One of the most efficient ways to save money on your grocery bills is to prepare food from scratch at home. Thankfully, it also tends to be better for your health and waistline than eating at restaurants.
These facts are also what spawned my idea for “$50 menu” posts, where I show you how I can feed my family of 5 for an entire week for just $50. No, I don’t employ my black belt, budget reducing $50 menus every week. But, if you are consistently running low on grocery money, the ideas in this post are sure fire winners for saving big money on your weekly food bills.
Get to the Root!
Last year, I discovered an amazing new website, thanks for my sister, Robin. When she pointed me in the direction of Get2dRoot, I instantly fell in love with their amazing recipes and really fun “down home” style of presenting great food and lifestyle choices. That’s when I decided I just had to devote an entire episode of “Feeding My Family On $50” to the fine folks at: http://get2droothealthandwellness.com/
This plant-based power couple have an amazing amount of helpful information about health, wellness, and exercise on their website. I instantly connected with their friendly, outgoing, endearing personalities. As an added bonus, their recipes rock! If you have kids and you are trying to figure out how to get them to eat healthier, then this is the site for you!
Want to see them “live”? Their YouTube channel is well worth your time to check out. Well-produced videos, demonstrating exercise, workout routines, and illustrated recipes populate their YouTube channel. They are just plain fun to watch!
If you need additional accountability, Will and Faith host a private group for plant-based eaters. Because they have children, it’s a great place to hang out and discuss the challenges of feeding your entire family great food. The group also provides optional challenges throughout the year, in which the group functions as a team to help you reach health and wellness goals. My husband and I are members. I have not received any compensation for this endorsement, but I have been so happy with our decision to join the group, that I felt I really needed to share it with you.
On to the good stuff! I scoured the site and created a menu plan just for you to show you how to …
Feed Your Family for Just $50 A Week!
I must admit that it’s the cost of the real maple syrup that caused the cost of this breakfast entree to soar. We are simply not willing to use the fake syrup products. Had we skipped the berries and the syrup, the meal would have cost just $1.00!
I doubled this recipe and that was a good choice! We had it for one meal and then the 15 year old sous chef polished off the leftovers for lunch the next day.
That’s right! Your kids will flip when you tell them they can eat cookies for breakfast! I made a double batch of these and I was glad I did!
The recipe uses date paste. You’ll find it at your local ethnic food market for the cheapest price in town. Although, I’ve seen dates recently at both SAMS and Aldi for great prices, too. The recipe also calls for chocolate chips. We substituted raisins. These cookies tasted fantastic! Add some fresh fruit and you have a quick, nutritious breakfast that you can grab on your way out the door in the morning.
Oatmeal and Cream of Wheat
We ended the week with some of our tried and true family favorites. Oatmeal and cream of wheat. They keep our kids full and are as cheap as boxed cereal per pound. I pay between $1 and $1.25 per pound for either cereal. We serve it topped with fruit, a Tablespoon of real maple syrup, and a splash of plant-based milk. The cost for four days of oatmeal or cream of wheat is just: $6.00 in total.
Weekly Total Cost of Breakfast: $12.50
Lunch and Dinner Main Dishes
Carrot Dogs – the best recipe that I have ever tried! The texture was hotdog perfect! Even the carnivores who tried them raved about them! We made ten long carrot dogs. That’s about two pounds of carrots. I buy 5 pound bags of organic carrots from SAMS for under $4.00. This recipe fed us for one supper and two lunches!
You would never believe that this is not meat! It’s a carrot! As proof, here’s a photo of the carrots getting ready to be cooked in the oven.
I’ve tried making carrot dogs before and not been a fan. But, Get2dRoot has forever changed my mind. Their blend of herbs and spices is absolutely perfect imitation of the flavor you expect from a good hotdog. But, it contains NO added oil or salt! I am SOLD! These will definitely be making an appearance on our table again very soon!
Lentils cook in just 20 minutes and give you that satisfying “toothsome” experience of meat, without all the cholesterol and artery-clogging fat. Better yet, they are incredibly cheap! I pay about $1.25 a pound for lentils and buy them in 5 pound bags at GFS.
One pound of dry lentils measures just over 2 1/4 cups. You add nearly twice the amount of water before cooking. So, you wind up with over 6 cups of cooked lentils! Once you add the additional ingredients and spices, this recipe will feed your family for two nights!
I adore Faith’s kickin’ tomato sauce! I make a triple batch in the blender and then freeze it in 3/4 cup increments in small yogurt containers. It’s super easy to thaw and add to lentils or other beans for a quick weeknight meal.
My boys absolutely beg for these burgers! They do take a little prep time. So, we make a double batch and freeze extra burgers. They freeze fantastically! The texture is firm and incredibly delicious! Some of us had the burgers on traditional buns, while those of us avoiding gluten toasted some corn tortillas as a base. By the way, the recipe calls for barbecue sauce. I used some of the kickin’ tomato sauce that I had left over from the quadruple batch that I made earlier in the week.
Chickpea Veggie Balls with Herbal Tomato Paste
These were amazing! Firm, flavorful, and filling! We made sandwiches with them on hotdog buns one night and had the rest of the “meat” balls over brown rice the next.
I baked this loaf and then froze it for use later in the week. I thawed it in the refrigerator and then put it in the oven, topped with some of Faith’s kickin’ tomato sauce. Amazing! The loaf served us for one supper meal and there was some leftover for sandwiches the next day. One loaf cut into about 10 nice sized pieces.
I love keeping an assortment of burgers in the freezer. My older sons and husband often need to grab something quickly on their way out the door in the mornings and a burger is the perfect solution. I like this recipe, because it uses very common items that you probably have on your pantry shelf, making it the perfect solution for those nights when the family is hungry and you have no idea what’s for supper.
Weekly Total Cost of Lunch and Supper Main Dishes: $18.00
No menu plan is complete without a few well-chosen side dishes. Here’s a look at the recipes I chose from the website.
I make this recipe frequently. It is, in fact, one of my very favorite versions of hummus. It has just the right kick to it. We use hummus as a sandwich spread, as a veggie dip, and as a topping for chips and crackers.
We made a quadruple batch of these amazingly flavorful chips. I would never have believed that you could so easily create a healthy chip that delivers the zingy taste and crisp texture that kids love.
I serve them as a side dish for lunch or to top a big bowl of taco salad.
I made this recipe after scoring a huge bag of mustard greens on markdown at Kroger for just $1.49. I adore greens and eat them every day. This recipe was full of flavor and took just minutes to prepare.
I serve raw veggies nearly every day of the week. I cut up and use whatever veggies I have in the house out on pretty trays for lunch and dinner every day. Using seasonal produce or items I find on sale that week allows me to vary the selection and also keep the price super low. It’s pictured here with the hummus from the website.
Misc. Side Dish Items
Salad: $7.00 – Yes, being vegan, I don’t go even one day without my beloved salad greens. In any given week, I spend $6-$8 on a variety of lettuces and greens. I strive for variety, but rely mainly on those that I find on markdown at Kroger. During the growing season, we have a huge variety of greens, thanks to our annual CSA subscription with a local farmer.
Veggies: $4.00 – I serve lightly cooked veggies as a side dish several times a week. I use whatever is in season or items I have in my freezer that I have purchased at a really low price. My goal is to never pay over $1 a pound for any fruit and less than that for vegetables.
Weekly Total Cost of Side Dishes: $20.00
TOTAL COST OF THIS 7 DAY MENU: $50.50!
In utilizing these menu ideas, remember that I have listed the prices that I paid for ingredients. I very rarely buy anything from the store at full price. Instead, I rely on low-priced, seasonal selections and markdowns to provide the basis of my planning. Your costs will vary. However, having said that, when you base your weekly dishes on whole foods (especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans) your grocery bill will plummet and your nutrition will soar.