I feed five people, mostly plant based, always on a budget, and this is how I meal plan for the month. In the past I have created beautiful spreadsheets linked to recipes and a shopping list but this worked out to be unrealistic and inconvenient. I mean how do you know a month in advance what you will feel like eating / what the weather will be like etc. So I started this method, and it’s stuck for about a year now.How I Meal Plan, Mostly Plant Based, On a Budget Click To Tweet
What I do is a big shop once a month, and I buy the same things, every month. We do eat the same sort of meals over and over with a bit of variety thrown in so it doesn’t get completely boring. Or, I make a bunch of different meals but all with the same base ingredients.
I normally shop at Food Lovers, and I get their budget veg pack which is normally a pocket of onions, a pocket of potatoes, a box of tomatoes and then whatever else is cheap at the time, sometimes a 5kg bag of carrots or a pocket of sweet potato or a pocket of oranges and that’s normally around R120. I do sometimes get a second pocket of potatoes during the month if they’re nice and we’re eating a lot of boiled potatoes for lunches. Putting potatoes in the garden soon so that we don’t have to buy at all and they’ll be organic 😁 And I also need to often buy a second box of tomatoes, we don’t use tinned tomatoes at all.
I get their fruit pack too while I’m there but we buy fruit every couple of days anyway. There are always apples, bananas and oranges in the house and Avo’s too if they’re in season and cheap – I normally buy bananas and Avo’s from the hawkers on the side of the road and a big bag of those small apples, I think its a 4kg bag. My kids and husband eat that bag of apples and a good size bunch of bananas in about 4 days. So we get them about twice a week.I feed five people, mostly plant based, always on a budget, and this is how I meal plan for the month. Click To Tweet
I also buy the following from Food Lovers;
- a big 7kg bag of rice
- 4 bags of red lentils
- a bag of green lentils
- a bag of brown lentils
- a bag of sugar beans
- a bag of black beans
- a bag of black eyed beans
- a bag of yellow split peas
- a bag of green split peas
- 6 tins of coconut milk
- A huge bag of tea – 200 bags – and that lasts us only about a week and a half 🙈
- A bottle of All Gold tomatoe sauce and a jar of mayonnaise (for coleslaw when cabbage is in season)
- 4-6 heads of garlic and a good size fresh ginger root
- And whatever veg they have that’s nice, cheap, and we don’t have in the garden
- I also buy the bulk bags of whichever herbs and spices I need that month
I also get 5kg bag of organic oats from Dischem and a tub of coconut oil, and a 2.5kg stoneground flour for making crumpets or the occasional batch of pita breads.
Weekly, I buy the following from our local grocery store;
- A small R10 cheese which I make cheese sauce with which we have with cauliflower or garlicky cheesy spinach – so we eat cheese once a week or less
- A big Black Cat peanut butter – sugar free if my husband is not shopping with me otherwise he makes me get the normal one
- 500g block of butter
- Whatever veg we need that we don’t have in the garden, which isn’t much because I normally stick to what’s in the garden. At the moment we’re eating Spinach every night but soon we’ll have a lot more available.
- A tray of eggs, if I can get free range I do but I’m pushing the eggs at the moment as both of my kids have weak enamel with their baby teeth and I think it’s vitamin K2 related
Everyday we buy a loaf of bread and 2l of milk. If someone is going to the city we get raw milk, if not we drink gross pasteurized supermarket milk because tea is our one vice and we abuse it.
So, here is what we do with all of those ingredients!
Everyday for breakfast is oats with honey – we were given an 8 kg reject honey (the bees fed on sugarcane and and it tastes like molasses) so we haven’t bought honey in months. Sometimes we’ll have eggs on Sundays or I make crumpets.
Lunch is always carrot & orange salad, green salad – sometimes just lettuce (from the garden) and then boiled eggs and a boiled potatoe or bread. Or we’ll have leftover supper from the night before, in winter that’s often soup. I rarely make a new meal for lunch but if I do it’ll be spaghetti and tomato and onion bredie – my sons favourite. Sometimes we just eat peanut butter sarmies, and salad 😄
Suppers I loosely plan that we’ll eat one of these protein meals a week;
- a lentil based dish (Such as this green lentil soup)
- a split pea dish (Such as a yellow split pea dahl or these green split pea and lentil falafel)
- A red split lentil dish (Such as a red lentil coconut dahl or this red lentil and red pepper chili, or this really yummy glowing soup)
- A bean dish (Such as a bean curry or these Maple Baked Beans)
- An egg dish, normally curried eggs and rice or fried egg and chips
- And then we alternate through the expensive things; fish – battered fish, tuna (tuna ala king), pilchards (pilchard pie with a scone dough) / chickpeas / quinoa – this is my favourite quinoa recipe, a cumin lime black bean and quinoa salad
- And one night we’ll have no protein, just veg like this spinach & potato curry
We have whatever starch goes best with the meal – so potatoes or rice, very seldom pasta, and we have a red / orange veg and a green veg or a really big salad with lots of raw rainbow coloured veggies.
You may be wondering how I fit cooking from scratch every day in, with homeschooling the kids and working from home full time but that is a whole new post of it’s own, and I promise I will write it! For now, know that I always make sure that by 3pm I know what I am making for supper and I have checked that I have all the ingredients.
Simple food, done simply 🙂