After the first real food meal plan for the broke went over so well, I had many requests to make this a regular series on the blog. While I probably won’t be able to do it every week because logistically it takes a long time to price shop my local stores, I would be happy to provide frugal meal plans once or twice a month.
About the Plan
This meal plan is meant to feed two adults and two children, 3 meals a day, 7 days a week for under $80. See the bottom of the post for ways that you could shave down the cost of this plan even a little more.
All ingredients are whole food real ingredients that are minimally processed. All animal products are organic, rBST-free, or pasture raised. Produce is not necessarily organic though. I find it very difficult to purchase all organic on this budget, but if you can afford it, by all means, buy organic. No this meal plan is not gluten free, although many items are naturally gluten free or could easily be adapted to be gluten free. Some of these recipes may not be suitable for your family, and that’s ok. This is meant to provide you with ideas and resources to help feed your family well on a budget. Take what you can use and leave the rest.
These are real prices that I found in my area in the Midwest. They may be different in your area, but I assure you that they are real prices that I gathered from shopping stores like Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Shop n Save, and Schnucks. In this plan I did not indicate where I got each item though. I have been told that many stores will price match the lowest price if you don’t like shopping multiple stores.
As always, this meal plan is meant for those who are struggling in the food budget department. Some people can not even afford this amount, so please do not comment with negative comments about not using all organic or more expensive “healthier” items. This is a place of grace. Do the best you can and don’t feel bad or guilty about the rest.
More frugal meal plans
- toast- Here is my soaked whole wheat bread recipe.
- oatmeal- rolled oats, double the amount of water, simmer and season with a little butter and organic sugar
- rice pudding– omit raisins
- breakfast burritos- leftover homemade tortillas, scrambled eggs, cheese, any leftover spanish rice or avocado
Lunch Options, snacks and additional food if still hungry:
- leftovers when available
- mashed potato cakes from leftover potatoes (omit green onions and cook in butter or bacon grease)
- grilled cheese sandwiches
- celery sticks
- carrot sticks
- bread and butter
- banana muffins
- oat crackers
- Baked potatoes or oven fries topped with leftover chili, roasted broccoli
- Whole roasted chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans (steam for several minutes and then saute in butter until done)
Eat half of the chicken, de-bone and divide the other half into two portions and reserve for later in the week. Also save the carcass.
- Poor man’s chicken noodle soup (omit bay leaves) using the carcass from the whole chicken.
Put the carcass back in the crockpot for perpetual broth for later in the week. Yes the bones can be used multiple times.
- Chicken quesadillas with avocado and Spanish rice (Saute leftover chicken in a pan with butter, chili powder, cumin, salt, and onion. Make homemade tortillas and fill half of a tortilla with a small amount of chicken mixture and shredded cheese. Fold over and brown in a skillet until cheese is melted.)
- Chicken and rice using leftover veg that didn’t get used.
The Shopping List
|seasonal fruit||3.00||whole wheat flour||2.99/5lb.|
|garlic||.79||dry red beans||1.79/2lbs|
|potatoes||3.99/5lbs||diced canned tomatoes (2)||3.00|
|whole chicken, organic free range||12.00||oats||3.99/2lbs|
|ground beef, grass fed||3.50/1lb||yeast||2.00|
*The total will be much less if you already have pantry staples like spices, rice, oats, baking powder, flour, etc. from past weeks. It is wise to keep these stocked at all times. Instead of buying them all at once, it helps to restock 1-2 items every week. This keeps the weekly shopping cost down. If you have many of these pantry items and still have money to spend, you could add some spinach to add to your eggs and a bit more fruit.
**If you need to shave this down a little more or if you live in a higher cost of living area, you could buy a half gallon of milk, buy a less expensive whole chicken instead of an organic chicken, and less expensive conventional eggs. If you are still struggling, you could seek assistance at a local food pantry for dry goods like oats, rice, beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, and macaroni. Growing your own produce is also another option if you have access to any land or pots.
Blessings to you, my friends. Eat well, stress free.
I’d love to teach you how to make your own frugal meal plans so that you can start chopping away at your food budget while still feeding your family healthy food. I wrote a resource for you, Eat Well Spend Less to do just that. Filled with tons of strategies to lower your grocery bill, as well as how to evaluate your current spending and creating a workable budget, I will walk you through how to put it all together and create frugal meal plans on your own every single week. Learn more or purchase by clicking on the image below.
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