Following along with Plant Based On A Budget’s $25 Challenge, I decided to create my own. Using all my own recipes found here. Super simple, cheap and easy! Hope you enjoy this plan and if you’re interested in another leave me a comment 😀
Weekly Meal Plan – For One
Banana Muffins // Banana Oatmeal (10 meals)
Tomato Soup (7+ meals)
Spaghetti Squash w/ Tomato Sauce & Beanballs (2 meals)
Zucchini Pasta w/ Tomato Sauce & Beanballs (3 meals)
Rice Stir-Fry (7+ meals)
Mashed/Baked Potatoes (sides)
Fruit (7 snacks or less)
Carrot/Potato Fries (7 snacks or less)
Banana Muffins (Yields 14-16): 3 bananas, 2 cups oat flour, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda.
Banana Oatmeal (Yields 5-6 cups): 3 cups oats, 3 cups almond milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp sugar, half banana sliced on top.
Bean Balls (Yields 19-20): 1 can black beans, 1 cup oat flour, 1 cup oats, 1/4 cup diced onion, 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp paprika, garlic and onion powder.
Tomato Soup (Yields half a gallon – 8+ cups) of soup: 7 tomatoes, 3 cups water, oil, 3 carrots, 1/2 onion, 1 bell pepper.
Spaghetti Squash (2 meals): 1/2 squash per meal with 3-4 bean balls.
Zoodles (raw zucchini “pasta”)(Yields 3 meals): 6 zucchini (2 per meal), salt & pepper w/ tomato soup as sauce & 2-3 bean balls.
Rice Stir-Fry (Yields 4 larger portions): white/brown long grain rice, 3 potatoes, 3 carrots, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 a medium onion, oil.
Crispy Baked Fries: 3-4 potatoes, oil & seasonings.
Mashed Potatoes (Yields 3-4 cups): 3-4 potatoes, 1 tbsp. almond milk, salt & pepper.
Covering 1 week for 1 person
Monday | Breakfast: Banana Muffins – Lunch: Zoodles w/ Beanballs & Soup – Dinner: Rice Stir-Fry
Tuesday | Breakfast: Banana Oatmeal – Lunch: SS w/ Beanballs & Soup
– Dinner: Rice Stir-Fry
Wednesday | Breakfast: Banana Muffins – Lunch: Zoodles w/ Beanballs & Soup
– Dinner: Rice Stir-Fry
Thursday | Breakfast: Banana Oatmeal – Lunch: Tomato Soup w/ Mashed Potatoes – Dinner: Rice Stir-Fry
Friday | Breakfast: Banana Muffins – Lunch: Zoodles w/ Beanballs & Soup
– Dinner: Rice Stir-Fry
Saturday | Breakfast: Banana Oatmeal – Lunch: Tomato Soup w/ Baked Potato – Dinner: Rice Stir-Fry
Sunday | Breakfast: Banana Muffins – Lunch: SS w/ Beanballs & Soup
– Dinner: Rice Stir-Fry
Starting with breakfast, I went with an easy option for all the ladies and gentlemen with careers and/or busy moms and dads that have no time free time to really think about breakfast in the mornings. Muffins are a great option, you can make the batch ahead of time and just freeze them or store in an airtight container. Obviously not everyone wants to eat 2 muffins for breakfast everyday. I personally don’t care, for myself. So if that’s not for you, then following the same concept you can just make oatmeal, using all the same ingredients and top it off with the banana. If you go this route then you’d go through oats a lot faster, but you’d have more bananas leftover for snacks throughout the week. Or you can eat just a banana if breakfast isn’t really your thing.
Also, if you already have flour and/or sugar on hand then you don’t even need to buy as many oats. I simply used them in bulk because they were on sale and I ground them up to make an oat flour as a sub for regular flour in the muffins, they are also great for adding into other meals – like the bean balls! So that’s an easy budget cut if you have a variety of staples on hand. I just wanted to include a healthier alternative. But I think they do taste and in general come out a bit better as the original recipe, which can be found here. For this plan I cut flour and sugar though and added an extra banana. Feel free to follow either recipe you’d like/prefer.
For lunch I typically keep it light and somewhat raw if possible. I know not everyone will be interested in raw veggie “pasta” but you could instead modify the plan and omit all the zucchini purchased for actual pasta if that sounds better to you. I merely wanted a healthier/lighter option.
I just washed, cut the ends off each and ran two per meal through a spiralizer. If you don’t have one then you can use a mandolin – lengthwise, a vegetable peeler – lengthwise or just a knife – thinly sliced lengthwise. I’ve also used my julienne peeler for a more matchstick style/salad version.
Each “pasta” dish has 3-4 bean balls (1 batch yields 19) served on it and a few spoons of the tomato soup as sauce. I used the extra oats, lightly pulsed to substitute for the breadcrumbs the original recipe calls for. I served this up with a potato or cup of soup on the side (if I was really hungry).
Everything portioned out perfectly because some days I didn’t want any bean balls and I’d just have pasta with a cup of soup or I had a random combo of the 3. So yet again, lots of options for you to eat as you please with plenty of excess and moderate diversity.
Dinner is probably just as easy as the others. I made my rice (half of the total purchased, 1 pound) and just threw the extra in a bag in the fridge. Same goes for the veggies added. I very thinly sliced them using a mandolin and just cooked everything in a large pan on the stove till tender. Cutting it thinly cut down the cooking time significantly. I used my bag of white rice (1 pound) which portioned out at about 2 1/4 cups dried (roughly 4 cooked) and I cooked 3 potatoes, 3 carrots (half a 2 pound bag), 1/2 an onion and about 1-2 tbsp oil, finished off with a few spoons of tomato soup, salt & pepper. Which collectively made 4 meals for me.
Snacks really range on all the adjustments you decide to make. So for example, I used half of my carrots just on the soup and stir-fry alone. Leaving me with 1 bag (2 pounds – 6 carrots) to either cut up into sticks or make these amazingly delicious carrot fries – recipe here. I ate 2 carrots per snack, so going this route will only yield 3 snacks with the carrots leftover. Or you can just save them for more stir-fry since so much rice was purchased and left over.
Making only one batch of muffins (about 14-16 total) left me with 8 bananas left, I bought two bunches (14 total – 7 per bunch) so that’s basically a banana a day to snack on. Or you could easily make a second batch of muffins with the excess oats if you wish. Everything is super versatile, so you constantly have options to mix, match and change it up whenever.
Also with only using 3 potatoes in the stir-fry and 1 with each soup (if you do decide you want that) I had some left over. With the excess you can make fries, mashed potatoes as a side, hash browns for breakfast, more stir-fry or baked potatoes. Tons of options.
1 can of black beans (15 oz.), 7 tomatoes, 14 bananas (2 bunches), 1 spaghetti squash (not pictured), 6 zucchini, 2 pounds rolled or quick oats, 2 medium-large yellow onions, 1 bell pepper (not pictured), 4 pounds carrots (about 12 total), 2 pounds rice (half white & brown), 5 pounds Russet potatoes, carton of almond milk, water, oil & seasonings on hand.
Long-grain brown rice – 1 pound for $.99
Long-grain white rice – 1 pound for $.99
Rolled oats – 2 pounds for $1.99
Almond milk – quarter gallon $1.99
Black beans – 1 can $.89
Carrots – 4 pounds for $1.69
Russet potatoes – 5 pounds for $1.99
Zucchini – 2.85 pounds (6 large) for $2.82
Spaghetti Squash – 1 small/medium for $2.00
Tomatoes – 3 pounds (6 medium) for $2.96
Bananas – 6 pounds (roughly 14 total) for $3.24
Onions – 2 yellow (large) for $1.52
Bell Pepper – 1 orange for $1.50
I originally omitted the bell pepper and squash from my plan, but I only spent about $20 bucks so I decided I’d “splurge” for those two to make my meals a bit nicer, to me. Also, if you do decide to completely omit zucchini (raw “pasta”) and replace it for regular pasta, you’d have more than enough in savings for a can of garbanzo beans and you could simmer those with a bit of the soup, almond milk, onions, carrots, potatoes and some spices like tandoori and make a curry like dish to serve over rice. So again, another option on using what you bought in bulk to make something completely different. Just gotta get creative! I highly recommend “investing” in some good spices. They can dramatically change any dish and keep meals interesting if you know things will get repetitive.
So above I linked each meal to a recipe it was modeled after as a reference for you. You can just follow that original recipe using the listed modified ingredients. So the soup called for stock originally, I subbed for water. Little changes that resulted in big savings – without cutting out flavor.
Tips when buying:
Always hit up your store’s bulk bins! I swear people, this is where you’ll save so much money! Especially when they’re on sale on top of already being lower priced. So stock on up basics to keep on hand, they’ll come in handy and hold you over in-between sales.
Ask you store is they have any over ripen/slightly bruised fruits and veggies. They’ll sell them to you at a lower price or give you a discount overall. So adding it all up it’ll really help cut costs.
Bring your own bags! Cutting down on plastic while grocery shopping is a must, come on people you don’t need to wrap EVERY piece of fruit or veggies. But my store actually gives you a discount per each bag used. So it’s a minor savings (like 10-25 cents) but hey it’s something!
Bring coupons! Scope out your favorite store’s ad and try to match sale items with coupons from your paper. Luckily my store was a double ad Wednesday so that’s the best time to stock up on my pantry staples 🙂
Now I just want to touch base on a few things regarding this plan, as a disclaimer. A. It’s a basic meal plan, nothing more. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist so if you feel these meals/recipes aren’t healthy or too healthy then please feel free to adjust and/or create your own. B. This is just a little guide to help show others that eating on a budget is totally possible, you just need to be creative and deal with a little repetition, and finally C. Please don’t leave any hate/negative comments regarding this plan. As I established, I’m no health professional. I just wanted to make this guide as a reference to help those in need of options. With that being said, I spent a very long time putting this together. I understand if it doesn’t work for you and/or prices may vary. Just understand I have no control over that, I’m offering my advice/tips and it’s up to you to find the best deals where you live.
Hope you all enjoyed this, below you can find another variation of the same concept. This plan is savory with a Tex Mex theme. Click here for the Tex Mex Made Easy | $30 Plant-Based 7 Day Meal Plan For One (Gluten-Free & Vegan)18