Hello everyone, and welcome back to our Thursday blog, Cooking with Bae! Today, we have an article for you about meal planning as a couple from nutritionist Rose Carr. This article provides meal recipes to try, as well as shopping lists to serve as a guide for couples who are looking for healthy meals on a budget. The shopping lists include items for the provided recipes as well as staple items that are needed for everyday meals and snacks. Meal planning is one of the stressors in household management, so hopefully this guide in meal planning will help make for a more smoothly-running home.
-Amanda, Social Media Coordinator, EverydayDateNight.com
By Rose Carr – MSc (Hons), Senior Nutritionist Originally published March 2010, Modified April 17, 2019
It can be difficult trying to cut your food bill spending and getting all the nutrition you need. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve done the sums and prepared this weekly couples menu plan to show how you can save on your food shopping– and keep a healthy diet as well.
This menu is based on the nutrition needs of an average man (M) and average woman (W), aged 31-50. A younger couple will need a little more, an older couple slightly less.
Nutritionist Rose Carr says: “Feel free to make substitutions in this menu, for example, change the type of cereal. And bake the slice at the weekend so you have economical sweet snacks for the week.
- Average couple cost: $160
- Our menu: $124
- Save $36
- $36 per week for a year = $1,872 = 18 restaurant dinners!
How are menus are made
This menu plan covers every meal and snack for the week, and includes all of the nutrition every member of the household needs– all the energy, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals we need to be healthy (based on guidelines from the Ministry of Health). Using recipes from our archive, we’ve created menus that are also significantly cheaper than the average food costs for different households.
How we shopped
We’ve priced this menu based on an average budget-friendly supermarket. We followed these rules:
- We bought things on special whenever possible.
- We used as much seasonal produce as possible.
- We chose supermarket’s “own brand” products when they were the cheapest option available.
- We bought bulk packs of staple items and allowed for storage in pantry and freezer.
- We included homemade versions of pre-packaged products such as hummus and pesto.
- We made our own yoghurt (using bought mixes– save even more by doing it from scratch).
NOTE: Some ingredients on the shopping lists are things you need for the recipes in the menus, that you won’t need to buy every week. This means your initial shopping trip may cost slightly more, but in future, your shopping will be cheaper.
You can achieve even bigger savings by
- Checking out the specials at specialty butchers and fruit and vege shops
- Checking all the bulk bins for dry goods
- Shopping at Asian supermarkets for specialty Asian ingredients
- Shopping at roadside stalls and farmers’ markets for fruit and veges
- Buying items in bulk then freezing them, such as meat and cheese on special
- Planting your own herbs, salad mix, spinach, silver beet, and other veges
Shopping List: Basics
Buy once a month (or as needed): These pantry basics are things you may not buy every week. We recommend buying in bulk and storing.
- Canned chickpeas
- Canned lentils
- Canned tomatoes
- Cooking oil spray
- Dried chickpeas
- Dried herbs
- Dried lentils
- Flour (white, wholemeal)
- Onions (red, brown, as required)
Shopping List: Luxuries
Buy occasionally: These occasional purchases are not included in the main shopping lists. Buy these as budget allows, when on special.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Herb paste
- Nut oils such as walnut and sesame
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
Weekly menu plans
- Menu plan for couples (see DOWNLOAD link at bottom of page)
- Menu plan for families (links to article)
- Menu plan for singles (links to article)
Links to recipes
- High-energy slice
- Red lentil bolognese
- Greek shepherd’s pie
- Chicken fried rice
- Tuna and chickpea pasta
- Tasty vege curry
- Lemon chicken
- Chicken and tomato fettuccine
- Tuna macaroni bake
Weekly shopping list
Fruits and veges
- Avocado (1)
- Bananas (14)
- Cabbage (1)
- Capsicums (2)
- Carrots (2)
- Ginger (1 chunk)
- Green beans (250g)
- Kiwis (8)
- Lemons (2)
- Lettuce/salad greens (1)
- Mushrooms (100g)
- Necarines (10)
- Spinach (bunch)
- Spring onions (1 bunch)
- Tomatoes (10)
- Brown rice (200g)
- Chocolate wheaten biscuits (1 pkt)
- Coconut (1 pkt)
- Dried cranberries (1/2 cup)
- Fruit digestive biscuits
- Mixed nuts (150g)
- Multigrain bread (2 loaves)
- Nut/muesli bars (1 pkt)
- Pasta shells (1 pkt)
- Peanut butter
- Peanuts (150g)
- Red curry paste
- Red lentils (1 cup)
- Rolled oats (1 pkt)
- Sliced almonds (70g)
- Spaghetti (1 pkt)
- Sultanas (1 cup)
- Weet-Bix (1 sml box)
- Wholegrain rice crackers (1 pkt)
- Yoghurt mix to make (2 L)
- Apple sauce (250g can)
- Baked beans (420g can)
- Chickpeas (2 x 400g cans)
- Lentils (400g can)
- Mexican-style beans (400g can)
- Tomatoes (2 x 400g cans)
- Tuna (3 x 185g cans)
- Cheddar cheese (1 sml block)
- Eggs (dozen)
- Low-fat ice cream (2 L tub)
- Mixed veges (frozen, 1 pkt)
- Stir-fry veges (frozen, 1 pkt)
- Trim milk (2 L)
- Pizza base (1, or make your own)
- Chicken thighs or breasts (1kg)
- Lamb or beef mince (400g)
If you the fruit in this menu is out of season, or expensive in your area, substitute other fruit– whatever’s on special! The same goes for veges.
This article was originally posted here.