On a Food Budget? A Menu and Grocery List For $10 a Day

With increasing gas prices, comes an increase in food costs and I am feeling the pinch. Without compromising my health and flavor, I had to create a menu that was budget friendly AND something that I would be excited about eating. Today I will provide you with meal ideas that will keep your daily budget around $10 a day for three meals ($2/$3/$5) and can be prepared in 20-30 minutes.

***Let me know how this “experiment” works out for you and your family by responding to this post. If I get enough feedback, I will continue to post these each week on Saturday.

Today’s Idea

When I began this blog, I created Sunday Suppers to provide my readers with a special meal for a slow beautiful Sunday with the intention of getting the family in the kitchen and around the table. Typically, our Sunday Suppers are just that. They take time, a little higher budget than a typical week night dinner and are meant to be enjoyed at a slow pace over great conversation. I realize that these dinners aren’t always in the budget so in response to our economic needs, I am making smaller dishes that are easy to execute and packed with flavor.

Last week I spent $70 on essentials, which did not include proteins, and it only covered 60% of my meal plan. And that is only feeding me. One person. Yikes! I couldn’t imagine feeding a family of four with the current food costs so I did a little research. How can I help provide the average family of four healthy, fresh meals without costing them $10 a dinner?

It also made me think about the resources that we have available to us and I realized that Food Network and Bon Appetite are great but can be really costly. An average day for three meals was costing $20-$70. A DAY. That is just not practical for many of the folks out there including myself. So I had to come up with a way to provide an alternative to these resources without compromising flavor or health and I want to hear from you.

How To Make It Work

Part of the success in this strategy is to provide you with a shopping list that will help you not only stay on target at the market but also on budget by using key ingredients in multiple dishes. You will also need to commit to cooking and preparing your meals. I encourage you to make the decision that you are worth the extra time; your body and palate will thank you.

This can easily be done by multitasking as you go. You will get the hang of it quickly and I will give you tips along the way. As you all know, I am an advocate for healthy eating and strive to only provide you with the best even if you are on a tight budget.

***Please note that I refer to recipes for and I also use pantry staples such as butter, flour, fresh garlic, thyme, parsley, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt and pepper; these are not a part of the budget. I tried to make breakfast cost approximately $2, lunch $3 and dinner $5. The weekend has brunch with an afternoon snack.


  • Prepare your lunch the night before or while your breakfast is cooking.
  • Bake your beets in the oven while washing the dishes or catching up on emails
  • Leftovers make a great lunch like meatloaf makes a great meatball sub.
  • Craisins tend to be really expensive for what you get. I would suggest buying them by the lb. at the grocer.
  • Use Food Network as a reference for recipes to help guide flavor profiles. Remember that many of the portions on there are for 6-8 people.
  • Mix up your muffin mix the night before and refrigerate overnight. Pop into the oven and the whole house will wake up to freshly baked muffins. No time? Make them over the weekend and freeze them. Place out the night before and enjoy in the morning.
  • If you substitute Grapenuts for whole grain oatmeal, make it with water and serve hot.
  • Use the left over pomodoro sauce as the bruschetta topping and the TJ tomato soup as a base for the tomato relish on the meatloaf


Day 1 Breakfast: Oatmeal cooked with dried cranberries and diced apples sprinkle with Cinnamon

Day 1 Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Trader Joe’s Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup

Day 1 Dinner: Chicken Tacos topped with cheddar Cheese, slivered romaine lettuce, soft tortillas served with spicy black beans and rice, fresh salsa

Day 2 B: Egg, tomatoes, spinach, cheese scramble with toast

Day 2 L: Mixed Greens salad with carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, peas, shredded cheddar, Balsamic and olive oil vinegarette dressing

Day 2 D: Cajun rubbed Pork loin with Kraut and apple, cranberry chutney.

Day 3 B: Oatmeal bananas and maple syrup

Day 3 L: Tuna Salad or sandwich with lemon, red onion, frozen peas, over baby spinach.

Day 3 D: Capellini Pomodoro

Day 4 B: Breakfast Burritos, soft shell tortillas, salsa

Day 4 L: Red and Yellow Beet salad with red onion dressing, slivered carrots, goat cheese over spinach.

Day 4 D: Baked bone-in chicken with grilled asparagus and sautéed mushrooms

Day 5 B: Cranberry Orange Muffins

Day 5 L: Spinach Salad red onion, bacon, tomato, boiled egg, mushroom

Day 5 D: Dad’s Meatloaf (Tyler Florance) *don’t wince, this isn’t your mother’s loaf..this is Super YUMMY. Topped with red pepper relish and bacon served with potatoes and roasted carrots.

Day 6 Weekend Brunch: Spinach, yellow onion and Potato Frittata served with fresh orange slices

Day 6 Afternoon Bites: Bruschetta

Day 6 D: Black Bean Chili with Cornbread

Day 7 Weekend Brunch: Homemade Banana Pancakes with Maple Syrup

Day 7 Afternoon Bites: Egg salad with diced celery, slivered red onion. Sprinkle with paprika and serve on top of toast cut into squares.

Day 7 D:Sunday Supper or BLT’s yum!

Shopping List:
1 whole fryer chicken
3/4 lb. Ground chuck
1/4 lb. ground pork
1 Pork loin
1 dozen eggs
1 can of tuna
3-11 slices of bacon (if you make BLTs plan 2pcs per sand., use one strip for your salad, 2 for the meatloaf)
5 yellow potatoes
2 cans of black beans (or a package of dry beans)
1 can of kidney beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 organic apples
1 can kraut
2 cups dried cranberries
1 red onion
3 yellow onions
1 package of capellini noodles
1 loaf of bread
1 box of Quaker Oatmeal ($0.16 per serving)
Soft Flour tortillas
2 bags of baby spinach (Recommend Trader Joes Organic) note Dirty Dozen post
1 head romaine lettuce
2 round ripe tomatoes
1 bag of frozen peas
6-8 Roma tomatoes
1 package of fresh basil
1 red pepper
1 jalapeño
1 lemon
1 head garlic
1 package button mushrooms
1 package of carrots
3c. Buttermilk (optional-cornbread)
1 block cheddar cheese
Trader Joe’s Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
1 bunch asparagus

Red and Yellow Beets


  1. what are the pricing for each food on the shopping list?

  2. Great ideas here! Thanks for posting. I have a similar series on my blog that includes a one-day menu (4 recipes included) for under $10. I really like your idea of providing a grocery list. This is really helpful!

  3. This may seem like a no brainier, but many people fail to
    do this and just buy an item on the first site they see.
    Is it because you don’t know how to find good deals on the internet.
    Research is Key – Like Black Friday, there are many websites that help consumers find the best deals
    on Cyber Monday.

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  5. Hey there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and personally
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