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The Two-Week Grocery Experiment: Menu

After determining to try a two-week shopping trip, planning a rough menu based upon the store sales and what I already had on hand, and then taking a few hours to make the big (or so it seemed to me!) $76 shopping trip, I then sat down and made out a detailed two-week menu. I decided to plan a little more than we usually would eat each week, just to be sure we had plenty since this whole two-week shopping thing is completely new territory for me.

Here’s the menu:

BREAKFASTS (I try to shoot for a combination of two servings of whole-grains, one serving of protein, and one to two servings of fruit for all of our breakfast menus.)

Cereal, fruit
Strawberry/banana/pineapple/flaxseed smoothie, toast
Blueberry cream muffins, scrambled eggs, fruit
Bagels, yogurt, fruit
Banana bread, yogurt, fruit
Blueberry/pineapple/flaxseed smoothies, toast
English muffins, scrambled eggs, fruit
Orange/carrot/pineapple juice (made in our juicer), toast, yogurt
Cereal, fruit
Whole-wheat waffles, yogurt, fruit
Banana bread, yogurt, fruit
French toast, scrambled eggs, fruit
Oatmeal in the crockpot, fruit
Strawberry/banana/flaxseed smoothie, whole wheat waffles

LUNCHES (I try to have a combination of a serving of protein, one to two servings of whole grain/complex carbohydrates, and two servings of veggies/fruit for our lunch menus.)

Chicken fingers, apple slices, peas, whole-wheat toast
Vegetable stirfry over brown rice with flaxseeds
Split peas, brown rice, fruit
PB&J, oranges, broccoli
Leftovers
Turkey/cheese sandwiches, mixed vegetables
Quesadillas, carrots
Salad, homemade bread
Split peas, brown rice, fruit salad
Leftovers
PB&J, apples, carrots
Turkey/cheese sandwiches, mixed veggies
Burritos, carrots, apples
Chicken fingers, bananas, mixed veggies, whole-wheat toast

DINNERS (Dinners are similar to lunches in that I try to have a combination of one to two servings of protein, one to two servings of whole grains/complex carbohydrates, and at least two servings of fruit/veggies.)

Build-your-own burritos, wild rice mix, southwest corn, fruit salad
French toast, scrambled eggs, strawberry/pineapple/banana smoothies
Taco salad, homemade bread, fruit
Beef hot dogs, corn on the cob, pasta salad, fruit
Homemade BBQ beef pizza, fruit, veggies
Hamburgers, wild rice mix, green beans, corn on the cob 
Dinner out
Homemade mac and cheese with veggies, peas, fruit salad
Baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese sauce, homemade bread, fruit
Homemade BBQ beef pizza, fruit, veggies
Haystacks (build-your-own Mexican platter: Mexican beans, lettuce, tomato, corn chips, cheese, sour cream, salsa), corn
Spaghetti casserole, Italian cheese bread, green beans, grapefruit,
Chicken broccoli rice casserole, homemade bread, fruit,
Dinner out

SNACKS (We usually have at least two snacks per day–the fact that I’m still nursing Kaitlynn means I’m often hungry and three meals per day just doesn’t cut it for me! I try to serve at least one healthy snack a day and then one snack is usually something less healthy like Chex Mix or cookies.)

Fruit (apples/bananas)
Raw veggies (carrot sticks)
Cheese slices
Popcorn
Chex Mix
Animal crackers
PB&J
Cereal
Blueberry muffins
Homemade bread
Banana bread
Cookies

See more menus for this week here.

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28 Comments

  • Sonshine says:

    looks yummy!!

    enjoy your week! 🙂

  • FoxFire says:

    Thanks for sharing your menus! I have such a hard time coming up with balanced meals- this has given me some ideas.

    I think it is really cool that you go out to dinner once a week…..a small luxury that really helps take some of the load off!

    Do you ever have to mix up your menus? Like when you forget to take the meat out of the freezer? Do you just subsitute another meal that you planned for later in the week? I guess what I am asking is: is this a *plan* or a *guide* for your meals?

    Thanks!!!

  • Thanks! This is great. Where do you normally get your recipes? Though, most of them do sound pretty self-explanatory.

    Again, thanks.

  • Org Junkie says:

    Looks great, way to go on going two weeks!

  • Jan says:

    Your menus sound really yummy and healthy- do you kids eat the same as you and your husband? I don’t see very much meat at all- what else are you counting as a protein besides eggs?

  • Tayla says:

    I love, love, LOVE all these ideas! Thank you SO much for sharing your menu with us, very helpful!!!

  • karen says:

    Great menus! You’ve given me some ideas to spruce up ours, which get a bit boring after a while, thanks! I am curious tho, how do you afford to eat dinner out once per week on your budget??

  • Jennifer says:

    This was really helpful as I was wondering if you included snacks in your grocery budget. It looks like your family eats really well and I’m excited you use some of your ideas as it’s so easy for me to get into a rut with menus.

  • Kristin says:

    How on earth do you do this??? When I use flaxseed that often in my meals it costs me a fortune. You must have a great resource for the flaxseed near you and a good stockpile of it! The best I can do here is $2.89/lb.

    Great menu!

  • deano says:

    Awesome menus. Good ideas to put into our rotations.

    I’ve been anxiously awaiting the menu plan part of your series, to see how it all comes together.

    Where is the meat from your menu plan coming from? (BBQ Beef Pizza, hamburgers, taco salad, etc.). Are you pulling that from previous stock-ups? How much of your 2-week menu plan is leveraged from stock vs. this 2-week trip?

    Thanks!

  • Thank you for sharing your menus! This helps so much!!! I recently became a WAHM, which means a paycut, so we’ve been trying to cut our previously $120 week grocery budget down to $50 a week. You have inspired & helped- Thank You!!!
    Sam 🙂

  • _Kristine says:

    I’m also interested in finding out how much of your menus come from the weekly/bi-weekly shopping trips and how much comes from previous trips. If it’s not *too* much work, of course 🙂

    Org junkie – dairy products like cheese and yogurt are protein sources, and beans are an excellent (and cost-conscious) protein source. Plus they provide fiber – which is something the American diet generally lacks. We work homemade pinto bean burgers into the menu every two weeks or so. It’s a cheap meal, and tastes GREAT!

  • W says:

    I see 2 days where leftovers are for lunch, and I am assuming that is just you and 2 kids, or do you pack the same lunch for dh? Do you really only have that much leftover from all that cooking? If so you are a much better planner than me!!

  • Crystal,

    I don’t know if there is a problem with my IE or what, but when I’m at this site, only the most recent post comes up. Just thought you might want to know. It only started today though.

  • Leigh says:

    I love doing my shopping for 2 weeks – otherwise I feel like I am always planning and shopping… Once I got the hang of planning the menus that far ahead, it was great!

  • You are so organized! Wow. I usually only shop once every 2 weeks, bc that is when my Hubby gets paid. But…I always need somehting or run out of something unforseen. And when you are shopping for a long period there’s no room in your budget when you are just craving something inmparticular. I have been trying to go every week so that I can take advantage of the store sales. If I go only once in 2 weeks I miss a week of great sales!

  • Melissa says:

    Thanks so much for posting your menu plan, I was needing some more ideas for breakfast and lunches. Could you post your recipe for oatmeal in the crockpot? Thanks!

  • So, I assume the eating out is over and above your normal $40 a week menu?
    It sounds like a great menu! i though find that I make leftovers on purpose it is cheaper, we like it and then I do not have to buy stuff for lunches, just enough to make extra dinner.

  • Nichole says:

    Looks like a good menu!
    And good deals on your shopping for 2 weeks!
    Nichole

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  • Shannon says:

    Great job. We also eat leftovers for lunch around here, or a sandwich. My husband likes to have something in the meat family every night. If it is just veggies, or like the french toast night, he would count it as a snack, lol. He is definitely a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Our meals go something like so: steak, mashed potatoes and a veggie; spaghetti with ground beef; homemade burgers and fries; pork chops, rice, and a veggie; cubed steak, mushroom gravy, potatoes, and a veggie; tacos with ground beef; homemade chicken and noodles with cornbread; chili beans with ground beef and cornbread; eggs, bacon, grits, and biscuits…. you get the idea. There is no way he would eat flax seed, lol.

  • Dawn says:

    Hi, Crystal – I was wondering how you keep your fruits and vegetables fresh for two weeks?

    I also was wondering if you were using pantry items to go with what you purchased? I would really love to see your shopping list and see if I can duplicate it here. We spend at least $300 a week on groceries and other supplies, so I’m in desperate need of help!
    Thanks!

  • Lyn says:

    Crystal, I can understand your reducing of meat products. My dh loves meat too, but besides the fact that it’s so expensive these days, it’s not healthy to consume a lot of meat. A typical meal portion should be quite small compared to what many eat.

    As mentioned, there are other protein options available. I think a steady diet of meat will mean for many a huge debt of medical debt later on in life.

    So in my family we compromise. We still eat meat, but it’s reduced. I put a little bit of it in most every dinner meal and dh is happy. I’m happy because I’m reducing his cholesterol intake and hopefully keeping him around longer. 🙂

  • amanda says:

    this post is making me sooo hungry 🙂 good plan though 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    Excellent menu, girl! I love when folks say to me “Oh, I don’t bother couponing. You only eat junk then!”

    After a Walmart run 2 weeks ago, I left the cashier and the lady behind me (who commented about not using coupons) just staring – I had over $150 worth of products for $30 after coupons. I grabbed the Old Spice Body washes, some Gold bond lotions (so nice on dry summer feet), and more. I only shop the reduced meat or buy meat on price match from a local store, bagged organic salads also on price match,free salad dressings, and milk price matched from Aldi’s flyer, plus a coupon!

    Sure, it takes me time every week. But my family’s health, well-being, and financial goals are important to me.

    I’m glad that my hubby doesn’t care for the ‘fancy cooking’ of Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, and the other Food Network folks. They sure do have some nice recipes, but some of them are expensive with the extras that I wouldn’t normally buy. I still use my cookbooks for inspiration, and modify from there. 🙂

  • Becky says:

    Yum!!

    I can’t wait to hear how the two-week experiment goes for you. I always shop once a week too, so I’m really interested to see how this pans out for you. You’re braver than I-I can’t imagine shopping without knowing my menu-it’s my lifesaver!

    I was wondering-do you do your shopping during the day with your kids or in the evening by yourself? I alternate, but have a hard time deciding what’s best-on the one hand, shopping in the evening by myself while my husband stays with the kids is SO easy, but at the same time, I like for our evenings to be family time, so I sometimes figure if it’s harder on me and takes longer if I go with the kids, the benefit is an evening together and it outweighs the hardship of shopping with kids.

  • wendy says:

    What form of flaxseed do you put in your smoothies? I put whole flax in mine and it was definitely gritty or something – you could feel the flaxmeal in there. Is that the same with yours?

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