healthy eating on a budget: week 3 // cait's plate

So after my encouraging week last week – I went up again!

I definitely attribute it to lack of planning.  I was running low on time and had to get my groceries so I just kind of ran in with a semi-baked plan in my head.  I also wanted to bake something to have a little different for snacks and breakfast which I think drove the price up a bit as well.

Overall, despite being up from last week, it’s still within a decent realm and it lets me know that shopping without a plan just doesn’t work!

Previous Weeks:

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 1

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 2

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 3:

Money Spent: $47.42

Groceries Bought:

Produce: 2 peaches, 2 pears, 2 apples, 2 oranges, pint of strawberries, bag of apples, bag of spinach, bag of avocados, bag of carrots

Protein: Package of deli turkey, package of beefless ground beef, carton of 12 eggs

Pantry Items: Loaf of whole wheat bread, bag of penne pasta, 2 cans of pumpkin

Dairy Items: 32 oz. container of greek yogurt, bag of shredded reduced-fat mozzarella, unsalted butter (for baking), container of feta cheese

Day One

Breakfast #1: A little less than 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 tbsp. chia seeds, diced peach, sunflower seed butter and granola

Lunch #1: Turkey, hummus and spinach on whole wheat bread with carrot sticks (left over from week 1) and a pear

Dinner #1: Individual vegetarian baked pasta bowl – whole wheat pasta, spicy arrabbiata pasta sauce simmered with sautéed tricolor peppers, zucchini and trader joe’s beefless ground beef crumbles all topped with reduced-fat mozzarella and baked.

Day Two:

Breakfast #2: 2 homemade whole wheat belgian waffles topped with peanut butter, greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds and diced apple

Lunch #2: Leftover whole wheat pasta and arrabbiata sauce with sautéed veggies from last night topped with feta plus an orange on the side.

Dinner #2: Used my arrabiata sauce with sautéed veggies and @traderjoeslist beefless ground beef as a base for my whole wheat pizza dough – topped with mozzarella and oregano!

Day Three

Breakfast #3: Quaker oatmeal squares with soymilk, an apple and coffee

Lunch #3: 2 egg scramble with spinach and mediterranean herb-spiced feta cheese. whole wheat toast and a pear on the side.

Dinner #3: Roasted corn and beefless ground beef burrito bowl over brown rice topped with plain greek yogurt, salsa and homemade guac

Day Four

Breakfast #4: Peanut butter apple oats with chia seeds and coffee

Lunch #4: Turkey and feta with spinach on whole wheat with an apple

Dinner #4: 2 slices of leftover whole wheat pizza with spicy vegetarian meat & vegetable sauce and a side salad

Day Five:

Breakfast #5: Greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds and topped with fresh peach slices, granola and sunflower seed butter.

Lunch #5: Avocado & feta whole wheat toasts with carrot sticks and an apple

Dinner #5: big salad topped with last slice of my leftover pizza chopped up into ‘croutons’

Post-Week Takeaways:

  1. Not that I don’t already know this – but ALWAYS have a plan!  This week ended up working out okay in the end but I felt low on fruit towards the end and veggies for most of the week (despite my sauce having 4 different vegetables in it)
  2. Next week I might try to buy something for a main dish (i.e. boneless, skinless chicken breasts) that I can cook in a variety of different ways.  While having one main dish is amazing in terms of time, I get pretty sick of whatever that thing is by the end of the week!
  3. I need more fruits and vegetable variety for next week (same thing I said last week – you think I would have learned!)


disclaimer: i share these meals for inspiration and because i’m often asked for the recipes on instagram.  please note that i do not share these meals with the intention of them being prescriptive or because you should eat exactly what i eat.  everyone is different and requires different calories and nutrition.  if you’re seeking an individualized plan for you, consult a dietitian in your area.



    • I’m so glad they give you some inspiration! They’ve definitely helped me to get a little more creative with leftovers so I’m happy to know they’re helping others as well 🙂

    • Haha don’t worry! I completely know the feeling! I’m glad you like the posts though! And yeah, I can’t believe it took me this long to think of pizza croutons – they’re amazing!

  1. I’m with Laura! Life is crazy! That’s why I really like Instagram. i feel like I can keep up whenever I have a few minutes. Love this series. We’ve been working on budgeting better with food. It’s really hard with the boys growing. Some days they aren’t really that hungry and then some days I feel like they eat everything in the house in one day!

    • I totally agree – Instagram is great for that exact reason! And haha I can only imagine what it must be like with growing boys in the house!! Being on a budget in general is hard but being on a budget with growing kids is REALLY a challenge 🙂

    • Aw, I’m glad you think they are! I feel like I have a long ways to go but I’m so happy you enjoy them 🙂 It definitely was a delicious week of meals…I’m learning that leftovers aren’t that bad after all!

  2. All of your pictures are gorgeous!! As an RD, it’s nice to see the meals turned out pretty well balanced – proves to show you can still eat healthy on a budget 🙂

    • I’m so glad you think so! As a student studying to become an RD, it’s definitely important to me that I’m showing as much balance as possible…even as a broke grad school student! 🙂

  3. Gorgeous pictures (as usual) and lovely meals! Have you ever thought of doing a hash? Sweet potato chunks, kale, onion, peppers, diced apple, chicken sausage, beans… pretty much anything that can be tossed in a pan and sauteed. A pretty casual comfort meal if you have any leftovers 🙂

    • Ahahaha – you’re very welcome! I’m glad you’re finding it useful. As a broke grad student, I can totally relate 😉

  4. Hey Cait! I was just wondering what brand/kind of whole wheat bread you use and also what kind of hummus you buy! Thanks so much.

    • Hi Avery! I usually buy whatever brand is the cheapest so long as the ingredient list isn’t super long, there’s no high fructose corn syrup and that stats look okay (less than 5 grams of sugar, whole wheat flour listed as the 1st ingredient, at least 2 grams of dietary fiber). That said, brands that I really like are Pepperidge Farms 100% Whole Wheat bread, Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread and Vermont Bread Company Whole Wheat Bread.

      As for hummus, the same thing sort of goes with that. However, I really like Trader Joe’s, Tribe and Sabra.

      I would say as long as you’re checking labels (making sure they’re not too long and there are not a ton of weird ingredients in it that you can’t pronounce!) and all things are equal in that area, then just go with whatever you think tastes best! 🙂

  5. Thank you so much Cait! Your seriously such a help to me and my college budget! Your awesome and I love your creative/healthy/cheap food ideas. Thanks so much! Oh and this is THE BEST hummus I have ever tasted EVER. My favorite is the original with the roasted red bell pepper coming in at close second. You gotta give them a try! SO GOOD. Thanks again! Looking forward to Week 4 and new pics on insta!!

  6. Do you find that you eat smaller portions when you are watching your budget this closely and yet it is not as if you are starving?

    For me that is one of the big takeaways when I am a hawk with my budget. I know precisely what I am eating, in terms of quantity, and that helps ‘stretch’ the budget but I am not starving myself either.

    • Definitely! It’s funny how that works out – it really opens your eyes to how simple it is to overeat when you’re not paying attention to it!

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