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Rose McAvoy | rose@halfhersize.com
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 10:57 a.m.

Can a family eat thrifty AND healthy? Let's find out

I am so excited to finally share this project with you!

The MyPlate on My Budget Project was conceived by fellow blogger Jenny Bardsley of Teaching My Baby to Read. Throughout the month of March, Jenny and I will be taking a closer look at the expense and value of the food we feed our families.

Jenny's MyPlate on My Budget posts will document her personal challenge to spend only the USDA's "Thrifty" food budget for the month while feeding her family according to their MyPlate daily nutritional guidelines. I am very excited to see what challenges arise from sticking to these very specific and potentially opposing perimeters.

While Jenny does the heavy lifting, as far as math is concerned, I will be chiming in with budget-friendly healthy recipes and my tricks for reducing grocery bills. I don't know what is going to happen between now and the end of the month. I do predict a few emotional responses by various participants faced with stretching their comfort zones!

In addition to reading our March blog posts, you can see our growing collection of recipes and budgeting ideas on Pinterest. Follow the MyPlate on My Budget board to keep up with the latest additions to the collection.

AND if you are a blogger who has done a similar project or written a relevant post, please let us know. Send me your name, blog name, and a link to the post or posts you have written on this subject.

Now, without further adieu, here is Jenny's official introduction to the project:

Admittedly, I'm obsessed.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was at Trader Joe's. I was just there to pick up "a few things". When I got to the register, the total came to $67!

As I was driving home I kept thinking about how lucky I was to be able to afford a spontaneous grocery store trip like that. I also started wondering what items I would have put back, if I had been on a tighter budget.

Just to be clear, it wasn't like I was buying steak and champagne.

Milk, string cheese, coffee, eggs, a bag of apples, a few loaves of bread... It all starts to add up, especially if you buy organic.

That's how my obsession started.

Food...money...privilege...deprivation...nutrition...weight...poverty... I can't stop thinking about all of those big questions.

When I got home I started exploring the USDA website for Cost of Food at Home. Our family falls somewhere between the "Moderate and Liberal" end of the spectrum.

What shocked me?

The "Thrifty" budget would only allocate my family $144.80 cents a week!

Maybe you are a thrifty shopper already and are looking at that amount and thinking "Big deal, that's easy."

Here's the catch.

The USDA has this other website called Choose MyPlate.gov. They want people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables, consume three servings of dairy a day, choose meat less often, and eat fish twice a week.

Is that even possible? Food costs money. Veggies are expensive. Fresh fish that hasn't been shipped all the way to China and back, is pricey.

Could I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and meet the MyPlate requirements?

That's the question I'm going to answer this March with "MyPlate on My Budget".

Luckily, I'm not attempting this experiment without a lot of support. Rose McAvoy from Our Lady of Second Helpings is providing help, guidance, and yummy recipes.

March is going to be a major educational experience for my entire family.

We are going to learn about nutrition. We are going to find out where food comes from. We are going to experiment with new recipes.

There's going to be math and science and art and all sorts of things tied into this.

So stay tuned! In the meantime, you might want to check out the MyPlate on My Budget board that Rose and I are creating together on Pinterest.

Story tags » CookingPersonal FinanceNutrition

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