I asked on Facebook, how much do you spend on your weekly grocery items. It gave me a ballpark figure of $120 to feed my family of four for a week. This meal plan does just that without compromising on nutrition. The pricing could be even more reduced if I were to buy frozen veggies instead of fresh and/or meat in bulk.
Eating on a budget does need to be planned and consideration of our dietary guidelines will ensure we are not missing out on nutrients. We need a variety of vitamins in our diet because not only does each vitamin have a specific job to do, they act as catalysts. Vitamins are necessary for the release of energy from the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that we eat. We need minerals to support many of our metabolic processes. Vegetables provide us with many of these important nutrients. Research from the Wesley Medical Research team (2014) tells us that in a regional Central Queensland town, only 10% of residents eat sufficient vegetables. All the dinners in this plan include vegetables, however to increase the plant food intake, serve meals with a side salad or small bowl of veggies. Add greens to smoothies and if you have a sandwich or wrap load it with salad.
I was super happy when my grocery receipt was $118. Included in the shopping list, were oats for porridge, frozen berries, bread, nuts, rice cakes & popcorn kernels. Most of the meals in this meal plan will provide leftovers for lunch. However, you may have to cook some extra foods like roast veggies, boiled eggs, quinoa or rice, pumpkin soup for work lunches and perhaps bake something like a chocolate slice (with hidden veg) for the little ones.
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Make burritos with the left over mince from Monday.
Add to the mince: a can of mixed beans, 1 cup cooked rice (optional).
Heat and add to a wrap.
Serve with steamed corn cobs (steam in Varoma whilst cooking some rice).
To find out more on the Australian dietary guidelines:
Source: National Health and Medical Research Council