Saving Money on a Whole Foods Diet: Plan Your Menus

Just about everything that can be said on this subject has been said on this blog. This is because last October as part of a 31 Days of Posting Challenge, we focused on Menu Planning. I’ll re-post the links to that series here for your viewing pleasure.

You’ll notice it starts with #2, that’s just because post #1 was an introduction to the 30 Day Challenge.

2) Why Plan?
3) Plan for a lack of planning
4) Start with what you already have
5) To plan breakfast and lunch or not?
6) Feeding Children
7) A Master Plan
8 ) Inspiration
9) Dishes
10) Breakfast
11) More menu plans
12)A Virtual Sandwich Bar
13) Midweek Menus
14) Execution
15) Sleep
16) Halloween
17) Tomatoes and a Dinner Plan
18) Snacks are Important
19) What’s in your kitchen – a contest!
20) Thanksgiving 1
21) Menu Options Available Online
22) More Inspiration
23) Making Family Meal Time a Priority
24) Soup to the Rescue
25) A Few More Thanksgiving Ideas
26) Thoughts
27) More Lunch Ideas
28) Speaking of Thanksgiving
29) Side Dishes
30) Desserts
31) The End

I know CSA’s and Bountiful Baskets produce selections can complicate this. Try planning just after you receive the food so you know what you need to supplement with.



31 Days of Menus: Desserts

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t plan on a lot of desserts, certainly not one after every dinner. It’s not because I wouldn’t like to eat them, or even for super healthy reasons – like avoiding extra calories or sugar. The fact is that once I’ve cooked dinner I’m usually just done, I don’t want to mess with anything else, and dessert is definitely something else.

So, obviously the first option is – don’t plan on dessert.

Another option is to make cookies (raw or baked) during the day to be served after dinner, because some nights it would be nice. Here’s a link to my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. (I use whole wheat flour rather than white and sucanat in place of the sugar called for in the recipe)

And a few other dessert options:
Apple Crisp
No Bake Cookies
Homemade Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Fruit Pizza
Popcorn Balls


31 Days of Menus: Side Dishes

I think this is what most people get hung up on when it comes to planning menus, especially on a plant based diet when the main course is already plants ;-). And personally I love a nice one dish meal, something with grains, beans, and veggies all thrown together.
Even a less than ideal one dish meal beats fast food. But, sometimes it works out to put just a bit more effort into it and serve a few extra dishes along with the main course.

Salad and Rolls are favorite and often seen accompaniments
Simple on veggie side dishes, steamed or sauteed are also nice; broccoli, edamame, carrots, kale, sweet potato, etc.
Baked potatoes work as a side dish, when they’re not part of the main course. 😉
Roasted veggies, like the broccoli from Post Punk Kitchen are also an option
Sliced fruit
Fruit salads
Basically, anything simple that rounds out the meal, contrasting colors are nice; if the main course is green use sweet potatoes or carrots, or if it is orange use spinach or beans as a side.


31 Days of Menus: Speaking of Thanksgiving

I came across this very interesting post at the Post Punk Kitchen.

Thanksgiving Dinner in an Hour
. I’m not sure it’s about the Need to make it that quickly, maybe more that if you can and your family would be happy with it, then why not? I will say the Chickpea Cutlet recipe is delicious!

However, there is no dessert mentioned, so for a much quicker than pie option – try my apple crisp recipe. 😉
Adding the apple crisp in will bump your time up a bit, but it’s worth it, right?
I would assemble it about the same time you’re getting the potatoes in to cook. Then, when you pull the broccoli out, lower the oven temperature and let the apple crisp cook while you eat your meal.

What’s not to love.


31 Days of Menus: More lunch ideas

Of course leftovers from dinner are always an option.



Green Salad with lemon & Olive Oil dressing, like I mention in this post.

Have a green smoothie.

Back on Track Wheat Berry & Bean Salad

Lightened up Protein Power Goddess Bowl

Quick Tostadas

I use the instant black bean soup mix from the bulk bin at Good Earth, mix with just enough water to give it a refried bean consistency.
Toast the corn tortillas in a hot cast iron pan, or if you don’t have cast iron you may need oil, alternatively you could bake them to a crisp (here’s how).
Top with the beans, lettuce, onion, tomato, black olives, and salsa.

Hummus with Veggies and a Pita, try this Hummus recipe.


Chickpea sandwiches using this recipe for the filling.


31 Days of Menus: A few more Thanksgiving ideas

First of all, in addition to any suggestions listed here, or in my last post on Thanksgiving consider all of the side dishes your family traditionally serves, many of which can be served as is.

Growing up, my family always started the meal with a relish tray, among other things (carrots, broccoli, etc.) this must include olives – black and green (just your regular grocery store varieties).

Try this this UnTurkey recipe by Miyoko Schinner

Sweet Potatoes, baked and served with a bit of Olive oil and salt and pepper.

Rolls, try Rhetta’s dinner rolls as posted on Simple, Healthy, Tasty

Steamed Broccoli

Green Salads

Grain and bean salads, like this one.

Hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner next month :-).
(Be sure to plan early so you’ll have all the necessary ingredients on hand.)


31 Days of Menus: Menu options available online

Here are a couple of options if you think you’d like to have menus, but just aren’t going to get around to it.

Tammie at Simple, Healthy, Tasty
has put together some ebooks of her recipe compilations including Simply Scheduled: 2012. I haven’t read it, but I do have her ebooks, Simply Scheduled: On The Go and her food Storage ebook and have been quite impressed with them.

Another option is checking out the meal plans that Lindsay over at The Happy Herbivore has put together. I am not familiar with the exact package, but she does have a lot of recipes available for free on her blog, so you could get an idea of whether or not you like her style.