Good morning! Buckle up because I have one heck of a long (and delicious!) blog post coming your way today. It is brought to you by Whole Foods Market and involves a giveaway, a super simple crockpot recipe and some money-saving tips you can use during your next trip to Whole Foods. Let’s get to it!
About a month or so ago, I received an email from Whole Foods asking me about partnering together to create a one-week meal plan for me and Ryan that included two meals each day for the two of us for $125. (Full disclosure: I was provided a $125 gift card.) Since getting a little creative in the kitchen is one of my favorite things, I was more than game and immediately started brainstorming ideas for a healthy and delicious meal plan.
The first step in my meal plan journey involved attending a value tour at my local Whole Foods led by Jennifer, the regional marketing specialist at Whole Foods in Charlotte. Jennifer and I walked around the store and chatted for about an hour while she pointed out lots of money-saving tips and tricks.
Some key takeaways:
- Check the bimonthly Whole Deal brochure which features more than $45 of savings per issue on average (you can also find these coupons at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons) and check out weekly sales fliers, One Day Sales and sale items throughout the store.
- Sign up for your local store’s newsletter and follow them on Facebook and Twitter to receive bonus coupons, budget-friendly recipes, and notices of sales and more.
- Shop seasonally.
- Cut costs, literally. If you need only half a cabbage, sandwich, chunk of cheese, fish fillet, loaf of fresh bread, etc., simply ask a team member to help you get (and pay for) only the amount you need.
- Utilize the bulk bins to buy as much or as little as you need.
- Check out the 365 Everyday Value line for hundreds of affordable organics, including peanut butter, organic frozen veggies, pasta, sauce, canned tomatoes, soups and more.
- Consider purchasing Value Packs to help you get fish and meat at a better price, and allow you to use only what you need.
- Look for budget-friendly pricing on lesser-known cuts such as boneless sirloin, flat iron steak or skirt steak.
- Receive discounted pricing on most items when you buy a full case.
- Make the most of your leftovers with the Whole Foods Market recipes app, which allows you to save recipes, create meal plans and shopping lists, view sales items at your local store and more.
When it was time for me to create my two-meals-a-day meal plan, I opted for breakfast and dinner since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and dinner is often the meal that requires the most planning in our house. When I set out to do shopping for our meals, there were a few hiccups in my plan. My father-in-law was in town, so our dinners needed to be able to feed three people and I knew we’d likely be going out to dinner once or twice. Whole Foods wanted the meal plan to include two meals each day, but food I bought did cover breakfast, lunch and dinner for me and breakfast and dinner for Ryan. (Ryan actually did bring his lunch to work using food from our grocery haul a couple of times, but he also ate at his workplace cafeteria or out with coworkers during the week as well, so I’m not counting his lunchtime meals.)
And a few important notes: We went out to dinner twice during the week because we wanted to take my father-in-law out to some of our favorite local hotspots, so we did not consume two of the planned dinners on the “correct” days (Tuesday and Friday) but we ate the “dinners” for lunch for two of the days during the week. I hope this makes sense! The meal plan is just a guideline for our breakfasts and dinners, but I wanted to be sure to actually make and eat everything, too, which we did!
As I shopped for our food, I did a lot of price comparisons (buying in bulk ended up being the cheapest every time!) and clipped coupons to save money, like I usually do each week.
I was truly surprised when I went through the checkout line and only spent $69.76! I ended up going through the line again and picking up more food to use to get closer to the $125 total.
Our total for the week ended up being $115.20, but it did not include the jar of peanut butter I also used in the meal plan that we already had at home. (I figured being $10 under budget made up for the peanut butter since that would be an easy purchase within the budget.)
Here is what our one-week meal plan looked like:
- Breakfast: Tortilla topped with banana, peanut butter and cinnamon
- Dinner: Fish tacos with (frozen) mahi mahi, black beans, chopped romaine lettuce and pico de gallo
- Breakfast: Overnight oats made with oatmeal, Greek yogurt, honey and raw almonds
- Dinner: Turkey and ham rollups with romaine, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds, served with apple slices
- Breakfast: Cottage cheese topped with a sliced apple, cinnamon, almonds and pumpkin seeds
- Dinner: 365 Everyday Value whole wheat linguine with steamed spinach and 365 Everyday Value marinara, served with roasted broccoli
- Breakfast: Two waffles topped with a dippy egg and tomato slices, served with a plum on the side
- Dinner: Chopped salad with romaine, ham, tomatoes, black beans, edamame, wheat berries and pumpkin seeds
- Breakfast: Two waffles served with a cup of Greek yogurt
- Dinner: Baked chicken breasts with sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts
- Breakfast: Three-minute egg white oatmeal, topped with chopped almonds
- Dinner: Crockpot lentil wheat berry soup <—We loved this soup!!!
Crockpot Lentil Wheat Berry Soup
- 1 1/4 cups dry lentils
- 3/4 wheat berries
- 6 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (depending on taste)
- 1/2 – 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (depending on taste)
- Combine all ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve and enjoy!
- Breakfast: Strawberry, mango and spinach smoothie
- Dinner: Leftover lentil and wheat berry soup
Now Whole Foods Market wants to give you guys a chance to shop at their store and create some healthy budget-friendly recipes.
FIVE readers will win a $25 gift card to Whole Foods!
To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post, telling me about some of your favorite Whole Foods finds!
I will randomly select five winners on Friday.