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    Old Style vs the USDA head-to-head challenge...
    • #1
    • 29th Mar 08, 1:52 PM
    Old Style vs the USDA head-to-head challenge... 29th Mar 08 at 1:52 PM
    I’ve been reading with interest about how the US gov't ensures every family has healthy food to eat, it’s sparked an idea which I think will motivate me to make my grocery challenge uber healthy.
    I thought I’d have a go at blogging about it, and others can join me too.

    The US system is as follows: the US Dept for Agriculture has a mandate to ensure that the poorest families eat healthily. Meal plans and recipes were developed by Pennsylvania University nutritionists, called the ‘Thrifty meal planner'.

    This is a diet based on allocated ‘food stamps’ ensuring that if families eat this way, their diet will still be healthy. More here:

    So what’s this got to do with me? Since tightening my Grocery Challenge, my friends in real life have shown alarm at what I’ve been spending. Their key objection: the ‘5 a day’, are me and Mr W getting enough?(fruit and veg!)

    The icing on the cake came when mum sent vitamins through the post.:rolleyes:

    So, I thought I’d look @ what the ‘thrifty food planner’ gives to a couple our age in food stamps. As 33 yr old male, and 34 yr old female, we'd get $71.60 per week, if on the poverty line.
    So then I converted this to pounds sterling, this makes £35.80 per week.

    For April to June, I have set myself a budget of £40 a month for the two of us. The USDA would give us the equivalent of £155.18, to make sure we were adequately vitamined! Oh dear, I seem to be doing it on a quarter of that! Am I sending Mr Weezl to an early grave?

    But I think it can be done. And I thought I’d diary it so you can see how I get on.

    So what are the rules? Well the USDA say that the healthy American should:

    ‘Choose most of your foods from the grain products group, vegetable group, and fruit group. Eat moderate amounts of foods from the milk group (2–3 servings) and the meat and beans group (2–3 servings)

    I shall try to adhere to these guidelines whilst keeping to my budget as much as possible. I will be doing this as old-style as poss. Batch cooking from scratch will be my method.

    So here I go! It’s me versus the USDA and the University of Pennsylvania. Ding Ding! Seconds away…
    Anyone else wanna play?

    Weezl x

    click here for thoughts about the different nutrients


    recipes for foragers, elderflowers, knotweed, nettles and dandelions

    puddings, especially good for fattening up skinny acetate monkeys:

    preserves, chutneys, relishes and Jam

    What to do with a glut of tomatoes, a challenge!

    breads, bagels, baps, and baguettes

    frugal pates and sandwich fillers


    evening meals and light suppers

    something to drink?

    a healthy snack

    hearty breakfast ideas

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    Last edited by weezl74; 08-07-2008 at 8:47 AM.
Page 16
  • weezl74

    Have you set youself a cost per meal or dish (sorry if you already posted)

    Have you tried red lentil bolognese??

    Also in a previous recipe you used canned spinach wouldn't frozen be cheaper??

    Shoulder/neck feeling better everday but not able to lift so no work for another week ........................shame!

    Originally posted by shaz_mum_of _2
    Hi Shaz,

    I don't really break it down into price per meal but it's 64p each a day, if that helps?

    hi cheerfulness, zinc's a good idea, I'll do that next...

    Weezl x

    Jonathan 'Fergie' Fergus William, born 05/03/09, 7lb 4.4oz
    Benjamin 'Kezzie' Kester Jacob, born 18/03/10, 7lb 5oz
    cash neutral gifts 2011, value of purchased gifts/actual paid/amount earnt to cover it £67/£3.60/£0
    january grocery challenge, feed 4 of us for £40
    • Sallygirl
    • By Sallygirl 1st May 08, 3:59 PM
    • 95 Posts
    • 329 Thanks
    weezl - I just wanted to say thanks for all the effort you are putting in with lists and recipes for us all. We really appreciate all your work and personally, I'm finding it really helpful.

  • In Search Of Me
    Evening all! Just back from worm and about to make the pate!! Only managed to get fresh ones but tesco have an offer for 2 for 1.50 at the mo for those who may be interested!! May freeze nicer than preprozen but will go & have a look on website for frozen to check weights arent too different! Will also sign up for the GB for this month! Need to have a think about what I an live on between now & pay day (20th!) because want it to be a challenge without starving IYKWIM!
    Nerd no 109 Long haulers supporters DFW #1! Even in the darkest moments, love and hope are always possible.

    • shaz_mum_of _2
    • By shaz_mum_of _2 1st May 08, 6:10 PM
    • 2,014 Posts
    • 15,314 Thanks
    shaz_mum_of _2
    wow 64p isn't a lot at all you are doing fabulously we are all proud of you ,thanks for sharing all the plans and recipes

  • In Search Of Me
    Well I'm back, have made the pate & it tastes deeelicious! But...I did forget that I cant stand the touch of liver so cookig/chopping was interesting!! There was slightly more than the frozen packs so little puss cats have benfitted! I chcked in a bit of brandy & some mixed herbs while it was whizzing & its great! Loads there so will freeze a load, give a pressie to a friend who I know will love it & keep some for the weekend! Thanks weezl for inspiring me to do sommat I would never have thought of making & once tastes pepys I can confirm that you'll never buy it again but bottoms may expand as there is LOADS of butter in it!! Dont forget I have marmalade for you weezle if you would like it we could arrange a pick up at a neutral venue!
    Nerd no 109 Long haulers supporters DFW #1! Even in the darkest moments, love and hope are always possible.

  • weezl74
    awww insearch of me, that is sooooo kind of you! But since I know you can flog them at work for £1.50, I'd feel awful acceptin your lovely offer! Really glad the pate worked well for you, It's lovely isn't it? My mum used to give them away as christmas gifts with a sort of fruity glaze in crockery pots, brown earthenware ones I think. Might be a thought for this years hamper challenge...

    Still doing my research on zinc peeps...

    Back soon,

    Weezl x

    Jonathan 'Fergie' Fergus William, born 05/03/09, 7lb 4.4oz
    Benjamin 'Kezzie' Kester Jacob, born 18/03/10, 7lb 5oz
    cash neutral gifts 2011, value of purchased gifts/actual paid/amount earnt to cover it £67/£3.60/£0
    january grocery challenge, feed 4 of us for £40
  • weezl74
    Helloo again lovelies...

    A couple of interesting reads on zinc, here and here

    Still I'm troubled by how the internet journalism is inundated with calorie values, but nothing about all the things that keep us alive... Since when is 'fatness' the only risk to health in the UK?!

    Bad news for veggies (poor ceridwen and candygirl, and Mr. Bails): The downside of taking these high zinc foods is that no matter how much of them you take in, only a mere 15%-40% of the zinc actually gets absorbed by your body overall. This is especially true for non-meat zinc food sources. Dietary fibers and phytic acid in your brain prevents the absorption of zinc in your body. Phytic acid found in your brain forms a complex with the zinc that you take in, and this compound is insoluble so that it cannot be absorbed readily by your body. Whole grains are a better source of zinc than refined grains as they have the ability to produce enzymes that can destroy phytic acid. On the other hand, the zinc you get from eating meat is four times more bio-available than in grain foods.
    This is also useful, showing both liver (good news for shaz and insearchofme there with that yummy pate!) and spinach as very good sources. Donít worry about the butter content, just say to yourself, Ďitís for my essential mineral intake!)

    Women need 7mg daily, men need 9.5 mg

    How are me and Mr. Weezl managing this on a typical day?

    1.36g zinc in our eveningís rice
    6 slices bread is 4.5 mg zinc
    75g raw weight lentils in a dahl would provide 3 more or
    Chickpea curry gives about the same
    A cup of milk in tea and coffees finishes the job off nicely at another miligram of zinc, thatís Mr Weezl all full up of lovely zinc.

    Days when we have meat, liver pate or spinach in saag bhajee itís even better!

    Bails where did you find that nutritional profile of nettles? :confused:Iím wondering if they are high in zinc, as they are so similar to spinach in flavourÖ

    Just testing out my '4 bean salad' recipe amounts, and the caramelised onion tarts with walnutty pastryÖ.

    Itís lovely to get all the support and encouragement. Isnít MSE so much nicer than real life?!
    Weezl x

    Jonathan 'Fergie' Fergus William, born 05/03/09, 7lb 4.4oz
    Benjamin 'Kezzie' Kester Jacob, born 18/03/10, 7lb 5oz
    cash neutral gifts 2011, value of purchased gifts/actual paid/amount earnt to cover it £67/£3.60/£0
    january grocery challenge, feed 4 of us for £40
    • funkyfunkymonkey
    • By funkyfunkymonkey 1st May 08, 7:48 PM
    • 2,724 Posts
    • 6,197 Thanks
    Hi Bails,

    all those natco things came from ASDA, that whole list did. Hope that helps!

    Weezl x
    Originally posted by weezl74
    I went to Tesco's tonight, they had quite a large natco range - I bought chickpeas to have a go at your houmous recipe. Thanks for all of the lists and recipes Weezl

    AMAZON SELLERS CLUB member 0077 come and join us make some space and get hold of some cash, we're on the ebay and other auctions, car boot and jumble sales board.
  • bails
    Hi Weezl, here's where I read some of the nettle info, will try and find some more x
    The 1,000 Day Challenge:
    Feb 16, 2016

    • cheerfulness4
    • By cheerfulness4 2nd May 08, 5:47 AM
    • 2,823 Posts
    • 25,381 Thanks
    Thanks for the great info on zinc weezl Will have to put my thinking cap on to make sure that Mr Cheerfulness gets his full quota.

    Must try this nettle soup, too. Thanks for the link Bails. Quite excited about cooking something so unusual to us. :rolleyes:

    Have bought the ingredients last night to make the liver pate, so that will keep me busy on Monday (off out all weekend). The hummus recipe was a great success and I loved the flavour even more after freezing.
    Can't believe how much money this is saving us.
    • shaz_mum_of _2
    • By shaz_mum_of _2 2nd May 08, 7:49 AM
    • 2,014 Posts
    • 15,314 Thanks
    shaz_mum_of _2
    Hi Weezl

    thought you might like my lemon cake recipe not sure of the costings now as but originally about 54p if you use smartprice lemon curd and value eggs(i use free range) makes about 8-10 slices in a 2lb loaf tin

    It freezes well ,i slice and freeze on a tray then pop into a bag then remove a slice at a time and put in the family's packed lunch (still frozen keeps everything else cool and defrosts in time for lunch,i do this with juice cartons in the summer too home made mini ice packs that you can drink)


    100g margarine
    75g caster sugar
    2 eggs
    175g self-raising flour
    ½- 1 jar lemon curd


    1. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Grease /line a 2lb loaf tin

    2. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together for about 5 minutes

    3. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin level the top.

    4. Bake for approximately 40 minutes until browned.

    don't know if 5p a slice is within your budget also have a fruit cake similair price let me know if you want it and will post it

    Last edited by shaz_mum_of _2; 02-05-2008 at 7:52 AM.
  • poodlehorse
    hi folks! Yes OAMC is once a month cooking and back when I was working FT and paying off debts I employed this method a bit. Now that I am a SAHM I still do a bit of cooking for the freezer but not half as much as I have more time to cook every night but then again I am losing out on the savings to be made from cooking 6 lasagnes at once etc. And I am also missing out on the savings of buying in bulk from the wholesaler, but we do now live a lot further away from one so it is harder to go now as it would be an hour to get there, but that is an excuse I grant you.

    Red lentil bolognese - fabulous. I have been making this for nearly 20 years and I love it, DH unfortunately isn't keen on lentils other than in soup so it has slid off my menus over the years but DH is away for a month so I can make a big batch and freeze some. I always felt it was one of those meals that made you feel healthy when you ate it, filling but doesn't make you feel sluggish (like meat does for me, I am becoming more and more convinced that my body does not like meat much, fish yes but meat no). I am going to make that tonight I think, I am salivating already. Hope I have wholemeal pasta as it is best with that I think. I remember when I was in my early twenties I had a really grim year and my staples were lentils, homegrown potatoes and shallots. What I couldn't do with those three ingredients wasn't worth knowing at the time! I need to refind it. AND I was 3 stone lighter then. I need to write down what I used to eat in those days and use that as my menu plan.
    Grocery challenge - you are quite right I need to join. I think I am too ashamed to admit that I just spent in one shop for one week what Weezl could live off for 6 . But we do have an extra mouth to feed but then again since he barely eats that should be costing me . The other problem is no month is quite the same round here as DH works away from home for weeks at a time. But I guess the point is the challenge is individual and I set it so I really need to pull the finger out and just do it and stop making excuses/moaning . If anyone wants my lentil bolognese "recipe" then give me a shout and I will post it.
  • bails
    Ooh yes please to the lentil bolognaise please Poodlehorse! And any tips you can remember from your potato, lentil and shallots days
    The 1,000 Day Challenge:
    Feb 16, 2016

    • debbym
    • By debbym 2nd May 08, 9:25 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 2,747 Thanks
    Hi Weezl, don't know if anyone has suggested this already but how about sprouting the beans and pulses you have been buying - this increases the nutrients available e.g the vitamin C content goes up by something like 500% 2-3 days after germination. The only beans you shouldn't use are red kidney beans as they are poisonous but since bean sprouts are only sprouted mung beans with the seed hulls removed why not?
  • weezl74
    a fab idea debbym, I shall!

    Weezl x

    Jonathan 'Fergie' Fergus William, born 05/03/09, 7lb 4.4oz
    Benjamin 'Kezzie' Kester Jacob, born 18/03/10, 7lb 5oz
    cash neutral gifts 2011, value of purchased gifts/actual paid/amount earnt to cover it £67/£3.60/£0
    january grocery challenge, feed 4 of us for £40
  • poodlehorse
    Right here goes, I never quite bother sticking to recipes that much but this is the original and I have added my modifications in green

    Spaghetti with Lentil Bolognese Sauce X4

    8-12 oz spaghetti (works well with wholemeal)
    Ĺ oz butter (I don't use as it is meant to be to toss the pasta in ??)
    freshly ground pepper
    8oz cooked lentils recipe said green but I use red and I just sort of guess how many
    2 onions, chopped
    2 tbs oil
    2 garlic cloves
    2 celery sticks, chopped DH doesn't like so I usually omit these days
    2 carrots, finely diced
    2 tbs tomato puree I tend to just whack a tin of chopped tomatoes in
    salt and pepper
    grated parmesan
    I like some chopped red peppers in there and maybe some mushrooms, whatever is kicking about the bottom of the fridge really.
    Dash of Lea and Perrins - everything needs that right?

    Prepare sauce: drain lentils, keeping liquid. Fry onions in oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, celery and carrots. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, until tender. Stir in the lentils, tomato puree, seasoning and a little of the reserved liquid to make a thick, soft consistency(a bit faffy hence I jsut add in the tin of tomatoes). Simmer for about 10 minutes, adding more liquid of necessary. Half fill a large saucepan with water, add a teaspoonful of salt and bring to the boil. Add spaghetti and simmer for about 10 minutes, until just tender. Drain the spaghettu, then return to the saucepan with the butter and pepper (ok have never donet he butter and pepper thing). then turn spaghetti out onto a hot serving dish and pour the sauce on top. Serve with parmesan on top.
  • poodlehorse
    HEre is another one and I think it can be seen that I basically merged the two recipes to get my one but thought it useful for you to see the originals.

    Pasta with Red Lentil and Tomato Sauce

    8-12oz of pasta shells
    Ĺ ozbutter
    1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    2 tbs oil
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    Ĺ tsp cinnamon
    8 oz red lentils, washed
    14oz can tomatoes
    ĺ pt water seasoning

    Fry onions in oil until soft, add garlic, cinnamon, lentils, tomatoes and water and bring to boil . Simmer for 20 mins until lentils tender. Season. Cook pasta. Serve sauce on top of pasta and top with grated cheese.
  • poodlehorse
    And here are the instructions my mum gave me many moons ago about how to make her lentil soup:

    Mamís Lentil soup

    4-5 oz lentils, washed thoroughly
    2 beef stock cubes in 1pt boiling water
    Place stock in pan add lentils. Add onion chopped. Then add 2-3 carrots and some swede. Always make sure there is more carrot than swede or it will be bitter. Boil then simmer for 1-1 Ĺ hours adding more water as needed. Mash the veg down or liquidise. Season.

    Mamís Pea Soup

    As above but split peas instead of lentils and use ham stock.

    I have added a tin of tomatoes to the lentil before now and maybe spiced it up a bit with some chilli powder, anything to ring the changes and make lentils seem new again LOL. Nowadays I would use a ham hock for my pea soup and add the meat off it to the soup yum and a bit of boiling beef for my lentil if I have a bit of rib in but you don't always have time for all that nonsense.
  • Marru
    Hi ceridwen, I'm not really a Monday we'll have this, tuesday t'other kind of planner, but here's some ideas of what I do with my budget, I've included costings where I've worked them out already:
    Originally posted by weezl74


    I have been lurking here for awhile. Would you please have a food planner for veggies? I know you have suggestions with the shopping list but something like the one you had in your post 115 would be fantastic!!! Sorry if you have already posted it as I have only managed to scan some of the pages (this thread is moving so fast .

    Thank you so much,

    "Everything will be alright in the end. If it's not alright, it's not the end."

  • poodlehorse
    And because we have marmalade makers in our midst I thought you might be interested in this, courtesy of my MIL:

    Marmalade Gingerbread

    Butter a 2lb loaf tin or a round cake tin 8-9 inches diameter, and base line each with paper Ė

    8 oz butter
    8oz maramalade
    8oz soft brown sugar
    12oz SR flour
    1 rounded tbs cinnamon and 2 tsp ground ginger
    2 large eggs, beaten
    4oz raisins and 6-8 bits of ginger, chopped (optional)
    Ĺ pt milk and 2 level tsp bicarb of soda

    Warm together the milk and soda and set aside. Melt together the butter, marmalade and soft brown sugar. Sieve together the flour, ginger and cinnamon and mix into the melted butter misture together with the beaten eggs, missing well. Mix in the warm milk and bicarb of soda, beating all really well together. Stir in the raisins and chopped ginger, pour into the prepared tin and bake in an oven 310F (Gas 2 Ĺ ) for 1 Ĺ hours. Cool in the tin. When quite cold turn out of the tin and store in an airtight tin.
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