Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
If you’ve been seeing the cost of your weekly grocery trips creep upwards, you aren’t alone. Groceries are getting more expensive, and sticking to a budget can be even more challenging as prices rise. However, healthy eating doesn’t have to equal more expensive meals or a bigger grocery shopping budget. Before you start sacrificing your favorite produce for packaged alternatives, you just need a few meal planning tips and tricks to maximize your money. While many people automatically assume that clean, organic foods and ingredients are more costly, the truth is you can make your budget fit your nutritional needs. And it’s totally possible to enjoy delicious, hunger-satisfying clean meals without overspending! Our 1-week budget meal plan is designed to help you accomplish exactly that – and you’ll spend just around $10 per day in total.budget
Over the course of seven days, this meal plan makes it easy to make every one of your meals. You can prep entire meals in advance, or you can make portions ahead of time so all you’re doing during the week is assembling the different components. With an approximate average of 1,750 calories total per day, you can also adapt these recipes to fit any lifestyle. Need more protein? It’s easy to adjust and add more. Want to skip the snacks and have a bigger breakfast? Totally up to you. It can be scaled up or down, or altered based on your eating schedule, and you can feel free to change up the ingredients – that’s the beauty of meal planning!
You can consider this 1-week budget meal plan your go-to guide on how to eat well and save money while doing so. Plus, you can incorporate these recipes into your regular rotation even when you aren’t sticking to a meal plan. They can be stretched in so many creative ways (and you’re going to love them!).Section divider
Cinnamon Orange Yogurt
This easy snack can be made at home or while you’re on the go – and opting for a tub of yogurt is significantly cheaper than single-serve packages. Here’s how to make it: Stir 1 orange, peeled and chopped, and pinch cinnamon into 1⁄2 cup yogurt.
Tuna & Veggie Pita
Whip up this satisfying lunch in mere minutes, and you’ll have a meal that takes you back to childhood with its comforting crunch and delicious flavor. To make it, mix 3 oz tuna with 1 tbsp each chopped onion, carrot, celeriac and parsley, 2 tsp ACV and 1 tsp EVOO; slice 1 pita round in half and fill with tuna and 4 thin cucumber slices, plus 1 cup grapes.
Roasted Chicken with Creamy Celeriac Apple Slaw
We elevated this roast chicken dish with a creamy apple celeriac slaw that adds crunch and flavor to this classic dish. Get the recipe here.
Sweet Potato Bread
This gluten-free bread gets a slight touch of sweetness from natural sources like sweet potatoes and maple syrup. Get the recipe here.
Soul-warming and perfectly satisfying, is there anything better than a bowl of oatmeal in the morning? Try this Apple Oatmeal: Cook 1⁄2 cup oats in 1 cup milk; stir in 1 apple, chopped, 2/3 oz walnuts and a pinch of cinnamon.
Chicken Hummus Bowl
This meal is money-saving and oh-so-easy to make. It utilizes leftovers from other meals, plus some satisfying pantry staples, to create a well-rounded meal.
Here’s how to make it: In a bowl, combine 4 oz roasted chicken, sliced 1⁄4 cup cooked black beans, 1⁄2 cup cooked quinoa (cook 1⁄2 cup dried to yield 2 cups cooked; don’t forget to save your leftovers), 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1⁄4 cup hummus and 2 tbsp feta.
Is there an easier breakfast or snack than this? We don’t think so. Make it by combining 3⁄4 cup yogurt, 1⁄2 cup oats and 1 cup sliced grapes.
Green Chicken Salad
This vibrant and slightly sweet salad is easy to whip up, but it’ll keep hunger at bay with a weather of protein and fiber – key nutrients to boost energy and satiate those hunger pangs. To make it, toss together 3 cups spinach, 5 oz roasted chicken, sliced, 1⁄4 chopped orange, 1⁄2 cup chopped cucumber, 1/3 oz chopped walnuts and 2 tbsp feta; dress with 11⁄2 tbsp ACV, 1 tsp EVOO and 1⁄2 tsp Dijon mustard; remaining 3⁄4 orange.
Arctic Char with Quinoa & Broccoli
With plenty of protein and as much flavor as you’d like to impart with seasoning, arctic char can deliver all of the nutrients you need. To make it a well-rounded meal: Season 5 oz arctic char with 1/8 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper and broil; 1⁄4 cup cooked black beans mixed with 1⁄2 cup cooked quinoa (leftovers); 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed and tossed with 1 clove garlic, chopped, and pinch red pepper flakes.
Add some spice and a kick of flavor to your basic zucchini in this easy side recipe. Sauté 1 zucchini, sliced, in 2 tsp EVOO with 1⁄4 tsp each garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
A few spoonfuls of yogurt paired with fresh fruit and crunchy nuts makes for one seriously tasty breakfast, snack or lunchtime treat. Combine 1 cup yogurt, 1 pear, chopped, 1/3 oz walnuts and a pinch of nutmeg.
Satisfying mid-day hunger with a chicken sandwich topped with plenty of good-for-you fixings. To make it, arrange 4 oz roasted chicken (leftovers, p. 79), thawed and heated, 2 tbsp mashed avocado, 1 slice tomato and 2 tbsp parsley between 2 slices Sweet Potato Bread, thawed and toasted. Pair the sandwich with 1 cup grapes, 1⁄2 cup sliced carrots.
If you have fresh veggies in your fridge and a bit of leftover chicken, you can create a whole – and wholly filling – dinner. To make our Broccoli Spaghetti, grab 5 oz leftover roasted chicken, thawed and heated, and pair it with with 5 oz cooked spaghetti, 1 cup broccoli florets sautéed in 1 clove garlic, 1 cup pasta sauce and 1⁄4 tsp red pepper flakes.
Zucchini & Tomato Omelette
Think omelettes are hard work? Think again! Here’s how to make this easy veggie-filled breakfast: Heat 1⁄2 tsp EVOO in a nonstick pan; whisk 2 eggs, 1 tsp water and pinch garlic powder and add to pan; when egg begins to set, add sautéed zucchini (leftovers), 1⁄4 cup feta and 2 tbsp chopped tomato; cook until set and fold over; 1 toasted pita round.
If you love peanut butter and jelly, then you’re going to really enjoy this fruit-filled spin. Toast 2 slices Sweet Potato Bread, thawed, and top with 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp raisins and 1⁄2 banana, sliced (freeze remaining 1⁄2 banana).
Mushroom-Stuffed Flank Steak with Balsamic Green Beans
Flank steak is a relatively inexpensive lean cut that boasts a fantastic beefy flavor. Get the recipe here.
Start your day with the classic pairing of peanut butter (or your fave alternative butter, like cashew or sunflower seed) and bananas in a quick smoothie. Blend 1⁄2 frozen banana (leftovers), 1 cup spinach, 1⁄4 cup yogurt, 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1 cup milk with ice.
Squashy Sloppy Joes
This veg-heavy version of the classic stove-top casserole – featuring both winter and summer squashes – is served over whole-wheat buns to sop up every delicious drop. Get the recipe here.
Here’s a pasta recipe that’s easy to make with staples you already have sitting in your fridge or your pantry. Sauté 4 oz roasted chicken, (leftovers, p. 79) thawed, 3 cups spinach, 1⁄2 chopped tomato and 1 clove garlic, chopped, in 1 tsp EVOO; stir in 2 oz spaghetti, cooked, 2 tbsp reserved pasta-cooking water, 1⁄4 cup feta and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes.Section divider
Your 1-week meal plan
Download the meal plan here or use the chart below as your on-the-go guide for each day of the week.
|Monday||1 slice Sweet Potato Bread with 1 tsp peanut butter||Cinnamon Orange Yogurt||Tuna & Veggie Pita||½ cup cucumber slices and 1 pita round, toasted, with 3 tbsp hummus||1 serving Roasted Chicken with Creamy Celeriac Apple Slaw (save leftovers), plus ½ cup cooked black beans||$8.78|
|Tuesday||Apple Oatmeal||1 cup grapes and ½ oz walnuts||1 serving Roasted Chicken with Creamy Celeriac Apple Slaw (leftovers), plus ½ cup cooked black beans||1 slice Sweet Potato Bread||Chicken Hummus Bowl||$7.65|
|Wednesday||Yogurt Oats||1 slice Sweet Potato Bread with ¼ cup mashed avocado||Green Chicken Salad||2 cups Creamy Celeriac Apple Slaw (leftovers)||Arctic Char with Quinoa & Broccoli||$10.23|
|Thursday||1 slice Sweet Potato Bread and 1 egg, hard-boiled||1 apple with 1½ tbsp peanut butter||1 serving Roasted Chicken with Creamy Celeriac Apple Slaw (leftovers), plus 1 cup cooked quinoa||1 cup grapes and ½ oz walnuts||5 oz roasted chicken; 1 sweet potato, baked, sprinkled with pinch cinnamon; Sautéed Zucchini||$8.60|
|Friday||Fruity Yogurt||1 slice Sweet Potato Bread, thawed, with 1 tbsp peanut butter||Chicken Sammie||1 pita round with 2 tbsp hummus||Broccoli Spaghetti||$8.24|
|Saturday||Zucchini & Tomato Omelette||1 apple||PBR&B Toast||½ cup sliced celeriac with 2 tbsp hummus||1 serving Mushroom-Stuffed Flank Steak with Balsamic Green Beans||$7.55|
|Sunday||PB Smoothie||1 egg, hard-boiled, with 2 tbsp hummus||1 serving Squashy Sloppy Joes||1 slice Sweet Potato Bread, thawed, toasted and topped with 1 tbsp each mashed avocado and parsley, 1 slice tomato and 1 oz roasted chicken||Chicken Pasta||$8.91|
Budget-friendly meal planning tips and tricks
To ensure you stick to your overall grocery budget – or save even more during tighter periods of time – you can customize this meal plan. While we’re offering a number of easy, budget-friendly recipes you can mix and match, you shouldn’t be afraid to make changes as needed for even more cost savings. Here are some of our go-to tips to slash the cost of these meals (including your snacks!) a little more.
Make key meal plan staples instead of paying for store-bought
While packaged products, like hummus or salad dressings, are super convenient and seem pretty affordable, their costs can add up. While you can totally purchase them to save yourself time, you can cut costs and save a bit more cash by making your own at home. You can make a big batch and keep these homemade alternatives in your fridge or freezer to enjoy time and time again. Here are a few staples you’ll use in this meal plan that you can whip up yourself to keep your spending down:
- Hummus – Try making our Classic Hummus instead
- Pasta sauce – Try making our Everyday Marinara Sauce instead
- Slaw – Beyond our Creamy Celeric Slaw, you can also try Vegetarian Napa Slaw or Root Vegetable & Apple Slaw
Save even more by shopping your pantry before heading to the store
While we’ve created a handy shopping list below, don’t head out until you’ve checked out your pantry. If you already have some of the staples on the list at home, you can save money and prevent yourself from buying duplicates that really add up. Here are some of the key pantry staples you likely don’t need to buy again:
- Garlic (fresh, minced or granulated)
- Peanut butter (or your go-to nut butter)
- Olive oil
- Cooking spray
- Dried spaghetti
- Rolled oats
- Canned black beans
- Maple syrup
- Soy sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chicken broth
- Seasonings, including cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
Buy pantry staples in bulk
Bulk buying isn’t always the cheapest option. However, if you’re stocking your pantry, refilling staples or cooking and meal planning for a family, opting for bulk can offer savings. It’s most cost-effective to buy items in bulk that you use frequently – you won’t actually save any money if you’re buying items you don’t eat often and tossing them out. So, try to stock up on these long-lasting staples in bulk to cut your per-serving costs down:
- Dried pastas, legumes and grains
- Flour (including arrowroot, coconut and other alternative varieties)
- Seasonings and seasoning blends
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Olive oil (if you’re going through it quickly)
Proteins and dairy
- 8 oz feta cheese
- 1½ oz shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ dozen large eggs
- 1 qt milk (dairy or unsweetened rice, almond or soy milk)
- 32 oz plain whole milk yogurt
- 1 5-lb whole roaster chicken
- 1 5-oz arctic char fillet
- 1 1½-lb flank steak
- 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
Veggies and fruits
- 4 apples (1 Gala, 3 any kind)
- 1 banana
- 1¾ lb grapes
- 2 oranges
- 1 pear
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 heads garlic
- 4 lemons
- 1 avocado
- 1 large head broccoli
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 7½ oz carrots
- 1 lb green beans
- 26 oz celeriac
- 1 cucumber
- 16½ oz baby spinach
- 2 sweet onions
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 4 vine tomatoes
- 3 zucchini (2 green, 1 gold)
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 shallot
- 4 oz dried cremini mushrooms
- 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
Nuts, seeds and oils
- 1 jar natural unsalted peanut butter
- 1 bottle extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bottle olive oil
- 1 bottle safflower oil
- 4 oz unsalted walnuts
- 1 bottle olive-oil cooking spray
- 1 carton old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 box whole-wheat spaghetti
- 1 box quinoa
- 1 package whole-wheat pita rounds (5¼ inches each)
- 1 package whole-wheat hamburger buns
- 1 package whole-grain bread crumbs
Extras and pantry staples
- 1 3-oz pouch wild albacore tuna
- 1 15-oz BPA-free can unsalted black beans
- 1 8-oz container hummus
- 1 bottle pure maple syrup
- 1 jar Dijon mustard
- 1 6-oz pouch unsweetened raisins
- 1 bag arrowroot
- 1 can or tube unsalted tomato paste
- 1 bottle reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 bottle balsamic vinegar
- 1 bottle ground cinnamon
- 1 bottle ground nutmeg
- 1 bottle dried oregano
- 1 bottle garlic powder
- 1 bottle red pepper flakes
- 1 bottle ground black pepper
- 1 bottle coarse sea salt
- 1 bottle apple cider vinegar
- 1 container baking powder
- 1 container baking soda
- 1 jar unsalted tomato sauce
- 1 carton low-sodium chicken broth