healthy eating on a budget: week 5 // cait's plate

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

Healthy Eating on a Budget Week 5:

Money Spent: $55.84

Not my best week but I was out of some of the more expensive things (like eggs, ground turkey and soymilk).  I also bought a bag of frozen peaches that will last a little longer than just the week as is the case with the things like chia seeds, the 32oz. yogurt container, the cream cheese and the bag of bread crumbs.

The other main difference I’d say between this week and previous weeks was the amount of meat I bought.  I got both deli turkey and ground turkey for the meatballs…it’s crazy how much that can add to the bill!  Definitely something to keep in mind for next week.

Also important to keep in mind is the difference between “want” and “need.”  I’m getting better at distinguishing the two but I think there are still a few items on my list that I could do without!  Despite being under the maximum budget I try to stay within (which is usually $60/week) – I would ideally like to be in the $30-$40 range consistently.

Groceries Bought:

Grains: Ball of fresh whole wheat pizza dough

Produce: Bag of spinach, 3 apples, 2 pears, 2 oranges, bag of carrots, red onion, bag of avocados, medium sweet potato

Frozen: Bag of frozen peaches

Protein: 1 lb. of ground turkey breast, package of smoked turkey breast deli meat, container of hummus, carton of eggs

Pantry Items: Bag of chia seeds, bag of bread crumbs, jar of tomato sauce, can of vegetarian chili

Dairy Items: 32 oz. container of plain greek yogurt, bag of shredded mozzarella, carton of soymilk, container of whipped cream cheese

Day One:

Breakfast #1: peanut butter peach cobbler oats and coffee + soymilk in a mason jar – recipe for the oats: a little less than 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats mixed with 1 tbsp. chia seeds cooked with water according to directions with 1/4 diced frozen, thawed peaches thrown in for the last minute or so of cooking.  add hot oats to the nearly-empty peanut butter jar (or just a spoonful of peanut butter) and topped with granola.

Lunch #1: turkey, spinach and hummus on homemade 100% whole wheat bread with carrot sticks and a pear

Dinner #1: Homemade easiest-ever turkey meatballs over whole wheat penne with shredded mozzarella and a spinach salad topped with olive oil & vinegar on the side

Day Two:

Breakfast #2: 6 oz. plain greek yogurt mixed with 1 tbsp. chia seeds then topped with diced apple, crumbled homemade whole grain pumpkin bread and a spoonful of peanut butter.

Lunch #2: Repurposed my homemade turkey meatballs by placing them on top of 2 slices of my 100% homemade whole wheat bread with sauce and shredded mozzarella for an open-face turkey meatball sandwich.  on the side I had a spinach salad with carrots and red onion.

Dinner #2: Yet another use for my turkey meatballs!  I used the last of some peppers from last week, diced them up and added crumbled turkey meatballs, tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella to about 1/4 of a ball of fresh whole wheat pizza dough to make a calzone (brush with a little oil and sprinkled with oregano before baking).  I added another spinach side salad to round out the meal.

Day Three:

Breakfast #3: Bowl of frosted shredded wheat (leftover from last week) with soymilk, coffee and an orange.

Lunch #3: Hummus and veggie on 2 slices of homemade 100% whole wheat bread with an apple and carrot sticks.

Snack: This is the only day I snapped a photo of it, but I pretty much had this same snack every day this week – a slice of whole grain pumpkin bread with natural peanut butter

Dinner #3: Trader joe’s sausageless Italian sausage on a whole wheat bun with ketchup and mustard plus roasted brussel sprouts (leftover from last week) and sweet potato rounds on the side.

Day Four:

Breakfast #4: 1/2 cup oats with tbsp. chia seeds, diced frozen peaches (thawed and added in during the last minute or so of cooking) and a spoonful of sunflower seed butter.  Coffee with soymilk on side.

Lunch #4: Obsessed with this lunch: turkey, hummus, red onion and spinach on toasted homemade 100% whole wheat bread plus an orange and a carrot.

Dinner #4Homemade turkey meatballs over whole wheat penne with shredded mozzarella, a side salad and a glass of pinot nior.

Day Five:

Breakfast #5: 6 oz. plain greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds and topped with a diced apple, a crumbled piece of whole grain pumpkin bread and a drizzle of melted peanut butter

Lunch #5: 2 eggs scrambled with spinach and the last two slices of my 100% whole wheat bread topped with whipped cream cheese and an orange on the side.


Dinner #5: Veggie chili topped with plain greek yogurt, guacamole and blue corn chips with some more guacamole (which is really just mashed avocado with salt) for dipping.

I could’ve made my own pizza dough, but given that I’d made 2 batches of bread for the week, I decided to take the easy way out and buy the less than $2 pre-made ball.

Other than that, I felt I made pretty good use of the ingredients I bought as well as those I had on hand.  And despite making good use of the turkey meatballs and both breads, I never felt bored of like I was repeating the same things over and over.  The power of utilizing ingredients in unique ways!

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.



  1. Seriously, you continue to amaze me. Either the prices here in Canada are ridiculous or I still can’t figure out how to shop :(. Hahaha… I am sure I’ll figure it out, but every week I seem to spend no less than $70 and that’s with great effort. I have also become a lot better with eating what I initially plan to, other than the other night when I saw your homemade loaf and felt totally uninspired by the dinner I had planned. I went out and bought a piece of banana bread and had it with yogurt – hit. the. spot.

    Thanks for continuing to motivate me to work harder at this though. It’s really a valuable lesson. 🙂

    • Haha – it definitely takes some figuring out… I feel like I’m still not totally there! And it could totally be the price difference between the US/Canada. I’m glad the banana bread/yogurt hit the spot! My pumpkin bread/yogurt combo completely made my week 🙂

      I’m so glad you like the series and feel you’re getting something out of it! Makes me so happy to hear!

  2. great tips! i often buy chicken sausage at costco and make it into several different dishes, like you did the meatballs. and that pumpkin bread, whoa, i would have to find a way to ration it.

    • I had to put half the loaf in the freezer! It was the only way it would slow down the process of eating it 🙂 And yes! I do the same with chicken sausage, it’s another one of those awesome versatile foods 🙂

  3. Love all the leftover-remixes with the meatballs…especially the calzone! I keep forgetting to make one of those with my Trader Joe’s pizza crust! And you have seriously got me craving apples, pumpkin bread, and peanut butter now!

    • I always forget about calzones too and I don’t know why cause they’re SO good! And haha – yay! That means you’ll be whipping up some delicious pancake creations with all those things which I love! 😉

  4. I’m totally intrigued by these posts! I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to cut back on groceries once my student loans come due, and I’m getting some great ideas from you!

    Do you think you could post the exact recipe for the calzone and veggie chilli? I’ve never made calzone before and the chilli looks amazing!

    • I’m so glad you’re getting some good ideas 🙂 The exact recipe for the calzone is as follows: 1/4 or so of one ball of TJ’s fresh whole wheat pizza dough which I rolled out thin (about the size of a large dinner plate). I loaded one side with chopped tri-color peppers, crumbled turkey meatball, shredded mozzarella and marinara sauce. Then I rolled the other side over the filled side and pinched it with my fingers to seal it up. I put a couple slits in the top, brushed with a little olive oil and topped with oregano. I baked at 350 for about 20-30 minutes (until the outside was golden brown and the inside started to bubble out at the seams.

      As for the veggie chili – it was just a canned version unfortunately! I grabbed it to have on hand for a quick no-cook meal! I’ll definitely be whipping up some veggie chili this winter though so keep your eyes peeled for that recipe 🙂

  5. I’m loving this series! I am trying to get better at meal planning and reducing our grocery bill. I am curious when you are shopping… how do you plan what you are going to eat? For example, it seems like you generally have fruit with breakfast and lunch. Do you try and get x number of fruits to cover that? Maybe there isn’t a formula, but wondering if you have a method you use to figure out how to buy enough and not waste.

    • I’m so glad you like the series! There’s definitely no formula for me (although my budget would probably be better off if I strictly planned every meal for the week) – I just generally grab what I think will suffice in terms of fruit. I definitely do tend to eat it most mornings with breakfast as well as with lunch and even sometimes for snacks so I’ll grab at least 3 of each whole fruit and then will get something like grapes, strawberries, etc. that I can snack on or throw into yogurts or cereal. If you’re trying to be super strict with budget though I would definitely recommend planning each meal for the week out and then accounting for each item needed! 🙂 In fact, I should probably try to get better about doing that myself!

  6. I love seeing the emphasis on buying whole foods on a budget. It is really simple if you have a plan and if you know how to use your ingredients wisely. It is hard when you are just starting out and I know that I am constantly learning new things about feeding myself in college.

  7. I’m with Chelsea – love seeing whole foods on a budget! I wish we had a Trader Joe’s in Chattanooga! Your daily menu’s are inspiring and I appreciate the work you’re doing. Thank you so much!

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