Can anyone help me figure out how to eat right and lose weight on a very small food budget. Can only seem to aford what I'm not supsto eat. Only get 500 a month for food and that to feed me my 9 yr old daughter and my 20 yr old son. Plz any suggestions?
Yes, unhealthy stuff is cheaper. It just isn't right.
If there is a food bank, Salvation Army chapter, Catholic Charities or similar in your area, they may be able to supplement your budget with groceries your children can eat (and maybe some you can eat as well). In my experience, you don't have to fill out a whole lot of paperwork or provide proof of income before you can get help from those agencies.
Discount supermarkets in your area may also help stretch the budget. Grocery Outlet is great, and they have stores in Medford and Grants Pass.
I agree with the meat on sale. There can be tremendous values on soon-to-expire meat that you can throw in your freezer. This can be stretched with carbs for your kids. Big bags of frozen veggies can be less expensive than fresh and there's no waste - you just cook what you are going to eat. Eggs are cheap. Avocados are not cheap but are filling with healthy oil. Often it's what I have for breakfast and for $1 keeps me satisfied until (or past!) lunch. Peanut butter gives a lot of bang for the buck.
The thing about cheap food is that it is mostly carbs and while there is volume, it isn't filling like fats. For me at least, I ate a lot more when I was eating carbs than now I do eating fats, so my overall food budget has not actually increased.
Definitely buy on sale & buy things you can make do for several meals. I'm in the same boat as you & must watch so carefully to not waste money OR food. So whatever meat I can get for under $2/lb., that's what we eat. The other day I was in Kroger, and they had a manager special running on ground chuck for $1.90/lb. I walked outta there with three family packs - about 10 pounds - because I haven't seen it under about $2.75 in months! Granted, I have to parcel it out into pound packages to put in the freezer, but the price makes it worth the effort. If I can get chuck roasts on sale, they're wonderful for pot roast, bbq beef, roast beef hash . . . and if rump roasts ever go on sale, here is the perfect trick for those. I always check for any packages of anything that's reduced.
Whole chickens are another good buy when they go on sale - I had room in the freezer for three of 'em the last time they were marked $1.49/lb. Roasting a whole chicken is one of the easiest meals in the world. We get a coupla meals from a 5-pounder, and then I can cook the bones & make soup or soup base to go back in the freezer for a third meal on a "soup" day. Chicken thighs & chicken wings often are marked around $1.49/lb & they cook up nice too - I make hot wings (no breading - just hot sauce) & for the thighs I just fry like regular fried chicken using Brandi's breading (equal parts gluten flour, almond flour & grated parmesan cheese).
Check our recipes board for a coupla recipes using country-style boneless pork ribs . . . these I can find for $1.59/lb. quite often & they make a fantastic meal. I try to get several pkgs for the freezer when they go on sale.
Does your 20 year old son work, if not can he get a part time job to help you with food costs. All my kids were expected to work starting in high school and through college. There are lots of ways to stretch a dollar. First stop buying any processed boxed or bagged foods. Check the sale flyers online at all the grocery stores around you and make your list. At our local store we often have
BOGO sales ( Buy One get one free) This is when I get most of my meat and freeze the extra. I buy ground beef in bulk and form it into my own burgers and wrap and freeze. Make your own soups. You can buy one chicken and roast it for a couple of meals and then make soup with the bones for another couple of meals. Shop fresh veggies and fruits on sale. I also make all my own snacks including crackers. By not buying junk food I can afford a few specialty flours to make cookies and crackers. Also don't buy any sodas or bottled juices. Make your own iced tea and sweeten with any choice of alternate sweetner. Buy milk for the kids. Stews are another good cheap meal. If you have a crock pot you can buy cheaper cuts of meat because they cook all day and become very tender. You can also do several meatles meals a week. If you buy dried beans and cook them yourself, it is much cheaper. You then can use the beans to make soups, chillies or beans and sausage casseroles. Also instead of buying pancake and cake mixes make your own mixes with healthier ingredients. If you are cooking a big casserole make double and freeze in smaller sizes for several meals. My mom grew up in the Depression and I still have her cookbook when she first got married during WW II. Since they couldn't get a lot of ingredients they got very creative.