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    I Feed My Family Of Five For $100 A Week — Here's What A Week Of Groceries & Meals Looks Like For Us

    The planning is the hardest part — but here's how I've made it work.

    Hi! I'm Sydney, a stay-at-home mom of three, and I make homemade meals for my Colorado family every week.

    The author and her youngest daughter
    Sydney Martin

    With three kids under seven, meal prep and meal planning are essential in my house. Figuring out all the meals ahead of time allows me to save time and stick to a budget (usually around $100) each week.

    Each weekend, I plan all my family's meals for the upcoming week. This includes choosing the recipes I will make — via the internet and cookbooks — plus the actual shopping.

    The author browsing recipes
    Tasty.co

    Since my household has a severe peanut allergy, we don’t rely on much takeout.

    The planning is the hardest part, but there are a few things that really help me:

    1) I re-use ingredients over multiple meals. I try to find several recipes that center around some of the same ingredients — so that I can maximize my groceries and not waste anything.


    2) I prioritize what's on sale. For example, this week I was able to find a pack of 10 chicken thighs for less than $5 and fresh fruit for $2.50.


    3) I ask my kids to help! Kids can be picky eaters, but one thing that's worked well for mine has been getting them involved. I ask them to help pick out recipes when I'm looking, and I find that they are more excited to eat the meals that they picked themselves.

    Also, I'm lucky in that all my kids are small. All three are under 7, so I'm able to make our meals really stretch, portion-wise.

    The author's three kids
    Sydney Martin

    After planning my recipes this past Saturday morning, I spent exactly $100.36 for a week's worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I found my recipes on Tasty and plugged all the ingredients into different grocery apps to compare prices.

    Sydney Martin

    This past weekend was fairly busy as my 6-year-old had a soccer game and end-of-season party, so I opted for grocery delivery to save time and a trip to the store.

    The author and her family
    Sydney Martin

    Our groceries arrived on our doorstep moments after we got home from the game. Perfect timing!

    Delivered groceries on a doorstep
    Sydney Martin

    Here is this week's full grocery haul — and how the week went:

    Groceries laid out on the counter
    Sydney Martin
    Saturday

    Saturday was busy with soccer, I wanted to do something really simple for dinner: Easy Ravioli Lasagna.

    Ingredients for ravioli
    Sydney Martin

    It's basically impossible to mess up. You fill an oven-safe pan with a layer of ravioli, then sauce, then cheese.

    Sydney Martin

    I picked beef-filled ravioli to get a little more protein in the meal.

    Then repeat those layers again, top with foil, and pop it in the oven. A half-hour later, it's done:

    Baked ravioli in a pan
    Sydney Martin

    I threw together a bagged Caesar salad and quickly heated up some Texas toast to complete this dinner.

    Ravioli plated with salad and toast
    Sydney Martin

    Here was each plate served up and ready to go:

    5 plates of ravioli
    Sydney Martin

    This one was a success!

    The author's youngest kid enjoying ravioli
    Sydney Martin

    Since the ravioli was so easy to prepare, I used the extra time to knock out a make-ahead task for the upcoming week: homemade sandwich bread for lunches. I used this recipe to make the dough, and it was pretty simple!

    Ingredients for sandwich bread
    Sydney Martin

    First, let dry yeast sit in water. Then, add flour, salt, and oil — until it forms a dough. Cover the dough tightly, and let it proof (or sit) for an hour. Over that hour, it will double in size.

    A before-and-after of dough rising
    Sydney Martin

    I used my stand-up mixer (with the dough hook attachment) to form the dough.

    After that, I took out the dough and pressed it into a square shape. Then I folded it into thirds and popped it in my loaf pan.

    Raw dough in a loaf pan
    Sydney Martin

    In hindsight, I maybe should have taken a little more care when "popping" it into my loaf pan, as I created an oddly shaped loaf. However, the taste was still on point!

    Baked dough in a loaf pan
    Sydney Martin

    I used this bread to make sandwiches throughout the week. I did alter the recipe a tad by only using white flour (instead of whole wheat flour), but it still turned out great.

    Sliced baked dough
    Sydney Martin
    Sunday

    On Sunday morning, I wanted to continue prepping as much as I could for the week, so I made Sheet Pan Eggs for breakfast.

    Ingredients for sheet pan eggs
    Sydney Martin

    I kept the add-ins pretty basic — just cheese and Canadian bacon — but this would also work with veggies, sausage, or whatever you might have on hand.

    Sheet pan breakfasts are a favorite because I can save time, prep, and effort by making one bulk meal that I can then slice and eat throughout the week.

    Sydney Martin

    In this case, prep was just mixing eggs and milk, pouring everything into the pan, and adding toppings.

    I served these with fruit for breakfast, and sliced them for leftovers later in the week.

    Sheet pan eggs plated with strawberries
    Sydney Martin

    In my house, it always feels that as soon as one meal is over the kids are ready for a snack. I wanted to be ahead of their hungry bellies, so Sunday's morning snack was Apple Dippers with honey-yogurt dip.

    Sydney Martin

    This snack came together in about two minutes flat. This included the time it took to peel and slice the apples — and it didn't take long for the kids to start swarming.

    The author's oldest kid enjoying apple dippers

    Since the kids were already snacking away with the apple dippers, I decided to sneak in their ham sandwich lunches before their appetites waned. I used the bread I made the night before and added a side of hummus and veggies.

    Turkey sandwiches plated with veggies and hummus
    Sydney Martin

    Also, I still had some apple slices leftover after the kids finished eating. I decided to save the rest and make them into a frozen yogurt treat for another day.

    For dinner, I was craving some comfort food. One of my favorite meals growing up was my mom's chicken and rice. This recipe was very reminiscent of that: One-Pan Paprika Chicken & Rice Bake.

    Ingredients used for Paprika Chicken & Rice Bake
    Sydney Martin

    This recipe called for basic chicken thighs — and the only prep needed was adding some spices.

    Raw chicken with spices and herbs on top
    Sydney Martin

    The chicken browns quickly on the stovetop, then you set it aside and cook the aromatics, broth, and rice in that same pan.

    Sydney Martin

    There's a little bit of chopping and rice rinsing, but nothing too complicated — and I appreciated that it all came together in a single pan.

    After a few minutes, I returned the chicken to the pan and covered it so the rice could absorb the remaining liquid.

    Sydney Martin

    When I first took my pan out of the oven and lifted the lid, I was worried that my rice wasn't cooked all the way. The rice on the top almost looked dry still. However, I gave it a stir, and it was perfect! Shop The Recipe

    This recipe turned out so well and was delicious! My family likes to remind me that I cook chicken breasts too often, so using thighs this week was a nice change.

    Chicken and rice plated
    Sydney Martin

    When we dish up our plates, we tend to stick pretty close to the serving sizes the recipe states. The older kids usually share a serving, and I just eyeball a portion for the youngest.

    5 plates of chicken and rice
    Sydney Martin

    Sometimes the kids come back for seconds, and other times they eat one bite and are magically full. Kids!

    Monday

    Monday's breakfast was leftover sheet pan eggs repurposed into English muffin sandwiches.

    Leftover eggs and English muffins
    Sydney Martin

    The eggs already had meat and cheese in them so I didn't add anything else onto the sandwiches, but it would be so easy to jazz them up a bit!

    Plated egg sandwiches
    Sydney Martin

    Since breakfast was just a quick reheat, I decided to make a batch of granola bars before heading out for school drop-off. (And I know that might sound ambitious, but I chose a recipe that only took 10 minutes to prep!)

    Ingredients for granola bars
    Sydney Martin

    After mixing the ingredients and pressing them into a baking sheet, I threw them in the oven while I got the kids dressed and set them to cool as we were leaving for school.

    Mixed ingredients in a bowl
    Sydney Martin

    One note, though: I thought it would be a good idea to line the sheet pan with foil to help with cleanup later. However, I wouldn't recommend this because I ended up having to peel foil off the bottom of my bars once they were done. (If you go this route, remember to lightly spray the foil first.)

    Ingredients pressed into a sheet pan
    Sydney Martin

    Also, upon reading reviews for this recipe, it seemed like a common issue was that the bars would crumble apart. I made sure to utilize a few suggestions like pressing them into the pan firmly, and making sure they had lots of time to cool off before cutting. However, mine still fell apart a bit. Despite this, I would 100% make these again. They blow any store-bought granola bar out of the water and are much more cost effective.

    After the bars cooled, I wrapped up each one to make these easy to store. Since mine were a bit crumbly, I kept them in the freezer and pulled them out as needed.

    Sydney Martin

    I also really liked having them frozen because I could throw them in my bag when we went to the park/pool and not worry about them being completely melted when it came time to eat!

    Recipe: Homemade Granola Bars I Shop The Recipe

    Monday's lunch was leftovers. For dinner, I wanted to make something with vegetables since the previous night didn't have any. I decided on Chicken & Veggie Stir-Fry.

    Ingredients for stirfry
    Sydney Martin

    As I was prepping my ingredients, I realized my grocery shopper only bought one chicken breast instead of one pound. Luckily, I had the leftover chicken thighs from Sunday night. I cut off the skin and diced the chicken to make up the difference.

    Ingredients cooking on the stovetop
    Sydney Martin

    I didn't add my chicken thighs until the very end since it was already cooked and I didn't want it to dry out — but in the end, I had just enough.

    Finished stirfry on the stovetop
    Sydney Martin

    To serve, I added a side of fruit for the kids and some rice. Everyone really enjoyed this recipe! The veggies still had a bit of crunch, and it had really great flavor thanks to the garlicky soy sauce.

    Stirfry plated over rice
    Sydney Martin
    Tuesday

    After leftovers for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday's dinner was similarly about repurposing different things from earlier in the week. I needed to cook the remaining chicken thighs before they spoiled and use up the rest of the broccoli from the night before. I used this slow cooker recipe for a fix-it-and-forget-it meal of chicken and biscuits.

    Ingredients for slow cooker chicken and biscuits
    Sydney Martin

    The recipe called for chicken breasts, but I already had thighs from the large pack I had bought. I trimmed off the skin and used the thighs instead — plus the veggies — then put everything into the slow cooker.

    Ingredients placed into the slow cooker
    Sydney Martin

    The last step was to quickly slice the pre-made biscuits and add them in for the last hour of cooking.

    Ingredients placed into the slow cooker
    Sydney Martin

    I loved this dinner because it was really hands-off thanks to the slow cooker — and it let me clear out some fridge space by using up the chicken and veggies. Shop The Recipe

    Finished chicken and biscuits plated
    Sydney Martin
    Wednesday

    Wednesday was the last day of school for my 6-year-old, so breakfast was pick-what-you-want. My kids picked hardboiled eggs and fruit.

    Hardboiled eggs and fruit for breakfast
    Sydney Martin

    They all go nuts for hardboiled eggs — breakfast, lunch, snack, you name it.

    Lunch was leftovers. To celebrate the last day of school, I wanted to do something fun for dinner. These Cheeseburger Pretzel Bombs were perfect for that.

    Ingredients for cheeseburger pretzel bombs
    Sydney Martin

    Using pre-made dough as the base, I rolled it into balls with cheese.

    Pretzel bomb dough balls on a plate
    Sydney Martin

    The recipe calls for slices of American cheese, but I only had shredded. It took a bit more patience to roll with the shredded kind, but it still worked out. (And it kept me from buying multiple types of cheese.)

    In order to get the delicious pretzel texture on the outside, the dough balls are first dropped into a baking soda bath.

    Pretzel dough balls in a baking soda bath
    Sydney Martin

    This step is optional, but I honestly love soft pretzels, so taking an extra minute to do it was a no-brainer for me. 

    After the bath, pop them into the oven:

    Pretzel dough balls on a sheet pan
    Sydney Martin

    While the pretzels were baking, I wanted to try making a batch of sweet potato chips in my new air fryer using this recipe.

    Sydney Martin

    Speaking candidly, I'm still getting used to my air fryer, and I made a couple of mistakes with these. The first was that I cut my potatoes too thin. Second, as my husband will be happy to corroborate, I can be very impatient. I put way too many in my air fryer at once, and this resulted in lots of unevenly cooked chips.

    Sweet potato fries in Air Fryer
    Sydney Martin

    So if you make these, remember to watch the thickness, and don't overcrowd the basket.

    Recipe: Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chips I Shop The Recipe

    Despite my user error in making the sweet potato chips, we still had smiles, so I'll call it a win.

    The author's youngest kid enjoying sweet potato fries
    Sydney Martin

    The pretzel bombs were ready just as the chips cooled off.

    Finished pretzel dough balls, out of the oven
    Sydney Martin

    All in all, there were ZERO leftovers for this meal. Everybody kept going back for more until every last bite was gone. We will absolutely make these again.

    Pretzels dough balls plated with pickles and chips
    Sydney Martin

    One thing I would be curious to try would be to add burger toppings inside as well — like tomato, onion, etc. Maybe this would be a total flop and cause them to be soggy inside, but I'd still be interested in trying it out!

    (Also, as mentioned: Last day of school!! 🙌)

    The author's oldest kid smiling on his last day of school
    Sydney Martin

    I need to include a quick brag about my kiddo. What a year of ups and downs! A huge congrats to all parents, teachers, and kids for finishing up a roller coaster of a school year.

    Thursday

    For the first official day of summer break, I kept things easy. Breakfast was plain oatmeal with milk and brown sugar.

    Three bowls of oatmeal
    Sydney Martin

    I had a lot of oats and brown sugar remaining after making the granola bars, so this was just another way of repurposing pantry staples I had purchased for other recipes in the week.

    For lunch I used leftover hardboiled eggs to make egg salad. For dinner, I finished off the tub of yogurt from the Apple Dippers and made this two-ingredient pizza dough.

    Ingredients for shortcut pizza dough
    Sydney Martin

    I wasn't totally sure how it would go, but turns out, when you combine self-rising flour and yogurt, you get shortcut dough! I rolled out a double batch.

    Sydney Martin

    To recreate the great texture on the pretzel bombs, I also gave these the same baking soda bath — and it worked really well.

    One cheese pizza, two kitchen helpers.

    Sprinkling shredded cheese on pizza dough
    Sydney Martin

    The two-ingredient crust actually turned out pretty well — despite a color that wasn't as brown as I would have liked. (But it still tasted great!) Shop The Recipe

    Sydney Martin
    Friday

    To end the week, breakfast was cereal (leftover Rice Krispies from the granola bars) and oatmeal. Lunch was egg salad, fruit, and veggies with hummus.

    The author and her youngest kid, smiling at the town pool
    Sydney Martin

    Friday was the first day our neighborhood pool was open — so I wanted to spend as much time as possible hanging with the kids.

    Dinner was the last of the leftovers, below. I really wanted to make sure we finished eating up most of the food in the fridge before heading into the weekend. Saturday morning, we started the cycle over to begin another week!

    Three containers of leftovers: chicken, stirfry, and pizza
    Sydney Martin

    I know my kids are small, which helps keep our budget low, but I find that having an organized plan for the week helps with unnecessary purchases or buying things that sound good in the store, but don't always come together to make a set meal.

    And I realize this routine won't necessarily work for all families — especially if you're feeding hungry teenagers instead of toddlers, or if you work outside the home and are unable to devote much time to cooking. Still, I hope this is helpful in some way!

    (Also, if you liked this post, you can read one of my previous weekly meal plans here!)

    A previous week of meals: pancakes, beef, and chicken bowls
    Sydney Martin

    How do you handle meal planning in your household? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!