Meal Plan Monday: Spending Less to Eat More

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People always ask me what we eat; my answer is usually, “Real Food” or something similar depending on who is asking. I don’t have to read a long ingredient list because most of what we eat is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean plain.  I buy whole ingredients that fit into my budget, some weeks we spend more than others and I stock up when our favorites are discounted.

This weeks meal plan will focus on low-cost, high quality meals. Depending on where you live you may not have access to the same food at the same prices. Tomorrow I’ll talk  more about eating plant-based on a budget. All of the items I talk about today are regular ingredients that we keep on hand. If you are new to plant-based eating it may cost a little more while you stock your pantry. You don’t have to do this overnight; we slowly bought new things as our budget allowed.

Nutty Apple Cinnamon oatmeal

Meal Plan

Breakfast can be the least expensive meal of the day. Oatmeal is easy to prepare, but sometimes takes a little practice. Cook your oats and add your favorite toppings. I like ground flax, chia seeds, and dried cranberries or raisins. Homemade granola is another easy option especially when paired with fruit. Baked Sweet Potatoes with a little bit of cinnamon is a sweet yet filling breakfast. Check out this post for more Breakfast Ideas.

Veggie Stuffed Pita

Lunch is a great time for a really big salad. I like spinach, tomatoes, peppers, beans, onions, carrots, and whatever other veggies I have. I prefer to eat it in a wrap with hummus. Most days we eat leftovers for lunch; including my husband who always takes his lunch. Soups are one of my favorite’s for lunch; Slow Cooker Potato Soup, Taco Soup, or Minestone help me warm up and fill me with fuel. Soups can also be taken to work in a thermos and kept warm. Baked Potatoes are also inexpensive yet filling, especially when combined with steamed or raw broccoli, raw veggies or any of the other lunch items mentioned. We do have our fair share of sandwiches (me and the kids) but they aren’t as inexpensive or nutritious.

apple slices with almond butter

Snacks are a great way to add an extra serving of fruit or veggies to your day. Sliced apples dipped in nut butter or veggies dipped in hummus are a favorite with my boys. Sometimes I make green smoothies too. If you have an early lunch and late dinner you may need a more substantial snack. Homemade granola or granola bars are much less expensive than sore brought and can be customized to your preferences.

Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole

Dinner is typically the biggest meal of the day at our house. The other meals are reactions while dinner is (usually) planned. We’ve been adding more salads to our dinner. I also try to have beans or a bean dominate dish. Beans are cheap and versatile. This Mexican Casserole has received rave reviews from adults and kids and is made with pantry staples. This Broccoli and Brown Rice Casserole is also a crowd pleaser and made with fresh or frozen broccoli. Our teenage daughter requested this once a week for months. Bean Burgers, Lentil Tacos, or Quinoa Tacos are easily mixed and matched for extra meals and make a great topping on top of a Taco Salad.

You’ll notice that these recipes are gluten-free, unprocessed, inexpensive and easy. Tomorrow I’ll talk more about how to eat a plant-based diet while eating inexpensively.

What are you eating this week? Any My Plant-Based Family recipes?

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  1. Here are some ideas honey.

    Love you

    On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 12:33 PM, My Plant Based Family wrote:

    > ** > Holly @ My Plant-Based Family posted: “People always ask me what we > eat; my answer is usually, “Real Food” or something similar depending on > who is asking. I don’t have to read a long ingredient list because most of > what we eat is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean plain. I buy whole > ingre”

  2. Your lunch wraps look so fresh and good. And those apples! Yum 🙂

  3. I think the hardest thing about plant based eating is finding your favorite recipes. Once you learn what you like and, probably more important, what your family likes, it becomes the norm.

    For oatmeal, I’ve started mashing a banana with a little plant milk and soaking the oats for just a few minutes or nuke it for 20 sec, then add the toppings – blueberries & walnuts are my favorite. my kids like blueberries & strawberries.

    for my kids, lunch is as simple as whole grain bread with (one ingredient) peanut butter & bananas. or pb & chia seed jam (really simple no cook recipes on pinterest) with a side of fresh vegetable or fruit.

    Dinner is the hardest – stir fry can be easy with brown rice, frozen veggies and kale or spinach in a hot skillet.

    • You sound a lot like me. I like to keep it simple. I love your oatmeal ideas too! We are sandwiches more regularly before we realized my youngest son couldn’t have gluten/wheat. His bread is much more expensive. He also has a peanut allergy but thankfully he can eat almond butter.

What do YOU think?