Plant Based on a Budget Challenge – the organic way

Plant Based on a Budget is one of my favorite blogs. Last November they provided meal plans for just $25 per week/per person! They put SO much effort into this and I think it’s just an incredible job they’re doing πŸ™‚

I like buying organic and I mean really prefer it over conventional stuff due to various reasons which come through my job where I’m working on changing the regulations for pesticides. Organic farmers definitely need the consumer’s support as it’s a tough challenge, especially for small farmers. Organic farming also is proven to be healthy not just for the people buying the produce, but also for farm workers and the environment. I’d rather save some money on clothes or other stuff, just to buy organic. Maybe crazy for some of you, but it’s what I consider a consistent lifestyle, especially when working against toxic chemicals and for a healthier planet on every level.

Anyway, that’s why I had the idea of making the organic Plant Based on a Budget Challenge to find out how much more this Challenge would cost if buying mostly organic. I also like to support my local Food Coop here in town. To save some money, I work there four hours per week (remotely). For that work they credit me 16.5% discount which is awesome. A coop is a great alternative grocery store where fair wages are being paid, where you can find lots of organic items on their shelves and a huge number of vegan items compared to regular supermarkets. Some people say it’s pricier there, but believe me I compared prices and that’s not always the case. By offering their costumers to volunteer their time in exchange of some store credit, they offer an incredible possibility to buy fresh locally grown organic produce and any other item in their store for a great discount.

You can find the Plant Based on a Budget Challenge for two persons, week 1, right here, and in this post I’ll talk about my modifications to that challenge plus my expenses and more.

Let’s start with my expenses first. In the following table I’m comparing the prices for organic items (right column) to the prices of the challenge. I have to say that I’m purchasing canned items such as beans at costco where I can get organic items fairly cheap, but all other items were bought at the coop in Davis, CA.

1 lb green/brown lentils: .83 1.59
1 cup white rice: .28 0.87
.5 lb pearled barley: .31 0.99
1 cup cornmeal: .30 0.45
.5 lb quinoa: 2.50 1.63
2 tomatoes: 1.23 4.07
About 6 onions: 1.98 2.34
1 bunch celery: 1.48 2.69
2 lbs of oats: 2.42 Β N/A
2 packages extra firm tofu: 2.96 4.58
1 sm lemon juice bottle: 1.00 1.9
2 sweet potatoes: 3.78 1.6
1 large butternut squash: 1.56 4.07
2 lb bags of whole carrots: .98 2.78
(2) 28oz can whole tomatoes: 1.16 3
2 packages bouillon cubes: 2.00 1.54
(2) cans tomato paste: .84 0.99
2 garlic heads: .96 1.32
(3) 15oz can diced tomatoes: 1.74 2.25
(1) 8 oz can tomato sauce: .18 0.58
(2) 15 oz can red kidney bean:Β  1.78 1.7
(1) 15 oz can cannellini (white) bean: .89 1.2
(5) 15 oz can chickpeas: 3.56 4.25
(2) 15 oz can black beans: 1.78 1.7
1 jar of marina sauce: 1.79 1.17
1 lb ziti or penne: .99 1.21
1 bag frozen fruit: 2.99 3.33
1 sm bag frozen spinach: 1.19 2.39
1 bag of 3 head romaine: 1.99 3
1 bag of sliced sourdough: 2.99 3.79
coconut water 6
spinach 2.39
Bunched Kale 2.19
Navel Oranges 4
7 banana 3.23
TOTAL 80.79
Including a discount of 16.50% 67.46

Please note that we had green smoothies for breakfast, so I omitted the oats but added some extra items such as bananas, kale and coconut water at the end of the list. We had a total of $80.79 for one week’s worth of food items. Including our discount of 16.5% this was decreased to $67.45! Wow!! The challenge listed a total of $48.14. When I had the idea of using organic items in this challenge, I thought it would at least double the price if not more. But no, it didn’t which is pretty cool in my opinion. This proofs once more that the Plant Based on a Budget Challenge is just AHHH-mazing because even when buying organic stuff you still end up with a pretty cheap grocery bill πŸ™‚

Okay, but let’s proceed to the yummy food. I’ll just sum this up here, as Grace outlined everything so beautifully on their website.

As I mentioned above we always had green smoothies for breakfast, so I’ll omit mentioning it over and over in my summary:

1 banana
A few leaves of spinach
2 leaves of kale
1 orange
1.5 cups of coconut water
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1.5 cups water
IMG_20140206_080643

Day 1:

Lunch: Chickpea Tacos!!

These were awesome for two reasons: I learned how to make home-made tortillas which may sound silly, but I never thought of making them my self since you can get them fairly cheap at the grocery store. So why even bother?! Oh yes, because it’s SO super yummy!!

Second of all this recipe was super quick, healthy and delicious. Perfect!

IMGP5455

Dinner: see website

Day 2:

Lunch: Chickpea Salad Sandwich! That’s perfect and easily the most healthful meal you can take with you to work! We both loved it.

Dinner: Tomato Soup. I hate to admit it, but this was my least favorite dish of the week, sorry 😦 We spiced it up by adding some cashews blended with water and a few more herbs and veggie broth, so it was good after all.

IMGP5464

Day 3:

Lunch: Sweet potato and black bean tacos with Mexican Rice. Okay, this is one of my favorite dishes on the PBB website, but unfortunately day 3 was a working day, so it was A LOT of work in the morning. I should have checked earlier to prepare it the night before. Anyway, it’s a fantastic recipe and I would eat it every day if I could πŸ˜‰Β  CAM00594

Dinner: Pene Marinara with Tofu Ricotta: Super yummy, quick and SO yummy πŸ˜‰ I think we reduced the oil a bit in the tofu ricotta as we’re usually consuming no to very little oil. We also used fresh spinach instead of frozen. It’s a great recipe and we’ll definitely make it again πŸ™‚

IMGP5468

Day 4:

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: Butternut Squash Soup: What can I say, again super yummy and fun! Love the gingery taste, just great!!Β Β  IMGP5470

Day 5:

Lunch: The Caesar Salad was fantastic! We again reduced the oil and had red leaf lettuce instead of romaine because it was on sale. The tofu was incredible and the dressing as well. Definitely make it again πŸ™‚

Dinner: Minestrone! What, did I just make my very first own minestrone?! SO excited! I can’t tell how many lifetimes ago I told myself to make my own minestrone, and FINALLY I got an awesome recipe, woohoo!!

IMGP5460

Day 6:

Lunch: see website

Dinner: Lentil Tacos!! That was the very first recipe I had from the PBB website and that’s when I fell in love with that page! πŸ™‚ Do I need to say more?Β Β  IMGP5476

Day 7:

Lunch: Leftover Soups

Dinner: Lentil Tacos! Haha! We loved it so much that we decided to skip the 4-Bean Chili and just make them again. Guess that’s understandable, right πŸ˜‰

Overall conclusion:

We finished our first week and hey I must say, it’s a hell of a job that PBB did! All this calculating, planning, comparing, woah! I just went in my stores, bought what I had on my list, done. A lot easier for sure. So thanks SO much for this awesome meal plan! It helped us to save a lot of money even though we bough organic stuff and thus had a slightly higher grocery bill. I’m still pretty impressed by the small price difference when comparing organic to conventional though. Additionally, we got to try so many new recipes and this was super exciting! I’m a soup lover too, so I was in heaven πŸ˜‰ I’m super excited for week 2 and can’t wait to tell you about it next week!!!

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One Response to Plant Based on a Budget Challenge – the organic way

  1. Laura says:

    This is great – I’ve got to check them out! I challenged myself to only spend $130 this month and I bet they have amazing tips!

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