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When you’re trying to reverse heart disease or lose some weight, it always helps to plan your meals. The following is a week of sample menus to help you get started. I’ve included a grocery list that includes all the food you will need for the entire week of breakfasts, lunches and dinners (including snacks and a few essentials for your freezer and for leftovers) for under $48 for the week and on average $5 -$6 a day.

All the food on the shopping list will help you to create nutrient-rich meals and snacks.

These meals and snacks are packed with cost savings and health savings. All the food on the shopping list will help you to create nutrient-rich meals and snacks abundant in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protective antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals. The food is naturally low in total fat, trans and saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Your Grocery List

Total Cost for a Week of Groceries: $36.55

Total Cost a Day: $5.22

Grocery List             Amount   Yield       Cost  

brown rice, dry 1 lb7 cups (cooked)$0.80
black beans, dry1 lb8 cups (cooked)$2
garbanzo beans, dry1 lb8 cups (cooked)$1.70
whole grain pasta1 lb 8 cups (cooked)$1.24
white beans, canned15 oz $.80
Corn or whole grain tortillas8-30 $2.29
Oats, bulk1 c2 cups (cooked)$.60
whole grain bread (half loaf for the week) $1.00
Frozen  
mixed vegetables1 lb $1.39
Berries1 lb $3.00
Perishable   
soy milk, unsweetenedhalf gal$3.69
nonfat cheese optional7 oz$2.99
Nonfat Greek yogurt4- 5.3 oz$3.80
egg whites (or egg substitute)dozen$1.99
Fresh Produce   
Broccoli1 lb $1.70
Spinach1 lb 2.00
Mixed Greens1 lb 2.00
Kale1 bag (pre-cut 14 oz) or 2 fresh bunches $2.50
Onions2 $.50
Apples35$ .75
garlicbulb$.80
sweet potatoes1/2 lb$1.00
Carrots1 lb$.75
Extra firm tofu 14 oz$1.79
Fresh fruit of choice; look for seasonal and on sale; choose variety5-8-1.25-2.25$1.60
Bottled / Canned 
Tomato sauce15 oz$2.99
Salsa 15 oz$1.99

The following are examples of quick and easy meals that can be “assembled” with the pre-prepared batch cooking that we described in last week’s post Top 10 Ways to Eat Healthier Under $6 a Day  and summarized below to provide a headstart for your heart-healthy week.

  •  1 lb beans: cook in a slow cooker, pressure cooker or stove top
  • 1 lb brown rice: cook in rice cooker, steamer or pressure cooker
  • 1 lb whole grain pasta: boil
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes: bake
  • Chop veggies for quick and easy assembly meals

Simple Sample Meals

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Break fastBerry OatmealSouthwest Breakfast Burrito Fresh FruitWhole Grain Cinnamon French Toast Fruit & Yogurt ToppingEgg white Veggie Scramble Country-Style Sweet PotatoHeart Healthy Cereal Soy milk          FruitApple-Spiced OatmealTofu Veggie Scramble Country-Style Sweet Potatoes
SnackGreek Yogurt ParfaitGarden Greens SmoothieFresh FruitGreek Yogurt ParfaitFresh FruitFresh Fruit
LunchHummus Veggie sandwich AppleReversal Salad Carmelized Onion QuesadillaBBQ Chopped Salad Baked corn chipsReversal Salad Chili Baked PotatoReversal Salad Curry Sweet Potato SoupReversal Salad Black Bean BurritoVegetable soup Confetti Pasta Salad
SnackFresh FruitCarrots sticks + Reversal hummusFruit SmoothieMini quesadillaSlice of whole grain bread+ HummusSpicy Bean Dip Baked Corn ChipsApple
DinnerReversal Salad EnchiladaTofu and Vegetable Stir-fryReversal Salad Cajun Beans & RiceTasty Meatless TacosReversal Salad Mediterranean or Southwest PizzaAsian Stir-fryReversal Salad Spaghetti Fresh Fruit

Grab Breakfast on a Budget

Berry Oatmeal: oatmeal + thawed frozen berries + soy milk

Southwest Breakfast: scramble egg whites + black beans + salsa + nonfat cheese + corn or whole grain tortilla

Whole Grain French Toast: Mix ¼ c plain soymilk + egg white + 1 tsp vanilla + dash cinnamon + 1-2 slices whole grain bread

Directions:

  1. Coat with milk/egg white mixture
  2. Heat nonstick skillet on medium-high
  3. Place coated bread on heated skillet and cook until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes each side). Top with nonfat yogurt and fruit.

Nonfat Greek Yogurt + Berries

Simple Egg White Veggie Scramble: 3-4 egg whites or egg substitute + 1 tsp nutritional yeast ½ – 1 c fresh spinach (optional); add other vegetables of choice + salsa + add salt, pepper & spices to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat nonstick skillet on medium heat
  2. Add egg whites and scramble
  3. Add spinach and option vegetables and spices/herbs
  4. Continue to scramble until egg whites are fully cooked

Simple Cereal: Cereal + soy milk + fruit. Whole grain, low in fat (≤ 3 gm fat) and sugar and high in fiber (≥3 gm fiber)

Apple Spiced Oatmeal: Oatmeal + chopped apple + cinnamon + optional sweetener to taste

Smoothies (Garden Greens or Fruit) : 1 cup soy or other nondairy milk or 1 cup water + ½ c choice of fruit or veggies + optional sweetener such as stevia to taste

Directions: Blend all ingredients until smooth. Optional: Add water for larger smoothie and add more produce, as desired.

(Use left over produce pieces or frozen produce. See “Trash to Treasure” section in 10 Ways to Eat Healthier Under $6 a Day.) 

Reversal Salad: Greens + chopped veggies + reversal salad dressing + optional protein: beans.

Greek Yogurt Parfait: Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt + fresh fruit + whole grains (whole grain cereal, oats or brown rice) +optional sweetener such as stevia to taste

Quick & Easy Recipes

Salads & Dressings

Reversal Salad: Choice of greens + chopped veggies + fat-free salad dressing (see recipes below) + optional protein: beans or baked tofu

  • Basic Balsamic: ½ c balsamic vinegar + ½ tsp dried basil + 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Citrus Balsamic: 1 c balsamic vinegar + 2 T Dijon mustard + squeeze of orange + 1 tsp of herbs of choice (oregano, rosemary, thyme) + optional: honey or stevia to taste
  • Curry Dressing: 1/3 c nonfat yogurt + 1 T rice vinegar + 1 tsp curry powder + 1 tsp nutritional yeast + optional: pinch of cayenne pepper

For additional salad dressing tips and techniques to thicken dressings, read our post on transforming your salad dressing.

Veggie Sandwich: whole grain bread + Hummus (used cooked garbanzo beans) + veggies

Enchilada: layer tortilla + black beans + brown rice + enchilada sauce (homemade* or store bought) + spinach + onions + other veggies of choice)

*Homemade Enchilada Sauce: 1. Mix dry Mexican spice blend ingredients together: 2 T chili powder + ½ tsp cumin + ¼ tsp onion powder + ¼ tsp garlic powder. Heat on stovetop over medium heat, 1 cup tomato sauce, ¾ c water and spice blend. Thicken with thickening agent such as 1 flour, cornstarch or kuzu to desired thickness. For more thickening techniques, see Transform Your Salad Dressing.

Caramelized Onion Quesadilla: whole grain tortilla + carmelized oninion* + spinach + black beans + nonfat cheese; optional: mixed veggies

Directions:

  1. Slice or dice 1/8 onion
  2. In a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat on stovetop, heat onion, caramelize by dry sauteing, add a pinch of salt to draw moisture out of onion and provides the sweet caramelizing of onion, cook until translucent and lightly browned, set aside
  3. Add to onions ½- 1 c spinach and ½ c cooked black beans
  4. Heat tortilla in skillet, add beans, onion, spinach mixture in on one side of tortilla, add optional nonfat cheese and fold over tortilla
  5. Flip tortilla to lightly brown each side of quesadilla

Stir-fries: frozen mixed vegetables + garbanzo beans or tofu +brown rice soy sauce + Asian, curry or your choice of spices

Chili Potato: baked potato + southwest chili; optional: nonfat cheese + additional veggies

Southwest Chili: Black beans + salsa+ chili powder

BBQ Chopped Salad: Black beans marinated with BBQ sauce + mixed greens + diced sweet potatoes + sliced onion

BBQ Sauce: simple pantry ingredients: ¾ c ketchup + 1 garlic clove + 1 T cider vinegar + 1 ½ T vegan Worcestershire sauce + ¾ tsp paprika + ½ tsp pepper + 1/8 tsp salt + ¼ c water

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan over medium heat
  2. Bring to boil, stirring until mixed well
  3. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for about 30 minutes until sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon

Baked Tortilla Chips:

Directions:

  1. Cut tortilla into triangle shapes size of a tortilla chip
  2. Preheat oven 425 degree
  3. Bake tortilla on baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 10 minutes or microwave for 1-2 minutes

Cajun Beans & Rice: brown rice + black beans + 1 tsp cajun spice + spinach or kale + salsa or hot sauce

Tasty Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos (makes 2):  2 Tortillas + 1 c black beans + 2 T finely diced onion + ½ garlic clove+ ½ tsp chili powder; optional: diced baked or roasted sweet potato + shredded lettuce + salsa + hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Prep ingredients
  2. In dry nonstick skillet over medium heat, add onion, garlic and cook until translucent, tender and lightly browned
  3. Stir in cooked black beans and sweet potato, chili powder and 2 T of salsa
  4. Reduce heat to low until warmed
  5. Warm tortillas in oven; serve with taco mix for tacos
  6. Add shredded lettuce and optional nonfat cheese, salsa and hot sauce

Curry Sweet Potato Soup (serves 2): Puree = 1 c vegetable broth (from freezer stock ) + 1 baked sweet potato (mashed) + curry powder + ¼ c black beans + ½ clove minced garlic + ¼ c finely diced onion

Directions:

  1. Prep ingredients
  2. In dry nonstick skillet over medium heat, add onion, garlic, and curry powder, cook, stirring for about 1-2 minutes until onion and garlic are translucent and lightly browned.
  3. Add stock and mashed potato and bring to boil, stirring until smooth
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes

Mediterranean Pizza: whole grain tortilla + hummus + spinach + tomato + sliced onion + optional: nonfat cheese

Southwest Pizza: corn tortilla + nonfat fat refried beans (mashed black or pinto beans with Mexican spice blend) + spinach + tomato + optional: nonfat cheese

Black Bean Burrito: whole grain +tortilla + brown rice+ black beans + nonfat cheese (optional) + salsa

Vegetable Soup: 1 c vegetable broth (see link for homemade broth ) + 1-2 T tomato paste (in pantry) + 1 frozen vegetable

Directions: Add ingredients to sauce pan and heat. Season with herb, spices, salt, pepper and optional hot sauce.

Confetti Pasta Salad: 1 cooked whole grain pasta + 1 cup chopped lightly steamed fresh or frozen mixed vegetables + 2 T choice of salad dressings

Directions: Mix together in a large bowl

Spaghetti: whole wheat pasta + white beans + marinara sauce (homemade with fresh tomatoes)

Savvy & Simple Snacks:

  • Fresh produce on sale, such as apples, oranges, berries, banana
  • Chopped fresh or steamed veggies, such as carrots, cauliflower and broccoli
  • Nonfat plain yogurt with thawed frozen fruit such as berries or peaches
  • Hummus with veggies, whole grain bread, or baked tortilla chips
  • Baked or roasted sweet potato or yam
  • Oats with nonfat or nondairy milk or nonfat yogurt
  • Fruit or Garden Greens Smoothie
  • Bean dip: blend black beans + salsa + garlic
  • Parfait: nonfat Greek yogurt + berries + oats or low fat cereal

What are your quick and easy meals that helps you stay on a healthy budget?

Contributed by

Carra Richling
Registered Dietitian

Eat well, be well!

Better Health Begins With You...

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