$50 Whole Foods Meal Prep Budget Challenge! – Mind Over Munch
Man, I just LOVE Whole Foods!
So many fruits, so many vegetables, so organic!
But SO expensive!
How could I ever afford this?!
Hey my munchies!
The January Bento series is over, so we are
back to our regular programming, videos are coming
every THURSDAY on YouTube.
But don’t worry—we have tons of other
exciting projects in the works and lots of
bonus content coming your way.
A lot of us are trying to stay on track with
eating well in 2017, and one of the things
that helps me MOST with that is meal prepping.
Today we are taking it a step further – I
am going to show you that you can meal prep
ALL of your meals for the week, that’s five
days of breakfasts, lunch, dinners and snacks,
for UNDER FIFTY DOLLARS! AND I’m shopping
at Whole Foods to make it even MORE challenging.
I know a lot of people think eating healthy
has to be expensive, but it doesn’t!
It may require a bit more planning, or time,
or brain power, but it can be done.
FYI I did not include regular pantry items
that I already had like olive oil, or spices
like cinnamon, salt, pepper, etcetera in the
price, because I don’t need to buy those
If you’re looking for extra meal prepping
help, my meal prep eBook is a beginner guide
to teach you HOW to meal prep for YOUR lifestyle.
It offers tips and guidance to help you plan
your most efficient and effective prep, and
it’s available right now at mindovermunch.com.
If you use the code “50DOLLAR” that’s
five-zero-dollar, at checkout for this week
only, you can get 10% off any eBook or package
of your choice!
On to the prep!
On the breakfast menu this week, we’ve got
prepped freezer smoothies and steel cut oatmeal.
For the smoothies I’m using frozen fruit—remember
that fruit is frozen at it’s peak time of
freshness so nutrients are not lost—bananas,
which are pretty affordable year round—although
at Whole Foods they are of course much higher
than I usually find elsewhere—and frozen
FUN TIP: did you know you can freeze greens?
Greens like kale and spinach freeze really
well for smoothies, but since I’m going
to freeze these smoothies anyway, I thought,
why spend the extra money on fresh, when I
could save a TON and get frozen– and just
like with the fruits, greens will retain their
nutrients when frozen, too.
Simply blend everything together with a little
bit of water.
You do want this to be REALLY thick, because
you’re going to freeze it and then blend it
again later with more liquid, so we don’t
need too much at first.
And then, we can transfer to an ice cube tray.
I like to use the trays with covers like these,
which I will link in the description, because
these are going to be used all week long.
When you’re ready to make your smoothie,
simply allow those cubes to thaw for a few
minutes, add some liquid—milk, water or
juice will all work—and blend into your
On to the oats– for all oats, whether they
are steel cut, rolled or quick cooking, buying
in bulk will keep the price tag down AND you
can buy as much as you need.
I know a lot of people prefer steel cut oats.
They aren’t really “healthier” than
rolled but they are less processed, and they
digest more slowly than rolled, they were
also surprisingly the SAME price as rolled
oats when I bought in bulk.
The problem: they usually take FOREVER to
cook– like an hour on the stove!
So today, I’m teaching you a hack to get
these oats done quickly.
We’re going to bring steel cut oats, water,
salt and cinnamon to a boil.
Simmer for about three minutes, and then turn
off the heat.
Then, divide into jars to store for the week,
and allow to cool for about an hour without
the lids, and then add those lids on and transfer
to the fridge.
When you’re ready to eat, stir up the oatmeal,
microwave two to three minutes until hot,
and then you can add whatever add-ins you
I was able to afford currants, which are just
a version of seedless raisins that happened
to be cheaper than raisins, and put some cinnamon
in there as well.
This quick method works because you are almost
“pre-cooking” the oats just briefly at
first, and then finishing them off in the
microwave later, expediting the process.
And that is my nutritious meal prepped breakfast,
bringing us to a total so far of eight dollars
and sixty-seven cents for the week.
On to lunch!
I am going with a classic combo: Veggie Soup
& a Chickpea Salad!
This is the easiest soup in the world – I’ve
got frozen cauliflower and corn, they actually
only had organic cauliflower today, both of
which are pretty affordable frozen, as well
as some white potatoes, carrots and salt to
Remember, white potatoes get a bad rep, but
they are still a great choice!
Don’t be afraid of potatoes – the problem
is when we fry them and smother them with
White potatoes still offer fiber, Vitamin
B6, potassium, Vitamin C, and other vitamins,
minerals and nutrients.
For this soup, you literally just add in your
ingredients with some salt, bring water to
a boil, and let them cook until fork tender.
Then we can drain the salted water, but save
some some of it, and blend!
An immersion blender, regular blender, and
food processor will all work just fine!
Add the salted water back in until you get
the consistency that you prefer.
I like my soup SUPER creamy and thick, but
if you prefer a broth-based soup you don’t
even need to blend it, or you could blend
it and leave it chunky, it’s up to you!
For our salad, we’re turning to a very dependable
affordable ingredient: BEANS.
I am going with chickpeas.
Now we have an interesting situation here
with the chickpeas so excuse me for a second
while I digress from meal prep to make a point.
Most of the time in these budget situations,
people suggest DRY beans over canned.
But honestly, canned beans are very affordable.
Check it out – This can of cooked chickpeas
is seventy-nine cents, and measures out to
one and three-quarters cup of total cooked
This bag of dry chickpeas is currently two
dollars and ninety-nine cents, and will yield
you seven cups of cooked beans.
Seven cups of cooked beans is equal to four
Four cans would cost you three dollars and
So as you can see, there is a seventeen cent
difference between the two, but the dry chickpeas
take SIGNIFICANTLY more time to make.
My point is, don’t fret about getting canned
beans to save money.
Just try to get the no or low-sodium beans,
and drain them and rinse them so you’re
in control of the salt content.
If you guys enjoy these types of breakdowns
in videos, please give this video a thumbs
up, and remember to subscribe for more affordable
meal prep content!
But, it’s not “hard” to make the dry
chickpeas, and for the sake of this being
a CHALLENGE video I am going to show you how
to do it WITHOUT SOAKING THEM.
So to cook your dry chickpeas, rinse the chickpeas,
and then add them to a pot with enough water
to cover the beans.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Use a spoon to remove any of the foam that
rises, and then lower the heat so that the
water is at a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Add water if it’s needed, and cook until
they are as tender as you’d like.
It will take between 2 and 4 hours, which
is a lot, but it’s significantly less than
letting them sit overnight.
Is it worth the seventeen cents we saved by
not buying canned?
That’s for you to decide.
Back to the meal prep!
For the salad, I used about half the cooked
For some fresh elements I chose cucumber,
tomatoes – and Romas will almost always be
the cheapest tomato option – green bell peppers,
which will almost always be your cheapest
pepper option because they’re less mature,
onion, AND we’re going to double up on this
and use it for dinner as well, as we are fresh
parsley, and finishing it off with a lime,
olive oil, and salt & pep to season.
I literally chop all of these ingredients
and then mix them together.
For your lime, make the most of that item
by using the juice AND zest for flavor.
And then drizzle with that olive oil and season
I don’t add greens because the salad will
last much better throughout the week if there
Lunch cost me eighteen dollars and forty-seven
cents for these 5 very hefty servings (remember
you can freeze the soup if it’s too much
or save part of it for dinner), so we are
at a tally of twenty-seven dollars and fourteen
cents so far for the week!
For dinner, I wanted to take this challenge
to the MAX and include a protein, so I am
going to show a garlic chicken rice bowl.
Protein is generally a big ticket item, and
I could have made this a completely vegan
meal prep, but honestly, including chicken
made it harder for the challenge budget-wise,
so here it is.
If you are looking for a vegan meal prep,
all you have to do is sub out this protein
with a plant-based protein like tofu, beans,
etcetera, and the entire prep will be vegan.
Of course, this is Whole Foods so it is PRICEY,
so I was left with whatever was on sale.
Beef was actually on sale this week but I
prefer to include poultry in meal prep, so
I can save red meat consumption for more occasional
This week ground turkey and chicken were also
on sale, and by on sale I mean still priced
higher than you’ll find elsewhere, and I
went with chicken.
Now it’s not the EXTRA lean kind, that was
even more expensive, this is the blend that
includes both white AND dark meat.
BUT remember, dark meat in chicken and poultry
doesn’t need to be avoided completely.
Yes, white meat is leaner so it has less fat,
but dark meat actually contains more nutrients
and minerals, like iron, zinc, vitamins A,
K, B complex, etcetera.
To make this prep super easy and efficient,
I am doing a ONE POT rice dish, and for the
ingredients I went with garlic, brown rice
from the bulk bins, frozen broccoli, the remaining
frozen spinach, fresh parsley, onion, and
chickpeas from earlier, and some olive oil,
salt and pep, and water.
And, FUN FACT: one cup of uncooked white rice
will yield three cups cooked, but one cup
of uncooked BROWN rice will yield FOUR cups
cooked—so you’re really getting WAY more
for your dollar!
In a bit of olive oil, sauté your onions
and whole garlic cloves.
I LOVE whole garlic, and since I used my budget
to buy that whole head of garlic I am sure
as heck gonna use it to give this dish TONS
of flavor, you could use less.
Also, on my Facebook page today I’m showing
you a video for how to peel a head of garlic
SUPER EASILY, so be sure to check that out
Then you can add your ground meat, any kind
of ground meat will work for this dish, OR
again you could omit completely or sub tofu,
and heat until it’s cooked through.
Then we can add in our salt & pep for seasoning,
rice, frozen broccoli, spinach and water.
Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer for
twenty to thirty minutes until the water is
absorbed, and then we can stir in the chickpeas
and parsley from earlier.
If you don’t want chickpeas in both meals,
you could of course use any other beans that
you prefer, I just didn’t want these to
go to waste from earlier.
This dish is so easy, has so much flavor,
and is a great option for storing food all
By the way, if you guys want more one pot
dishes, be sure to let me know in the comments
below because maybe I could do a video on
Dinner was a total of eleven dollars and forty-eight
cents, meaning we are at thirty-eight dollars
and sixty-two cents for the week so far, and
that leaves us some room in the budget for
I wanted at least one fresh fruit snack, we
did use bananas in the freezer smoothies,
but I wanted to make sure we have a truly
fresh piece of fruit every single day.
Those Lady Alice apples were on sale, so I
went with those!
I also wanted some more fat and protein to
keep me full between meals, so I looked at
the bulk bin snacky foods for a DIY trail
I decided to get the most affordable options,
which were sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,
almonds, and popcorn kernels.
For your popcorn, if you don’t have an air-popper,
you can use the microwave or the stove – my
website newsletter subs know how to do this
from a few weeks ago.
Cover the bottom of your pot with your kernels
and close your lid.
Turn the stove on medium heat, and stay close
by to listen as it pops.
Once you have a few seconds between pops,
you can turn off the stove and wait a minute
for it to cool before storing or serving.
Popcorn is one of my favorite ways to bulk
up trail mix because it’s low in calories
to contrast the higher calories of the nuts,
but also provides fiber and whole-grain goodness!
And that is my meal prep for the week!
With those snacks, we’ve reached a total
of forty-four dollars and eighty-six cents,
and look at that… only forty-five dollars
I saved five dollars during this challenge
and ended up with prepped meals for the week!
Of course I know prices altogether will vary
based on your location and what’s in season
for you, but the point is , as always, not
to replicate this EXACT meal prep – it’s
to offer inspiration and show you that, with
a little bit of planning and consideration,
healthy meals can absolutely be affordable,
EVEN if you choose to purchase organic items
and shop at places like Whole Foods.
Which I generally don’t.
But that’s not the point.
Anyway, If you’re someone who’s thinking
“I don’t want to eat the same thing every
day,” that’s fine!
I have a whole playlist of meal prep, and
many of those videos show “basic” prep
for people who want to switch it up throughout
the week and have some items prepared.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have TIME
to do this much prep, because this probably
will take me tree to four hours with clean
up if I wasn’t filming it, that’s fine,
I have a ONE HOUR meal prep video that you
can check out!
The recipes from this episode are on mindovermunch.com
and they are linked in the description box
below for easy access!
You can also find info on my meal prep eBook
If you enjoyed this episode I would really
appreciate if you would share it with a friend
and give it a thumbs up!
I would love to help show others who are skeptical
that healthy CAN be affordable, even at Whole
I look forward to reading your comments below,
and if you do try out some meal prepping don’t
forget to tag me on social.
Have a wonderful week and weekend, and remember!
It’s all a matter of mind over munch!