When you’re shopping for an entire family, it’s easy for the grocery bill to pile up. And when you’re trying to keep your meals healthy and homemade, it’s even harder to keep those costs down. But with a little planning and flexibility, it is possible to feed a family of four on just $100 each week. We’re talking breakfast, lunch and dinner, for seven full days.
So how did we achieve this miracle? With a few simple strategies. Shop on Sunday (and shop whatever is on sale), look for dried beans and legumes, which are inexpensive and easy to stretch in a variety of ways, stock up on fruits and veggies, and leave a little extra in your budget for those staple pantry items you might be low on, such as flour, oats, olive oil or vinaigrette. Then, spend a couple of hours of prep on Sunday afternoon, plan on leftovers for lunch and voila! Groceries for four. Here’s what we did.
(If you’re looking for the recipes, they’re down below the grocery list and meal plan.)
The Shopping List:
Salt-Free Tomato Sauce, $0.99
Salt-Free Tomato Paste, $0.59
Balsamic Vinaigrette, $1.99
Dried Chick Peas, $1.99
Dried Lentils, $1.49
Brown Long-Grain Rice, $1.99
Catellis Extra Fibre Brown Pasta, $1.49
Quick Rolled Oatmeal, $1.99
Unsalted Almonds, $1.99
Extra Lean Ground Turkey, $5.00
Chicken Leg Quarters and Backs, $8.97
Boneless Chicken Breasts, $9.31
Blueberries (x2), $4
Baby Carrots, $2.97
White Mushrooms, $3
Peppers (4 pack), $2.97
Large Bunch Bananas, $1.51
Lemon (x3), $2
Green Leaf Lettuce, $1.99
Spinach Bunch, $1.99
Red Swiss Chard, $1.97
Seedless Cucumber, $0.99
Garlic (x 5), $0.88
Large Sweet Potatoes (x 3), $1.87
Grape Tomatoes, $2.50
Bagged Red Onions, $2.97
Dozen Large Eggs, $2.68
Almond Milk, $2.99
Aged Cheddar Cheese Brick, $4.99
Whole Wheat Tortillas, $2.50
12 Ancient Grains Bread, $2.88
The Meal Plan:
Breakfast: Blueberry Smoothies
Lunch: Chickpea Salad
Dinner: Lemon Chicken, Swiss Chard with Rice Stir-fry
Breakfast: Toast & Egg
Lunch:Lemon Chicken, Swiss Chard with Rice Stir-fry
Dinner: Stuffed Peppers and Salad
Breakfast: Blueberry Smoothies
Lunch: Hummus and Veggies
Dinner: Fried Rice
Breakfast: Oatmeal & Oranges
Lunch: Leftover Fried Rice
Dinner: Pasta with Zucchini
Breakfast: Toast with Egg
Lunch: Leftover Pasta with Zucchini
Dinner: Chicken Legs and Asparagus with Sweet Potato Fries
Breakfast: Oatmeal & Oranges
Lunch: Chicken Quesadillas with Salad
Dinner: Lentil Meatballs with Rice
Brunch: Oat-flour Banana Pancakes
Snack: Oranges and Leftover Hummus and Veggies
Dinner: Warm Lentil Salad
You CAN feed a family of four on only $100 a week
Blueberry SmoothiesBlend two bananas, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 pint blueberries, 2 cups of almond milk and 1 cup of ice until smooth.
Lemon Chicken, Swiss Chard with Rice Stir-fryBake chicken breasts at 400F for 25 mins and cook 4 cups of rice. Meanwhile, stir fry 1 onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender. Add 4 cloves garlic and head of washed, chopped swiss chard. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Sautee until tender. Add diced chicken, half the cooked rice (save the rest for Wednesday), and juice from 1 lemon.
Tahini-Free Hummus and VeggiesIn a blender, combine two cups of cooked chickpeas, 1/4 cup olive oil, juice from 1/2 lemon, and blend. Season with garlic powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. If hummus is too thick blend in 1 tbsp of water. Serve with cut-up veggies.
Chickpea SaladMake entire bag of chickpeas according to package. In large bowl, combine 1.5 cups prepared chickpeas, 1/2 diced cucumber, 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes and washed, chopped and dried leaf lettuce (only use half). Drizzle with balsamic and lemon, season with salt and pepper.
Fried RiceRemove cold leftover rice from fridge. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet. Sautee 1 chopped onion until tender. Add 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 diced red pepper and keep cooking until soft. Add rice, stir, then crack one egg in mixture. Stir to distribute whites and yolk until cooked through. Add spinach, drizzle soy sauce over top and serve.
Toast and EggPoach, boil or fry four eggs. Toast four pieces of bread, brush with olive oil instead of butter, and enjoy.
Chicken Legs and Asparagus with Sweet Potato FriesBake 6 chicken legs brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400F for 35-40 minutes until juice runs clear. Toss cut sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. With 10 minutes to go, throw washed and dried asparagus brushed with olive oil into oven to bake as well. Serve warm, and be sure to save two legs for the weekend quesadillas.
Chicken QuesadillasLay tortilla shells flat and spread shredded chicken and grated cheese alongside half (top with optional salsa). Fold quesadillas in half and bake at 350F until golden brown (roughly 20 minutes). Serve with a side salad.
Pasta with ZucchiniHeat 1 tbsp of olive oil and sautee onion. Add 3 cloves garlic and ground turkey. Sautee until browned, then remove. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan with basil, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder and 1 tsp of brown sugar. Bring to a slow boil then reduce. Add turkey mixture and simmer for 40 mins. Cook pasta, prep zucchini, and add both to sauce.
Stuffed PeppersCut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Meanwhile, sautee 1 onion with 1 tbsp of olive oil until soft. Add in 3 cloves minced garlic and 2 cups of cooked chickpeas. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Stuff mixture into peppers, top with grated cheese and bake at 350F for 25 minutes.
Spinach and Strawberry SaladCombine freshly washed and dried spinach with sliced strawberries and toasted almonds. Meanwhile, whisk 1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette with 1 tsp of honey, maple syrup or brown sugar. Drizzle over salad and enjoy.
Lentil Meatballs and RiceCook 1/2 package of lentils. In bowl, mash with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne and cumin. Cut two pieces of bread into small cubes and toast in oven. Add to mixture with 1 egg and blend to mix. Form small balls. Dice mushrooms and sautee over heat with olive oil. Add balls and cook. Serve with cooked brown rice.
Banana PancakesBlend 2 cups of oatmeal into flour. Pour into large bowl with pinch of salt. Mash 1 banana into mixture with 1 egg. Whisk together until smooth. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in pan over medium heat. Pour pancake batter and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden, then flip. Repeat. Serve with sliced bananas and maple syrup.Thinkstock