Meal planning can be tough. It’s way too easy to fall back on the same old reliable recipes, so trying to be creative is tricky. So we’re here today to help you save money and time with this delicious, healthy and, importantly, cheap one week meal plan with only five ingredients per recipe!
Why meal plan?
It’s a fantastic way to save money
For one thing, it means that you’ll only buy what you actually need from the supermarket by going in with a list and not being tempted to get other things “just in case”. This makes sure you’re saving money by limiting not only what you buy, but also what you throw away because you’ve bought too much and it goes off.
It also means that you’ll only have to go to the supermarket once a week. This is a great way to save money as it’s been shown that people who go multiple times per week spend far more on groceries on average than those who only go once per week.
It makes sense, really. I mean, when you go in “just to pick up some milk”, how often do you only come home with just milk?
I’ve taken this to another level recently by testing to see if getting my groceries delivered saves money.
In my experience, it ABSOLUTELY does. After all, I’m ordering exactly what I need – no more, no less.
I can easily see the different prices in front of me and pick the item that’s the best value.
And there’s no chance of being tempted by a last minute snack when lining up to pay.
So having food delivered has been a dream for saving both time and money – particularly when I just can’t be bothered going to the supermarket after work.
If you’d like to try it out too, click here for a 30-day FREE trial for Amazon Fresh.
MORE INFORMATION: HOW I SAVED $300 ON MY GROCERY BILL IN ONE MONTH
It’s a great time saver
You’ll only have to go to the supermarket once this week, you won’t have to spend time each evening thinking about what to make for dinner or lunch the next day and, if you make these in advance on the weekend, you won’t even have to cook at night.
You’ll be easily saving at least five hours this week by meal planning for the next seven days.
It’s far healthier than not doing so
After all, you won’t be too tired to cook and resort to ordering take away, nor will you just throw together some meal based on whatever you have in your fridge. You’ll be using fresh food that’s low calorie and packed with protein, keeping you feeling full for longer.
How to keep meal planning?
Like I said above, it can be tough to do. It’s so easy to just be repetitive. Which then makes you not want to meal plan when you’re looking down the barrel of another week with the same meals.
I used to have a Pinterest board where I kept recipes that I saw around the internet. Then, at the end of every week, I’d have a look through the board to see what I wanted to make for the week.
Of course, that requires some planning and as work got busier – plus the fact that I like to spend as much free time as possible on this blog – it just got way too hard to do each week.
So I’ve gotten around this lately by having the meal plans sent directly to me!
$5 Meal Plan costs just $5 a month and sends you meal plans each week, including recipes and shopping lists.
The amount of time I’ve saved is worth way more than $1.25 per week. And better yet, the recipes only cost about $2 per person to make, so my wallet’s pretty damn happy about it too.
I personally choose the standard version, but there’s a gluten free weekly plan as well if you’d prefer that.
So if you’d like to try it yourself, sign up here for a 14-day FREE trial.
One week meal plan with 5-ingredient recipes
The first point to keep in mind is that these recipes assume that you have some cooking staples in your cupboard already. This means that things like cooking oil and salt and pepper don’t count towards the five ingredient limit.
Also, when going through the list below, you’ll also easily be able to see which recipes can be made ahead of time.
In my case, I like to meal prep on Sundays to make as many meals as possible before the start of the work week so I don’t have to cook as much when I get home from the office.
I’ve also indicated which recipes are great for lunch later in the week. Just increase the quantities and you’ll start saving a TON of money by not buying lunch at work!
Monday: Coconut Curry
This is for those of you who like to start the week with meatless Mondays. It’s super easy to make and you can make it as spicy as you like by adding more curry paste. Feel free to increase the amounts to have enough for lunch tomorrow!
Tuesday: Pesto Pasta
Pesto Pasta by Tasty.co
This amazingly simple pasta recipe is also amazingly tasty. The best part is that you should have enough leftover for lunch tomorrow!
If you’d rather not have this as a vegetarian dish, you can certainly add chicken – we won’t tell that you’re cheating on the five ingredient limit!
You may also want to replace the sundried tomatoes with cherry tomatoes, depending on which one is cheaper.
P.S. Did you know that a study recently concluded that eating pasta actually helps you lose weight?
Wednesday: Chorizo and Bean Stew
Simple Chorizo and Bean Stew from BBC
Don’t let the ease of this one fool you – the flavour definitely packs a punch despite its simplicity.
Note that the parsley in this recipe does push this over the five ingredient limit, but you only need to include this if you already have it in your cupboard or growing at home – no need to buy it as an extra.
Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken
Teriyaki Chicken by The Garlic Diaries
This is one of my particular favourites when I need a meal that’s quick and that I can also use as lunch the next day. While you can make the teriyaki sauce from scratch, I find it far easier and about the same price to just buy it pre-made – I won’t tell if you won’t!
This is also great for using beef instead of chicken if that’s what you have in the freezer.
Friday: Salmon en Papillote
Salmon en Papillote by Fifteen Spatulas
Salmon is incredibly good for you, being considered one of the best “brain foods” in the world. It’s also packed with protein which, among other things, is great for helping you feel full for longer, so it’s perfect if you’re trying to lose a few pounds.
An added benefit of this dish is that it’s a great, simple meal to serve if you have people coming over – which is why we’ve scheduled it for Friday.
After all, the puff of steam when it’s served looks far more impressive than you’d expect from something this easy!
Saturday: Chicken Parmigiana
Chicken Parmigiana by Genius Kitchen
This was one of the “regulars” in my house growing up and I can see why. It’s easy to make, tastes great and, thanks to the chicken, is packed with protein.
The recipe is actually just over five ingredients, but I never make it with parmesan cheese in the breadcrumbs, so I recommend that you ignore that part of the recipe. This will save you some calories too.
You may wish to use some of the vegies saved up from other recipes this week to add as a side to this. Alternatively, if you want to bulk it up a bit, you could serve it with pasta.
Sunday: Mustard-Crusted Turkey Breast
Mustard-Crusted Turkey by Martha Stewart
Also, you’ll note that this only has four ingredients. You can either add another vegetable or use this to make up for the semi-cheating recipes from earlier in the week…
Do you meal plan and, if so, what’s your go-to recipe?