Money-Saving Meal Method: How you can afford to eat organically all week

Let’s face it- food is expensive. Food is even more expensive if you buy organic and/or non-GMO products. I’ve made the decision to go all organic, and thus I have to make up for the extra cost in order to stay within my budget.

I am not a vegetarian, though I find myself eating less and less meat. I don’t eat any red meat at home because my husband doesn’t. He eats poultry and fish so I make and eat those. I don’t miss the red meat at home- it’s expensive and not as healthy for you. So I’m definitely not complaining!

 
I have a system I use for stretching my dollars and it’s been working extremely well. The method is: eat a “whole piece” of chicken or fish only once a week, use one pound of ground turkey/chicken (or beef) stretched over two meals, organic sausage for one or two meals, and vegetarian options for the remaining meals.

Vegetarian for two or three nights?! Yes. It’s so easy and satisfying. Vegetarian doesn’t mean no protein. It means proteins that didn’t come from animals. It means INEXPENSIVE proteins. Beans and lentils are my go-to. A 15.5 ounce can of organic beans at my local grocery store costs $0.99. A can of organic lentils is $2.19, but I avoid those if possible because I can get a much better deal if the lentils are dry and I re-hydrate them myself (but that takes planning ahead- canned lentils work well in a pinch and are still a fraction of the cost of meat). Dry  beans are also cheaper than canned and are a great if you plan ahead (which also saves you money!).

Here is a sample weekly menu:

Sunday: Organic pizza night. I love Amy’s organic pizza. Frozen pizza that uses only organic ingredients and is in the process of getting non-GMO certified. They also make vegan and gluten free pizza options! I take organic chicken sausage and dice it to add on top of the pizza, along with some fresh (or frozen) organic veggies. The package of organic sausage has 6 links- I’ll use three here and save the other three for later in the week or freeze them for another time. The pizza makes four slices, 2 for each of us and is very filling. If I go light on the veggies or if I don’t use sausage, I’ll also make a salad.

pizza

Monday and Tuesday: (I make enough for both days on Monday) Meatloaf or meatballs made from organic ground turkey or chicken and organic veggies. There are a ton of great recipes I use-many to be posted soon! Organic veggies or a salad on the side.

meatballs

Wednesday and Thursday: (I make enough for both days on Wednesday) Veggie burgers- I have a dozen different ones I make so we never get tired of them. They are so good- I eat them without a roll, my husband often puts his on a roll with cheese and condiments like a real burger. I just eat mine with a knife and fork. Sometimes I put a little organic goat cheese and vinegar on top. Organic veggies on the side. If I don’t use sweet potatoes in the burger I sometimes make baked sweet potato fries- again, recipes to come!

veggie burgerFriday: Pasta. I buy sprouted organic pasta, but it can be expensive, so I sometimes go with 100% whole wheat organic.  I’ll use some of the fresh veggies left over from the other meals, or if I have any left over ground turkey/chicken or sausage links I’ll add them to the sauce to make it nice and hearty. I often do my sauce with just veggies. Makes more than 2 servings, so the rest go to our lunch the next day.

Pasta

Saturday: Whole protein night! Organic chicken breasts or fish/seafood, depending on what organic seafood my grocery store has. Sometimes they have none- when that happens, we go with chicken. Organic veggie, and an organic starch, like rice or potatoes. Sometimes I’ll cut up two whole chicken breasts to make a stir-fry.

stirfry

This is just a sample menu- the possibilities are endless. The more organic ground meat you use in place of “whole” proteins, the more you save. If you make more vegetarian meals that week, you save even MORE. It’s really up to you.
 
Can it be an adjustment to go from meat, vegetable, starch every night? Sure. But with good recipes it is easy, delicious, satisfying, and very budget friendly. A win four times over!
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13 thoughts on “Money-Saving Meal Method: How you can afford to eat organically all week

  1. We make organic pizza from scratch in our house it is very budget friendly. Once every few months I will spend a day making a bunch of pizza dough then wrap it up and stick it in the freezer to use later. Just take it out the day before you use it and let it thaw out in the fridge and let it proof an hour or so before you make the pizza. This is a pretty good recipe here if you are interested in trying it. http://www.realfoodgirlunmodified.com/fail-proof-organic-pizza-dough/
    Here is also a recipe for a sourdough crust that I have been meaning to try. Maybe I will next time.
    http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/recipes/maindish/organic-soaked-sourdough-pizza-crust-recipe/
    -K

    • That’s too funny, we had pizza tonight since it’s football night and my husband asked me if I could make a homemade version! I will definitely check out the recipe, thanks so much for sharing it. Tonight we did organic cheese-free roasted vegetable pizza, I added sauteed onion, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese- all organic!

  2. I would love to get your recipes for veggie burgers. I’ve never tried making these before so any tips and tricks would be helpful.

    • Definitely! Here is a good veggie burger that I came up with: Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers

      I’ll post my “hummus” burger recipe next, they’re really tasty. I didn’t get into veggie burgers until I turned 25- WAY too late. They’ve come a long way since the frozen patties people had when we were kids. To make veggie burgers you need some type of protein and a binding agent (in the above recipe, the sweet potato holds it all together). In my hummus burgers I puree chickpeas until they’re the consistency of mashed sweet potatoes. Once you learn the method the possibilities are endless- keep an eye out for the hummus version tomorrow, I’m snowed in and off from work so there will be plenty of time!

  3. Mmmm everything looks great! I always try to buy organic, but it definitely gets pricey sometimes–though as a vegetarian, I do love how cheaply I can find beans and lentils! Your veggie burgers especially look delicious, any recipes? (: I’ve never thought of pouring vinegar on them–I’ll have to try!

    • Yes! Here are the two I’ve posted so far: black bean sweet potato burgers and “hummus” burgers

      For whatever reason, I don’t like ketchup on veggie burgers, but I love the acid in vinegar, it brings out the brightness in the veggies! Let me know what you think when you try them! My husband literally ate two bites of the hummus burger mix when I wasn’t looking, that’s how obsessed with them he is- he couldn’t wait until they were cooked.

      • Thank you! Both look delicious–I will definitely have to give them a try! And haha, I think sometimes the hardest part of cooking is trying to make sure I don’t eat all of the batters/mix before I actually cook the food!

  4. Hi! Stumbled across your blog after you followed mine, and I’m so glad I did! I am increasingly incorporating more organic into my kitchen, and always looking for ways to do so on a budget. Looking forward to more stuff from you! 🙂

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