As I mentioned earlier this month, May’s Champion for Kids SIMPLE service project asked you to take the Jennie-O Make the Switch Challenge! The challenge was to give up one unhealthy food or beverage and then use the money you save to make a healthy food donation for kids. I decided to switch up at least one meal a week and use the money we saved to make a donation to a student at my school so they would have enough money to eat breakfast or lunch through the end of the school year. I also planned to make a food donation to a local family in need.
A few weeks ago I tackled the issue of convenience and made a switch that saved my family money and calories! I switched from buying a premade frozen lasagna to making pasta using Jennie-O ground turkey. It was very simple and was a hit with my family! You can read all about my first switch in the Make the Switch challenge and see how I saved $6.42! You can also check out my entire shopping trip by visiting my Jennie-O Healthy Switch Challenge Google+ album!
This past week, I made a big decision because I knew it would save my family a considerable number of calories as well as a chunk of change! Instead of going out to eat like we usually do, I decided that we would stay in and I would make another meal that would also fulfill the cravings my family was having!
Swapping convenience for health and savings with the Jennie-O Make the Switch Challenge!
We have been using a lot of Jennie-O ground turkey over the past few weeks and I have fallen in love with the fact that it works as a great replacement for ground beef in everything I have made so far! My family has not complained about anything! The ground turkey is more affordable than the lean ground beef I used to by so it always saves me money!
This week, my family was craving Mexican food. Living in south Texas, we have a lot to choose from when we want to have Tex-Mex. I will tell you that feeding a family of five (especially now that W will sometimes eat almost an entire kids meal) at a restaurant can be an expensive endeavor! We try to limit eating out to once a week but I will admit that it usually happens at least twice on the weekends. I have learned which restaurants are more affordable but when it comes to Mexican, we usually end up at a sit-down restaurant spending at least $45 to feed us all. If you add sodas or iced tea to the meal, it can easily go right over a $50 total before tip! So this week when my family was mentioning nachos, I came up with a plan that I knew would cost a lot less and hopefully hit the Mexican spot!
My plan was to make a layered dip and serve it with chips because I was trying not to eat as many carbs this week. By making a dip, they could easily have a version of nachos and I could pass on the chips. We happened to have an unopened bag of chips in the pantry too which saved me even more money this week. We also grew a tomato in our own garden so I didn’t have to buy one to go with the dip. Here is my cost breakdown:
- Bag of tortilla chips (purchased earlier) – $1.99
- Can of no-fat refried beans – $.52
- Taco seasoning – $.34
- Bag of shredded lettuce (yes, I did go with some convenience) – $1.49
- Jennie-O ground turkey – $2.88
- Bag of shredded cheese (not pictured because I forgot it and J had to run to the store!) – $2.49
- Tomato (not pictured above) – free from our garden!
- Avocado (not pictured above) – $.98
This made the total cost for the entire meal $10.69! It makes enough food to feed everyone and we don’t have to pay extra for drinks at our own house! I figured that it’s a saving of $30 – $40 for my family of five! The dip was also so simple to make and was ready in less than thirty minutes (even with waiting for J to run down the street to pick up cheese).
All you have to do is brown the turkey while you preheat the oven. I added some chopped onion because we had an onion sitting in our refrigerator. I don’t usually add onion but it was tasty! This is when I realized I had somehow managed to forget shredded cheese and sent J on the grocery store run! By the time I was down browning and draining the meat, it had a few minutes to simmer in the taco seasoning before he got back with the cheese.
Once the turkey was finished I layered the beans, then the meat, and finally the cheese on top before putting it into the oven to bake and melt the cheese. If you’re interested in the full recipe, I will be posting it later this week and trust me it is so simple!
The finished meal was absolutely delicious! Everyone loved it and we have actually had it four or five times in the past two months. It is my aunt’s current favorite meal. I love how easy it is to prepare and when I use ground turkey, fat-free refried beans, reduced fat cheese, and baked chips I can make it a lot healthier than going out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant!
I estimate that I saved at least $30 and probably closer to $40 by swapping the convenience of going out to a restaurant for making a meal that would meet the cravings of my family. With the end of the school year approaching, that was too much money to leave sitting in a lunch account that wouldn’t get used until next fall.
So, I deposited the $6.42 that I saved by switching from the premade lasagna to pasta with meat sauce earlier in the month. I had been collecting some food items to donate to a local family to help them as school got out but then I thought about the fact that they may need more than just food and I don’t really know their food preferences. So I decided to put all of my savings (and a bit more) into something that they could use for food, to buy clothing, and to get anything that they might need this summer.
I decided to get a gift card that can be used almost anywhere so they could get what they needed for the summer. I know food is important but kids may also need new shoes or a new pair of shorts that fit them well to make great summer memories. I plan to present the gift card to the family I’ve chosen on the last day of school. We have class picnics that day and parents are welcome to come up and enjoy lunch with their child’s class. I am going to give the gift card to the parents and bring a little lunch treat for the student as well! Now I have one more reason to look forward to the last day of school!
You can follow #JennieoCFK on Twitter to learn how others are taking the challenge! You can also learn more by visiting the Champions for Kids Website, the Jennie-O Website, or checking out the Jennie-O CFK Project Card. You can also find Champions for Kids on Facebook and on Twitter @Champions4Kids.
Did you take the Champions for Kids Jennie-O Make the Switch Challenge? Tell me about what you gave up! How do give back to your community?
Formula Mom Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. All opinions and experiences are 100% my own. #JennieOCFK #CBias #SocialFabric