$49 Challenge- Day 1 & Cooking Oils

Today is my first day of creating healthy meals on $7/day (or $49 for the week). Here’s a breakdown of what I ate today. Pardon the crappy cellphone pics. When I’m a rich and famous nutrition/food blogger with a NYT’s bestselling cookbook I’ll buy a camera. Until then…

eggs and mushrooms

Breakfast: Scrambled egg with spinach and mushrooms cooked in ghee, and seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Lunch: Stir fry (made last night) with beef and veggies- onions, radishes, asparagus green onion, mushrooms. All cooked in coconut oil and topped with red chili flakes, sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Dinner: roasted spaghetti squash, sausage, asparagus, onion, and spices. (Sorry there’s no picture of this…I made it while I was on a conference call for school. It looked so great, I couldn’t wait around to take a picture. It was deeeeelicious!)

Snack: handful of pumpkin seeds (oh, I bought pumpkin seeds, spaghetti squash and a roast today)

You’ll notice there are some items I didn’t include in the $49, mainly cooking oils and spices. Some may say this is cheating…I say tough noogies to them!

stir fry

Seriously though, I only included things that one would buy every week, like meats and produce. While things like cooking oils may be a larger cost up front, they will generally last a few weeks or months depending on how often you use them.

Here is my list of preferred oils for cooking:

  • Coconut Oil- Oh, coconut oil, is there anything you can’t do? Seriously…put it on your skin, your hair, in your food…Heck, you can even just eat it by the spoonful! I usually buy this kind.

  • Grass-fed butter- Butter = awesome happiness 🙂 I’m talking real butter…not margarine or fake “buttery” spread. Other than being delicious, butter is a great source of fat soluble vitamins, dietary cholesterol , oh yeah…and it’s delicious. I usually buy Kerrygold grass-fed. If you are sensitive to dairy, ghee is a great alternative. Just be sure that the ingredients don’t include any hydrogenated anythings.

  • Other animal fats (duck, lamb, lard, tallow) preferably from organic, pastured sources

These fats are great for cooking because they are saturated and heat stable. Fats that are poly- or monounsaturated are more fragile and are easily damaged during cooking. Olive oil can be used for a quick saute, but I find it best added to the dish after it’s been cooked or on top of a salad.

Diane Sanfilipo has a great guide on her website for fats and oils.

I was going to try and calculate the cost of today’s meals. If I get very inspired to do math tonight I’ll give it a whirl. No promises.


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