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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

Because of a food allergy in my household, I cook pretty much every meal, every day.

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 child

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.

Various recipes online

With meal planning, up-front preparation is key — but it's also the most challenging thing. Here are a few tips and tricks that I use each week:

1) I pick recipes with ingredients that can be used for multiple meals (and in multiple ways). This also includes getting creative with leftovers. Sometimes eating leftovers all the time can get old, but I try to remember that I can always use different components of my leftovers to create new meals.

2) I look at what's on sale. For example, this week I was able to get chicken BOGO and eggs for nearly half off!

3) I buy the cheapest store brand most of the time. Unless it's something that I'm unable to use due to the peanut allergy (or if a different brand is on sale), store brand it is.

4) I ask my kids to help me! Feeding kids is a challenge. They change their minds constantly, and they seemingly get new taste buds every meal. When I ask them to help pick out recipes (usually by them looking at pictures), I find that they are more excited to eat them.

My kids are small, so I'm really able to make $100 go a long way — as long as it's coupled with a plan.

This past week, my groceries rang in at $103.25. This includes all breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I found my recipes online and input all my ingredients into my local grocery store's app.

The author's weekly grocery reciept

When preparing for the upcoming week, I needed to take into account that my son would be starting school this week. I also had an appointment on one day that would prevent me from having my usual prep and cooking time — so I wanted at least a few recipes that were even faster and easier than usual.

Here's how the week went!

For my weekly groceries, I normally opt for delivery. This saves me a lot of time, prevents impulse buys, and I don't have to bring my kids into the store to shop.

Here was my grocery haul once it arrived on Saturday afternoon:

The author's grocery haul

Since it was my family's last Saturday of summer break, I tried to keep it easy for dinner. I wanted something fast and hands off. I decided on Italian Meatball and Vegetable Soup.

Ingredients for soup

Prep for this recipe was quickly chopping veggies and garlic. Then I gave them a nice steam and added broth, then meatballs and spinach. Super easy!

Before serving, I added a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of Parmesan.

I was actually amazed at how well my kids ate this. They loved the meatballs, and I loved that they were getting a decent amount of veggies alongside.

Our Sunday, I wanted to make something that would carry over into the rest of the week: Sheet Pan Breakfast Pizza.

Ingredients for breakfast pizza

Two things that help me stay within budget are paying attention to serving size and stretching any leftovers. For example, this recipe called for 11 ounces of pizza dough — but I had 16.

Weighing pizza dough

I rolled out the dough and let it bake for a few minutes before adding all the toppings. While the dough was baking, I scrambled the eggs.

Normally I would wait and put all components of our breakfast on a plate at once, but because we had a busy morning ahead, I had the kids get started on their bananas while the pizza was baking.

The author's kid eating a banana

After a few more minutes in the oven, breakfast was served! The kids were really excited about this breakfast and ate really well. I was happy that I was able to get some veggies in first thing in the morning.

Lunch on Sunday was a bit scattered, and everyone ate at various times. We did make-your-own yogurt parfaits.

Sunday was our last day of summer break, and I didn't want the evening to be taken up by cooking. I made Easy Chicken Fajitas on a sheet pan.

Ingredients for sheet pan fajitas

I did all the prep for this meal during afternoon naps for my youngest kids. The DIY seasoning blend came together in seconds and added a lot of flavor.

DIY blend

The only other prep needed was slicing veggies and chicken. The recipe calls for three bell peppers of different colors — but I only received two in my delivery.

Once prep was done, all it took was tossing some foil on my sheet pan to make for easier cleanup later. After 20 minutes in the oven, dinner was on the table.

The fajitas were light and satisfying. My youngest really enjoyed the crunch of the peppers on her teething gums!

The author's baby eating

We had leftovers from this meal, which was a relief, because I had planned on reusing some of the components for a different meal later in the week.

Leftover fajitas

Monday was the first day of school. (Second grade, here we come!) In order to ensure things went as smoothly as possible, I pulled out the leftover Breakfast Pizza and quickly warmed it in the oven.

We are extremely fortunate in that school doesn't start super early — and we can actually walk to it! With a hands-off breakfast and good preparation, I was able to save plenty of time for the necessary "first day of school" photos. 😉

The author's family on the first day of school

Lunch for the little ones on Monday was quesadillas, black beans, fruit, and veggies.

Before my son got home from school, I wanted to prep dinner as much as I could. Again, I wanted a meal that was fast, required minimal work, and packed a punch of flavor. Grilled Chicken Kabobs was the perfect recipe to fit the bill.

Ingredients for kebabs

The chicken needed to marinate for a few hours, so I put that together and set everything in the fridge until it was closer to dinner time.

I also wanted to serve some fresh veggies with the meal, so I chopped a fast salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, salt, pepper, dill, and lemon juice.

A cucumber salad

After school, we did a quick afternoon snack of popcorn on the stove — with vinegar powder (a family favorite) sprinkled on top. My son loved watching the kernels pop!

Then it was back to dinner prep. The chicken was done marinating by this point, so I threaded it onto skewers and tossed them on the grill for a few minutes per side.

Skewered chicken

I also had leftover orzo remaining from our Meatball and Veggie Soup the other day, so I added a side of orzo.

My kids love oatmeal, but I wanted to switch things up a bit for Tuesday's breakfast. I made baked apple oatmeal instead.

My kids devoured this in minutes!

For lunch, I had to get creative. There were leftovers from the Chicken Kabobs, but not enough for everyone to have a full meal.

Leftover kebabs

I thought the result — a veggie-loaded orzo salad — was great!

For dinner on Tuesday, I took out the leftover peppers from fajita night and got to work making Black Lentil Enchiladas.

I got my lentils started on the stove right away since they needed to cook for 25 minutes. While those were on, I sautéed veggies and made sauce in the blender.

It never fails that the days I decide to cook red sauce are also the days I decide to wear white. So a little PSA to never underestimate the value of an apron!

The author with an apron on

The last steps before baking were to fill tortillas with lentil filling, pour over the sauce, and top with cheese. I baked this in the oven for about 30 minutes, and it was done!

Even though this dish turned out amazing, there is still a reality of the struggle of making homemade meals and managing all the kids.

Today, the reality was that my toddler gave herself some full-body ink while I was cooking. 🤷‍♀️

The author's toddler covered in ink

Wednesday was a back-to-basics breakfast. I knew I was making an egg dish for dinner, so I went with oatmeal for the morning.

Plated oatmeal

After breakfast and school drop-off, I headed out with the little ones for our morning outdoor time. We went out, and my daughter hit the BMX track!

The author's daughter riding a bike

After working up a strong appetite, we headed home, and I got working on lunch right away.

My kids requested quesadillas again, so we used up the final tortillas and created a "big board" lunch.

After lunch, I was away from the house for the rest of the afternoon at an appointment. I knew that dinner would be tricky because of this — so I made sure to account for this in my meal planning.

Before leaving, I took all my remaining fajita chicken and peppers and made a frittata. I didn't use a specific recipe for this, but you can get basic instructions here.

Ingredients for a frittata

I prepared everything in advance so that when I got home, I was able to just pop it in the oven for 25 minutes.

I served these with a side of dressed greens — and everyone liked how it turned out.

We also ended up with leftovers...*from* leftovers. 🍳

Leftover eggs

Thursday morning was (you guessed it!) leftovers: frittata and baked apple oatmeal.

After breakfast, we spent most of the morning exploring local planes, trains, and automobiles.

The author's daughter exploring a train

My daughter mentioned she wanted pizza for lunch — which made me remember the bit of saved dough from earlier in the week. I also had a few pieces of Canadian bacon left AND a pineapple I hadn't cut yet.

I didn't end up having enough dough for a full-sized pizza, but by adding on the additional ingredients, we had enough for a light lunch!

Cooked pizza

I wanted to follow up the pizza with a nutritious snack: Green Julius Smoothies. This was also a great way to use up my leftover spinach that was now looking pretty sad and wilty.

As soon as school was out, I got this ready so it was fresh — and the kids loved it. My son was a little skeptical because it was green, but as soon as he tasted it, he thought it tasted "just like bananas."

For dinner, I pulled out all my ingredients and started working on Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole — a dish that I was admittedly a bit nervous about, but still wanted to try.

Ingredients for tuna casserole

I sautéed mushrooms and onions and boiled the noodles. Then I made the sauce, added the peas, and put it all in a baking dish.

Just before putting the casserole into the oven, I made a quick bread-crumb topping with bread crumbs and butter.

Although the recipe just called for 10 ounces of pasta and 1 cup of frozen peas, I tossed in the entire box and bag of pasta/peas. That way, I could use up everything — and have more leftovers for later in the week.

Leftover tuna casserole

Friday in our house is all about clearing out the fridge. Plus, by the end of the week, I'm normally ready for a break from cooking. That meant breakfast was oatmeal again.

The author's baby eating oatmeal

While I was getting breakfast prepared, I also batch-boiled one of my kids' favorite staples: hard-boiled eggs.

Hardboiled eggs in a pot

Lunch was hard-boiled eggs, fruit, and veggies.

We spent time playing outside in the backyard for the rest of the school day.

The author's kids in their backyard

Friday's dinner was simple: reheated Black Lentil Enchiladas.

Leftover enchiladas

Saturday morning was hard-boiled eggs and bananas for breakfast. For lunch, the remaining Tuna Noodle Casserole and pineapple.

Leftover casserole; leftover pineapple.

Come late Saturday morning, I started looking up recipe ideas for the week ahead — and the planning process started all over!

As mentioned before, I understand plans like this won't work for every family. Some families may require a larger budget, have bigger mouths to feed, or have more allergies to consider. I also acknowledge that I'm fortunate to be able to be home to plan, prep, and cook. Still, I hope that sharing my family's approach is helpful in some way!

If you're looking for more inspiration, feel free to check out my previous weekly meal plan posts here, here, and here. You can also follow me on Instagram at @sydneyinsuburbia!

How does your household approach groceries or meal planning each week? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.