One of the most common questions I get has to do with my breakfast and lunch plans. Since I only post my dinner plans, readers often wonder if I’m including breakfast and lunch expenses in my budget and they ask what we eat for those meals. I’ve responded to this question pretty often in the comments, but not everyone reads the comments and so the question keeps getting asked(which doesn’t really bother me…I love comments and emails, so keep ’em coming!). However, I thought it would make my life easier if I wrote a post about this, and then when someone asks, I can just link them to this post. I’ll also probably link to this post each week when I post my menu.
First, my grocery budget is all inclusive. The $80-$100 a week covers ALL the food that the six of us eat(breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages), and also our toiletries, paper products, and cleaning supplies. We hardly ever eat out(although my husband occasionally goes to lunch with co-workers), so I’m usually grocery shopping for 7 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
As for the second part of the question, I don’t generally plan our breakfast and lunches because they’re pretty predictable and also because I tend to decide at least some of them on the spur of the moment(for instance, at lunch I often scan the fridge for leftovers, and I can’t plan that sort of thing).
Breakfast is usually cold cereal for my husband. He eats before everyone else because he has to leave early for work, so I don’t really have time to cook anything for him. The kids and I also eat cold cereal(purchased on sale with coupons), but we also eat bagels(Panera donates day-old bread to my church), muffins, and hot cereals. Everyone but me usually drinks a small glass of orange juice with whatever we’re eating. And depending on the time of year, we have fruit at breakfast(this is more common in the summertime when I have melons and strawberries around more often).
Lunch for my husband is almost always leftovers. I’m so blessed to have a husband who happily eats leftovers…leftovers are about the cheapest lunch available, and eating them is a great way to avoid wasting food.
I don’t love to eat leftovers at lunch, but I do if it’s necessary. Depending on the type of leftover, the kids will sometimes eat leftovers at lunch as well. A normal lunch for them, though, consists of fruit and yogurt smoothies(made from homemade yogurt, frozen fruit, bananas, and sometimes spinach), and bread(usually leftover from the night before), topped with whatever they want(peanut butter, jam, honey, etc). If we eat yogurt in a bowl instead of in a smoothie, we will sometimes have fruit with lunch(the smoothies have fruit in them, so I don’t really feel it’s necessary to serve fruit in addition to those).
Oh, and at lunch the kids and I drink either yogurt smoothies or water, and in my husband’s lunch I usually pack a bottle of iced tea(which, of course, is poured from a gallon container in a single-serve Snapple bottle which we use over and over again. Individual bottles of iced tea are ridiculously expensive.).
So, that’s our very unexciting lunch and breakfast routine. Hopefully our breakfasts will get a little more interesting as I work on reducing our dependence on breakfast cereal. And who knows…I might find that I need to plan breakfast meals once I start to cook them more, so it’s possible that they will start showing up on my menu plans. For now, though, I’m likely going to stick with just planning my dinner meals. That’s just what works for me, though…iIf you find that it works better to plan your breakfasts and lunches along with your dinners, go for it.