healthy eating on a budget: week 4 // cait's plate

Alright!  My lowest week yet!

I attribute a HUGE part of it to shopping at Trader Joe’s.  It’s just insane how much cheaper things are there.

I also had more of a plan in mind this time around and had a good amount of leftovers from last week which helped keep things lower.

Since I mentioned last week how I wanted to try to steer away this week from the ‘one and done’ type of dish, I chose things like chicken sausage and boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I could serve multiple ways in different dishes.  For example, on Monday night I made chicken parm with one of the chicken breasts and on Tuesday night I used a chicken breast to make a mexican-type dish.

For me, I think this is a good thing to do every couple of weeks.  While having the ‘one and done’ dish definitely makes things easier, I tend to get pretty sick of whatever dish it is by the end of the week – so mixing it up every couple weeks or so gives me that variety that I crave!

Previous Weeks:

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 1

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 2

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 3

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 4:

Money Spent: $38.93

Groceries Bought:

Produce: Baby romaine, 2 peaches, 2 apples, 2 oranges, 2 pears, pint of strawberries, 2 medium sweet potatoes, carton of grapes

Frozen: Trader Joe’s frozen pizza, bag of brussel sprouts

Protein: Package of 4 chicken sausage, package of 4 meatless chicken sausage, package of boneless (only used 3 of the 5 so I adjusted the price to reflect that), skinless chicken breasts, container of hummus, jar of natural, unsalted peanut butter, 6oz. container of Oikos Cafe Latte greek yogurt

Pantry Items: Can of black beans, bag of whole wheat hot dog buns, bag of whole wheat hamburger buns, small can of chipotle peppers in a adobo sauce

Dairy Items: Carton of soymilk

Day One:

Breakfast #1: Crumbled a piece of my whole grain apple coffee cake with walnut streusel over plain greek yogurt (leftover from last week’s 32 oz. container) with chia seeds and added more diced apple.

Lunch #1: Loaded up two slices of whole wheat bread (frozen from last week) with everything hummus (!!), carrots (leftover from last week), mixed greens and the last of my onion (leftover); served with a juicy orange.

Dinner #1: Baked, unbreaded chicken parm (used leftover sauce and mozzarella cheese) over whole wheat pasta and a side salad.

Day Two:

Breakfast #2: 2 homemade whole wheat waffles topped with sunflower seed butter, greek yogurt (leftover from last week) mixed with chia seeds (for thickness) and a diced peach. Coffee with soymilk on the side.

Lunch #2: Bowl of roasted broccoli, chipotle chicken sausage, corn and sweet potato wedges plus and apple on the side

Dinner #2: Made Lindsay’s 100% whole wheat tortillas tonight and topped them with baby romaine, grilled chicken, homemade chipotle adobo greek yogurt sauce and guacamole (avocados were leftover from last week).

Day Three:

Breakfast #3: 1/2 cup oats with 1 tbsp. chia seeds mixed with diced apple in a nearly empty peanut butter jar and coffee + soymilk to drink.

Lunch #3: 2 slices of whole wheat toast topped with baby romaine, 2 fried eggs and chipotle hot sauce. orange on the side.

Dinner #3: Trader Joe’s sausageless sausage on a whole wheat bun with ketchup and mustard.  Served with roasted sweet potato rounds and brussel sprouts.

Day Four:

Breakfast #4: Last full bowl of my quaker oatmeal squares – topped with fresh strawberries and served with hot coffee with soymilk.

Lunch #4: Grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun with chipotle yogurt sauce and baby romaine. carrot sticks and red grapes on the side.

Dinner #4: Homemade 100% whole wheat tortillas filled with lettuce, black beans, chipotle yogurt sauce, guacamole and salsa (on the bottom, leftover from last week) plus blue corn chips and extra guacamole on the side.

Snack: Oikos cafe latte greek yogurt with chocolate chips and peanuts while studying!

Day Five:

Breakfast #5: Plain greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds and topped with sunflower seed butter, peaches and granola (leftover from week one)

Lunch #5: Hummus and veggie sliders on whole wheat buns with an apple

Dinner #5: trader joe’s roasted vegetable pizza and a baby romaine side salad

Overall I have to say that I was really happy with this week.  I got the variety that I felt I was missing in the past 3 weeks but still managed to stay within my budget – doesn’t get much better than getting the best of both worlds if you ask me 🙂

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 not a huge snacker but when I feel like I need something I’ll grab whatever I have on hand. Whether it’s a piece of fruit with some nut butter, my homemade peanut butter chocolate chip energy bites (I make a batch most weeks), some blue corn chips with guacamole, carrots with hummus, popcorn, etc. When thinking about what to have, I’ll always consult what I’m craving (sweet/salty, etc.) and also think about food groups I might be a little low in and try to sneak those things into it too 🙂

    • They were SO good! Making your own tortillas is a total game changer – I don’t think I can ever go back to store bought!

    • I knew you could appreciate the greek yogurt snack most of anyone 😉 It’s just so good. And yes! Definitely look for this pizza – Amy’s makes a similar one (which is just as amazing so if you can’t find the TJ’s, keep your eyes peeled for the Amy’s 🙂 The whole thing is so good you don’t even miss the cheese!

  1. I’m in shock right now. OMG, I cannot believe how little you spent this past week. That’s unreal. I really have to figure out how to follow your lead. I think that I really need to sit down and think about what kind of meals that I’ll be eating for the week. I am terrible with that because I normally like to just figure things out as the week progresses and as my taste buds dictate. The few times I have tried to stick to a plan and for instance prepped my meals in advance, I didn’t feel like it when the time came to eat it. I can’t get over how well thought out your meals are, how beautifully they are presented and how economically reasonable it is to eat that way!

    • I’m the same way and actually that’s one of the things I thought I’d struggle with most when it came to eating on a budget but I’m finding that I can still get some good variety in and really pick and choose from meal to meal what I want. That’s definitely been the best thing that I’ve taken away from all of this is that eating healthy on a budget does NOT have to mean eating the same thing over and over! My best advice to you is to just buy things that are versatile so that you can create a lot of different things out of them. For example I bought the chicken breasts this week and was able to make tacos, chicken parm and a sandwich out of them so they all felt like totally different meals! 🙂

  2. I have been loving your eating on a budget recap posts! I’ll have to reference these whenever people tell me that eating healthy on a budget is too expensive. 🙂 I’ve had that cafe latte yogurt snack on my mind ever since you posted it on Instagram – I’ll have to pick some up at the store today!

    • Oh I’m so glad to hear it! 🙂 And I’m happy you feel like they could be a useful tool for those that feel healthy eating is too expensive – it’s my goal to get people to realize that it doesn’t have to be!

      Definitely pick up some of the Oikos Cafe Latte yogurt – let me know what you think if you try it! 🙂

  3. Holy moly. I’m so impressed. Taking a note from you…Meeker and I meal planned every single meal this week, and we did a little better budget wise, too! Thanks for all the ideas/inspiration!

  4. Did you move out of Charlotte for this year of school? Are you in Boston these days? Would love your restaurant/grocery store tips for the Boston area if so!

    • I am! In terms of grocery stores – I tend to go to those that are closest to my place which are Star Market and Trader Joe’s. I personally love Trader Joe’s because being on a budget, it’s just so much more affordable. Apparently we’re getting a Wegman’s in Chestnut Hill (!!!) though so I may have to make the trip out there when that happens!

      As for restaurants – there are just SO many I could recommend. My favorites include: Union Oyster House, Mike’s Pastry, Cantina Italiana (Italian food), Thinking Cup (which is a bakery and cafe), Flour Bakery (breakfast, brunch, lunch), Sweet (cupcakes), PICCO (pizza and ice cream place), Cactus Club (mexican food) and Stephanie’s on Newbury (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner), Eastern Standard…I could go on forever! Pretty much wherever you eat you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

  5. Great post! Have you tried trader joe’s tempeh? It is crazy high in protein and less than $2! I always stock up on the tempeh and their frozen meatless balls when i go.

    • I have! Both the tempeh and veggie meatballs are actually two of my favorites and haven’t picked up either in a while! Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

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