squats will improve your bone density.

Watch the video to learn how to properly do a squat. Start low and build up to more repetitions. Your buns and hamstrings probably will complain, especially at first, but your bones will thank you.

Now for a quick update on the pantry food challenge.

I looked up rolled oats that I used in my blueberry crisp and 1/2 of a cup contains 17 grams of protein, 66 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fiber, 523 mg of Phosphorus, 2 mg of Sodium, and 429 mg of Potassium. This makes oats a concerning food item for CKD. The recipe called for 3/4 of a cup of oats. Be sure and eat the blueberry crisp in moderation only. The homemade sloppy joe sauce was amazing! Compared to Manwich sloppy joe sauce in a can, it has much better nutrition for CKD, namely in sodium content and it contains HFCS. The frozen corn per 1/2 cup has 3 grams of protein, 3 mg of sodium, 213 mg of potassium, and 70 mg of phosphorus. Be sure and be mindful of portion sizes with the corn as well.

Today is an all-leftover dinner day. So, anything I have already cooked will be finished up today.

This weekend is the hardest for me, any weekend- because I work 12-hour shifts. On the first day I can manage a healthy meal, the second day I am too tired and with little sleep not much time to get something together. I may go ahead and prep a bunch of stuff today so I can eat healthy both days. Below are some pantry items I have thrown into my lunch bag in case I don’t get prepped for Sunday. We can eat at work for free, but I find the food generally upsets my stomach so I try not to. I have shown just the item and the labels.

The first item is for Poptarts. The list of ingredients is immense, but I forgot to take a picture. Then a bag of Cheez Its, Quest protein bar, a tun pouch, and Canola mayo I bought that Canola mayo through Misfits Market and I have not tried it yet. I think I will make tuna, and chicken salad so I have something for both days. The only real difference is that it has more Omega 3 than other mayos do and less saturated fat. The Quest protein bars I need to eat up. According to one website, one bar contains 10% of the RDA for phosphorus. I bought them and didn’t love them, but I refuse to waste them. They are so expensive. I have to eat three meals at work because I work 12- hour shifts. I will probably have my last serving of blueberry crisp before I leave for breakfast. I will also stick in a banana, and maybe some clementines. These are high in potassium so they will not work for everyone. That will avoid a fattening greasy breakfast there. If you work with CKD you know how hard it can be to stick to a diet and to get enough fluids. Fluids are an even bigger concern for me than food. As far as pantry meats go, you really can’t beat tuna. Try to buy the brand with the best ingredient list. I have tried organic tuna and I do not like it at all.

Have an awesome weekend and let me know how you plan for workdays with CKD.

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Meatless Meal #2!

If you read here earlier this week then you know that I am trying to get my family to eat two meatless meals a week. These are not Vegan, just meatless.

Why? Because plant-based proteins are generally more affordable and I want to expand the food items we consume in our diet. It can also help the environment.

The first meal in this week no one really objected to. It was an egg, cheese, and bagel sandwich. Everybody loved it. My husband was less enthused with the second meal, which you can see in the photo below. That was what I ate and everyone had the choice to eat that. That didn’t happen, lol. My husband and daughter refused to eat the pork and beans. My husband prefers the sugar-laden Bush’s baked beans of which I had none on hand. He did eat the salad which had cheese on it. I think he ate a Clementine as his fruit, instead of banana and grapes.

For me, with CKD, I had 1/2 cup of pork and beans. Sometimes I only have 1/4 cup depending on what else I have eaten that day. I had 8 red grapes with 1/4 of a medium banana. On top of that was 1 tbsp of whipped topping. Then I had a huge salad with Romaine lettuce, orange bell pepper, onion, tomato, and 1 ounce of sharp cheddar cheese. I believe all of these were organic. I used 1 tbsp of Country French dressing, which is my favorite. Also, on the plate are two small slices of deli bread you can buy at Walmart for 1 dollar. This was delicious and super filling. I could totally eat this every day as a meal and be content.

I have not thought about what two meatless meals I will create next week, but now I feel better if they eat crappy over the weekend when I am at work. Plus they are baking Christmas cookies. Watch for a sugar-free cookie recipe next week and why I am making them.

Have an amazing weekend!

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