Menu Planning for the Whole Foods Food Stamp Challenge … a Challenge!

| August 31, 2013 | 1 Comment

Friday night was a busy one for this girl, as I finished off a rough plan of meals & snacks for the first half of the month, and translated that into a shopping list for Saturday morning’s foray to Whole Foods Market to stock up.

The first shopping trip was intended to pack the pantry with food for at least 10 days, and perhaps longer.  We would need breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a healthy snack or two for two active adults – without purchasing expensive boxed/frozen/prepared foods.  Rather than go through the ordeal of creating a precise day-by-day meal plan for two weeks, I decided to come up with several possibilities for each meal, and make it Eater’s Choice. So, the menu rough-in looked something like this:

Photo by Gerald Brazell (Flickr geraldbrazell)Breakfast (all with coffee, tea or milk, depending on how the budget went!):

Lowfat Homemade Breakfast Cookies with Apples, Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts and Dried Cranberries
Homemade Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter / Fruit
Hot Oatmeal with Chopped Apples, Raisins, and Walnuts
Yogurt, Fruit, and Granola
Scrambled Eggs, Whole Grain Toast, and Fruit


Breakfast Cookie
Veggie Sticks and Hummus


Leftovers from the previous night’s dinner
Whole Wheat Pita with  Hummus, Lettuce, Red Onion, Olives, Grilled Veggies
Tuna Salad on Whole Grain Bread, Carrot Sticks, Raisins


Veggie Burgers on Whole Grain Buns, Big Mixed Salad with house vinaigrette
Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Beans & Rice) with Veggies and a Fried Egg
Spicy Peanut Noodles with Fresh Veggies and Baked Tofu
Black Bean & Veggie Chili over Fresh Corn Cornbread

….and so on

Translating all of these options into a shopping list — how many eggs?  How much flour? — took a bit of doing, as everything had to be exploded into its ingredients and then the quantities figured out. In some cases, I knew I could get my hands on certain ingredient additions, so I could plan a few things with them in mind, such as:


Goat Milk: A friend who tends goats is sometimes open to trades for bottles of milk, which I could turn into yummy cheese, kefir, or other nutritious additions to our diet
Eggs:  To our great fortune, two local friends have chickens and sometimes have surplus to trade for
Zucchini:  It’s that time of year, when I find them left anonymously on my porch)


We have a few things in the garden that I think would stay within the rules of the challenge, namely that almost anyone can grow them if they have so much as  a windowsill to work with

Greens (Kale, Lettuce, etc)
Small Hot Peppers

In the pantry already:

A few staples that I have found in nearly every rental house kitchen I’ve ever moved into:

Baking Soda
Tabasco Sauce
Baking Powder
Broth Homemade from Veg Scraps (free)

Foraging Possibilities

We have some things that populate our ditches and open spaces that I think I could put to good use:

Wild Tarragon
Chamomile (for tea)
Edible Weeds (i.e. Purslane, Dandelion, Lamb’s Quarters) for salads or green smoothies

Saturday: Shopping day!


Category: Cooking, Food, Garden, Money Saving, Organic, Whole Foods Challenge

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