Over the Summer, "All You" Magazine gave it's readers a challenge asking who could feed their families best on a limited budget. The winner of the contest was Sara Vanderzee of Grand Rapids Michigan.
When you watch Sarah in the kitchen today, it's hard to imagine that until recently this mother of 3 was a stranger to culinary creation.
"A year ago, I never cooked or baked and we ate out a LOT" said Sarah.
Those bad habits were adding up, not only that but the Calories, the sugar, and expecially the cost.
Sarah and her husband were $16,000 in debt and their $200 a week food budget wasn't helping matters.
Then she discovered the "All You" Magazine grocery challenge. Sarah's task: find ways to eat better while spending under $125 per week, almost overnight!
"I have a lot of fresh produce in here right now. That's the new norm." said Sarah, "It's like a challenge to see how cheap I can make something from scratch."
Instead of stopping in the cookie aisle, Sarah now buys fresh produce on sale.
Rather than eating out, she's dusted off her crock pot and bread-maker. She also found other ways to save.
Freezing fruits and vegetables for later use, searching online for recipes, instead of buying cookbooks, and when mixing a meal, she doubles the batch.
"To make this, to make this whole container, was probably less than two dollars. So yeah, very, very cheap."
During the challege, Sarah spent just $60 a week, less than half her budget and a third of what she used to spend.
While the Vanderzee family certainly welcomes the $1,000 prize, their real reward is a more beneficial way of eating.
"It took me a while to get here, but I'm finally starting to realize that cooking and baking from scratch, it saves a lot of money but is definitely offering healthier choices, too." said Sarah.