Some people think a lifestyle of plant-based food is too complicated and expensive; so I decided to challenge myself to feed our family on $100 for the week, and debunk the myth that vegans are rich.
I wrote out a detailed menu for the week and headed to the grocery store.
I was pretty optimistic when I got to the store, but soon found my confidence deflating as I calculated each item added to the cart. Even though I consider myself frugal, I rarely put myself on a strict food budget and typically spend $600-$700 per month. I felt overwhelmed when I was halfway through my list and already at $70, so I put a few things back and worked out alternatives for others items as I walked the aisles. The mission was turning out to be more stressful than I anticipated.
I did feel a little better when I considered how nuts, grains, seeds and textured soy products are less expensive (or comparable) to the cost of beef and chicken. I spent $23 on steel oats, raw walnuts, raw cashews, Tofurky sausage and tempeh. I went over to the meat section and saw a 1 pound pack of ground beef at $4.69 and 2 pounds of chicken breast at $9.00. It would cost a lot more than $23 if you eat beef or chicken each night.
I still went $10 over budget (I was able to get an exact $110 because I rounded up to the next dollar to donate to a local food bank). Not bad at all!
Here's what our refrigerator and cabinets looked like before I headed to the store. I want to show that we didn't start off with a fully stocked kitchen, so most of our food for the week will come from the $100 budget. Don't judge me too harshly, I only grocery shop when I have to. lol
You probably see a little dairy and fish in these pictures-The Hubs is a pescatarian
Here's what the $110 got me...
Breakfast: Blueberry Pancakes (with frozen blueberries)
Lunch: Tuna Wraps
Dinner: Kidney beans with rice, corn muffins
Corn Muffin Recipe
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup pastry or whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp ground flax seed & 3 tbsp warm water
1 cup non-dairy milk (soy milk or unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 cup Earth Balance or other vegan spread, softened
Flax seeds are not only an excellent source of fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids, but also a great egg substitute in baked goods.
Whisk flaxseed and warm water in a small bowl and put to the side to thicken (for about 10 minutes).
Preheat oven at 370º
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk, flaxseed mixture, agave, and butter mixing until smooth.
Bake for 18 minutes.
As soon as the muffins came out of the oven, my chipmunks ate 2 each.
I soaked the kidney beans overnight and seasoned with basil, garlic, all-season salt, pepper and onion.
I used jasmine rice with about a half cup of leftover basmati rice
What I learned today
I've been spending way too much at the grocery store!
I could have stretched my $100 further at the farmer's market
I've never been a big cabbage eater but at 70¢ a pound I will find recipes :-)
I don't like the taste of store brand green tea lol
Bagged fruit is cheaper - I usually purchase fruit individually
Be sure to check back all this week for updates on the challenge.
I will post pictures, recipes, and we will eat homemade veggie pizza, vegan crab cakes, apple biscuits and much more.
$100 for the week? Sure we can!
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