How my family ate Clean on the (sort of) Cheap for a Week


Nourishing our bodies doesn’t have to be complicated OR break the bank. This week my family of three (two adults and one teenage man/boy who eats like a linebacker) set out to cook all of our dinners at home and use only all-natural and often organic ingredients without spending more than $4.50 per person. Disclaimer: everything was purchased at either Trader Joes or Whole Foods and the animal foods were humanely raised without the use of antibiotics. (Whole Foods has a great rating system of 1-5 for all of their meat cuts. See their website for more details.) Where I am a Pescatarian, (I don’t eat animal foods, only fish) you will see noted that some evenings there was a second vegetarian meal that’s denoted by an asterisk. Even with sometimes making two meals, I’m happy to say the task was easier than we expected. Next week we will cut our costs even further by doing an extra night of plant-only eating.

So how did we do it? Well, my first tip is planning the menu after you get to the store. By seeing what cuts of meat and veggies were on sale we could menu plan while keeping the budget in check. It took us a little longer at the store but we saved a good amount of money selecting those less expensive items. Second tip? We do the majority of prep work on the weekend so we can cook larger portions and have left overs ready to go during the week. For example, the Roasted Chicken was put in a brine on Sunday and air-chilled in our refrigerator overnight so I could easily pop it in the oven on Monday. The chicken that wasn’t eaten that evening was then turned into a delicious soup for Wednesday. We also made the rice and beans ahead because that is so good the second time around around. The last tip, we use coupons. Whole Foods has weekly coupons and this week our wild rice was $1.50 off. Considering we only used a quarter of the container of rice this week, that’s decent savings.

I’ve posted our grocery list and menu below for reference. Have any helpful tips on how we can improve and cut costs even further? Post your thoughts in our comments section below.

Organic tri-colored carrots (2 lbs)              $3
Rib End Boneless Pork (3 lbs)                      $21
Organic Celery (2 lbs)                                     $3.50
Organic Cauliflower & Broccoli                    $6
Orgainic Whole Chicken (5 lbs)                    $12
Green Peas                                                        $1.50
Organic Potatoes (5 lbs)                                $2.50
Onion, shallots, garlic, parsley                    $6
Wild Gulf Shrimp (1 ½ lbs)                            $14
Brussels Sprouts (1lb)                                    $4
Organic black and northern beans            $2  *(1 can each)
Organic chicken broth                                    $2 *(we added this to the broth we made from the carcass)
Organic Whole Wheat Pasta                        $1.50
Organic Marinara Sauce                                $3
Organic Brown Rice                                         $3.50 *(3 microwave pouches)
Organic Wild Rice/Barley                               $4 (1 ½ lbs uncooked bag)
Organic Whole Wheat Buns                         $2
Plainville Ground Turkey (1lb)                    $6 *(made 4 burgers)
TOTAL:                                                                  $97.50

Saturday:             Sauteed shrimp with brown rice and roasted cauliflower
Sunday:                Roast pork with russet potatoes and carrots / *Brown Rice and Beans
Monday:              Roast Chicken with Wild Rice and Green Peas / *Roasted Veggies and Wild Rice
Tuesday:              Leftover pork roast / *Brown Rice and Beans
Wednesday:      Chicken Soup with Onions, Peas, Carrots and Celery / *Soup, no Chicken, add Barley
Thursday:            Whole Wheat Pasta with Marinara and steamed broccoli
Friday:                  Turkey Burgers with Brussel sprouts / *Soup, no Chicken, add Barley

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