That's what the USDA says my family should expect to spend each month for healthy meals. That's the "Thrifty Plan" not the "Low-Cost" or "Moderate-Cost." If I spend almost $500 in one month on food, I think I'd have a heart attack! No really. We do go over our $250 a month food budget quite often, but not that much! I realize that this figure includes 3 meals a day plus all snacks and all are prepared at home, but still! I make Dana's lunches, and take leftovers for my own.
I guess that means we are on the "Super Thrifty Plan." I know we are not alone in our food budget. Maybe some of us should let the USDA know that they are a bit out of touch! I buy all our meat either discounted for quick sale, or at a really low price. I know what ground beef in our area should cost per pound on sale, so when it's right, I buy. I buy our milk discounted for quick sale (a pinch of salt helps keep the milk fresh longer) and with the $1.59 Fiesta Foods coupon which is about once a month. If I can't find either, we quite often go without milk for a few days to a week. The kids occasionally complain, but generally will be satisfied with something else to drink.
It's all about smart shopping, and I will tell you right now that I NEVER shop WalMart (to not mislead you, I did shop a few times over 3 years ago, but not since) and am still able to feed my family for $250-350 each month. I'd share with you a menu, but right now between me being out of town, the birthday party and the stomach bug this hasn't been a typical month. If you look at my recipes though, you will find some of my low-cost recipes (except Yaki-Niku).