Plant Based on a Budget Challenge – 1 Person – Week 4

By : | 4 Comments | On : December 17, 2013 | Category : Blog

Edited for week 4 – 

Welcome to the forth and final week of Plant Based on a Budget Challenge! First off, thank you very much for considering this challenge. We’re hoping to show that a plant based diet can be done without breaking the bank and we really hope it works out for you. There’s no specific day to start just seven days of eating plant based foods at $25 per person, per week.

After a lot of feedback about cooking too many meals and having too much leftover food, I took out one meal — which means there’s less of a variety. Please feel free to take meals from any of the other meal plans, if you’re not please with this one:

Week one
Week two
Week three

I realize that I live in California where the produce is bountiful and relatively inexpensive, but I tried to be considerate of that by creating fairly flexible meals. If spinach is cheaper than kale, go for it. If you don’t have plant based bullion, go for broth based on my recipe  measurements, if you prefer fresh food to cans — make the executive decision and purchase fresh. This is a guide to help you become familiar with eating plant based on a budget. Play with it.

Second, food is very important and personal to me, and I have poured hours upon hours into this project, so please be nice. So often I see people on the internet being criticized for attempting to create additional FREE resources and it always blows my mind. Even last week I had people tell me that they felt “ripped off” by my FREE meal plans. Here is my Remembering Privilege post in response to that. I have been glad to have this project consume me, but to be honest, opening up my kitchen to you does make me feel vulnerable. If anyone feels as though my meal plans are terrible, or you’re unhappy with my use of oil or sugar, please feel empowered to submit your own plant based meals plans with a $25, per person budget and I’d be happy to promote it for you. The more examples of budget plant based eating, the better.

A little about myself: My name is Toni Okamoto and I’m the founder of Plant Based on a Budget.  Having grown up in a low-income household, I’m fully aware of how food money can become a low-priority on the list of expenses. Fresh food accessibility and lack of food/ nutrition education in low-income communities are huge issues, and although I can’t tackle them on my own, I’m hoping to at least show that you don’t have to compromise your health to save money.

I originally became vegetarian for health reasons. In high school, I was a runner and in attempts to make me a healthier person (I was getting sick after running all the time) my coach suggested not eating red meat … which shortly became vegetarian. However, as a teenager who moved out immediately after high school, I was eating nothing  but food from the Taco Bell across the street from my apartment, Top Ramen and PB&J sandwiches. I was completely poor and  unhealthy. It wasn’t until I joined a veg club in college and started “Womanly Wednesdays” that I became vegan for ethical reasons and began experimenting with budget-friendly food.

Some good resources for eating a plant based diet: Yummy Plants Health Tips - for those who like tips on being healthy , My Fitness Pal  - for those who are looking for nutritional information, Matt Ruscigno RD – True Love Health - a vegan registered dietitian, No Meat Athlete - for you athletic types.

A couple tips: I work a lot. Between my day job and this blog, I easily put in over 70 hours a week of work. So, to save time, I cut all my veggies at the same time on my day off and stored them in the refrigerator for easy access. I work over an hour away from my house and the last thing I want to do when I get home is prep veggies. I cooked my beans on that day, too.

Find the cheapest grocery store near you. I went to a Winco and they have incredibly low-prices and an impressive bulk bin selection. If you are shopping at Whole Foods, you probably won’t be able to follow this meal plan within the budget.

When you’re shopping, it may be more efficient to write the exact measurements of what you need. I did estimates, but if you wanted to be precise (to avoid unused ingredients), I recommend bringing a measuring cup. That way you can buy two cups of lentils instead of 1/2 lb. And bring a calculator and any coupons that you might have (check the store’s website before you go)!

Another thing you can do is ask for older, discounted produce. Often times, the grocer will give you a deal if the bananas are spotty. And at my store, every bag that you bring (to bag your groceries), you save $.6. I used three bags, saved .18 cents, which paid for my can of tomato paste.

Also, while meal planning, I tried to follow the article that Sticman of Dead Prez wrote for our site, “7 Ways to Eat Good on a Hood Budget“. I made a plan, I didn’t buy packaged foods, I always had leftovers, I made two soups, and I only drank water.

Grocery List:

Bunch of 7 Bananas – 1.74
Frozen Spinach – .98 (if fresh is cheaper, get that)
2 lb bag of carrots – .98
1 lb yam – .26
Firm Tofu – 1.48
1/2 lb lentils – .50
Jar of Marinara – 1.58
1/2 lb Cheapest Granola – .81*
Pack of 6ct Bullion Cubes – .91
Cheapest Non-Dairy Milk – 1.28
4 yellow onions – 1.50
Celery – .88
1 lb Split Peas – .98
Kale – .98
1/2 lb Cheapest Cereal – .64
Garlic – .48
1 lb cheapest pasta – .98
lemon – .28
Persimmon – .48
1/2 lb Israeli Couscous – .98
Red Onion – .45
Cucumber – .38

Total: $19.29

Day One:
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Breakfast: I made Persimmon Bread to last the entire week. The first week I struggled with not having any sweet foods, so I added this bread for a yummy sweet treat. There are seven slices and you can either have it for breakfast or dessert. Get crazy with it!

And if you don’t want to get crazy, that’s fine too. You can easily skip this — there’s plenty of cereal and smoothie. And if Persimmons are too expensive in your area, you can just do a Banana Bread.

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Lunch: I made this simple but delicious  Israeli Couscous Salad - but skipped the olives because they were too pricey. If you happen to have the olives on hand, make sure to throw them in because it makes it all the more tasty!

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Dinner: I couldn’t resist making Grace’s Tofu Ricotta from her Week 1 meal plan for two. I made the entire recipe and ate this any time I was hungry, but you can also half this recipe and make a different kind of pasta dish with the ingredients that you’d have left over.

More info on tofu nutrition

Day Two:

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Breakfast: By now, you can probably tell that this Banana Kale Smoothie is my favorite smoothie ever. I want to drink it every day … and I kinda do. Sometimes if I have them already, I’ll add flax meal, soy protein or maca powder.

Nutritional info on Kale

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Lunch:  Leftover Tofu Ricotta and Baked Pasta.

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Dinner: David’s Split Pea Soup and it was deeeeelicious! I didn’t have some of the spices, so I skipped them. I also used only half of the celery and didn’t use the fresh parsley.

Nutritional info for Split Peas

Day Three:

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Breakfast:  2 cups cornflakes w/ 1 cup soy milk and banana.

Daily value nutritional facts for 1 banana: 12% Potassium, 17% Vitamin C, 20% B6

Lunch: Leftover Soup

Dinner: Leftover pasta

Day Four:

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Breakfast: Pumpkin Flax Granola and Soy Milk

Lunch: Leftover Splitpea Soup

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Yams were only $.25 a lb!! That’s crazy.

So I made:

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Dinner: Kale, Lentils and Yam. I used this recipe which I also used in my week 3 meal plan and made these modifications: I used one full carrot, 2 cups of water with bullion cube, 1/3 of an onion, 2 cloves garlic, no bay leaf, pepper or rosemary, I used half of my bunch of kale and half of my sweet potato. Makes two servings.

Nutritional Info for Lentils

Day Five:

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Breakfast: More cereal!!

Lunch: Leftover Kale and Lentils.

Dinner: Leftover Pasta

Day Six: IMG_1714

Breakfast: Another Banana Kale Smoothie  – feel free to spice your up with apples, oranges, etc.

Lunch: Leftover Soup

Dinner: Leftover Pasta

Day Seven:

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Breakfast: Pumpkin Flax Granola and Soy Milk

Lunch: You probably hate it by now, but leftover pasta.

Dinner: Leftover Soup

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As I mentioned, this is a guide. Please experiment with your food based on your personal food preferences and dietary needs. Also, I am not a doctor or dietitian or nutritionist, this is just what I eat. I suggest supplementing with plant-based multi-vitamin and doing further research on your personal nutrition.

The next menu will be posted one week from today, Friday November 22nd. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via the “Contact Us” section.

  1. posted by Kaitlyn A K on April 8, 2014

    I just started week 1 after reading through all these recipes. Excited!!!

      Reply
  2. posted by Jess on April 11, 2014

    Thank you for all the tips! I definitely need to start shopping smarter.

      Reply
  3. posted by Marian Gleason on April 22, 2014

    These menu plans are a LIFE SAVER for me! Thank you SO MUCH for fulfilling this challenge and making my life so much simpler. <3

      Reply
  4. posted by Stephan on June 7, 2014

    I agree with Marian. You helped me spend less money and eat better. I follow these meal plans for myself until I get the hang of it and it comes naturally so I don’t have to do all this. I’m going shopping today and I’m going to try to eat every meal in this plan.

      Reply
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