Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

Today’s world poses various challenges on us and I believe one of it is that we have to learn to be happy and satisfied with less!

I have realized this through my own experience, and this is one of the reasons I love veganism so much – it teaches you to give up your own greediness and lust, and to stop sacrificing other living being’s lives for the sake of your own stomach! This already puts one in a position of humility and acceptance that we don’t need as much as we think we do!

Nevertheless, once you are posed with the challenge to eat healthy on a budget you can feel confused. It’s certainly not a good idea to survive solely on potatoes and peanuts, plus as a vegan you do need to take good care to supply your body with all necessary nutrients, including protein!

Most of us know the types of foods we need to eat, but when it comes to structuring a menu – we struggle!  This is why I have decided to make it easier on you and publish a

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day!

Living and eating healthily on $5 per day is not easy, but certainly doable. All the shopping for this menu has been done at big chain supermarkets, small mom-and-pop stores, specialty grocery stores, and a local farmer’s market – all the places that a typical American shops at, plus can be found in any other country in the world!

DAY 1 MENU:

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

Breakfast: Potato salad
Lunch: Black bean stew
Dinner: Ginger brown rice
Snack: Celery sticks

Day 1 Notes:
1 lb. (2 cups) of dry black beans makes 6 cups when cooked (4 servings)
1 lb. (2 cups) of uncooked rice makes 7 cups when cooked (4 to 5 servings)

I cooked the whole package of beans all at once and froze about half of it (two servings) to save time and money. With the remaining three cups of cooked beans, I made the bean stew, which I ate today and will eat again tomorrow.

DAY 2

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

Living on a strict budget requires creativity and advance planning. When food is scarce, it’s important to focus on the basics like grains and starches, which will sustain you for a long time. On the morning of my second day, I had two servings of leftover cooked beans, and plenty of leftover rice, potato salad, and celery from the day before. I also had a half pound of uncooked rice. To add some spices, greens, fruits, and other fresh vegetables to my diet, I visited a local Indian grocery store and a local health-food store.

DAY 2 MENU:

Breakfast: Bananas
Lunch: Burger wraps with celery chutney, leftover brown rice, leftover black bean stew
Dinner: Opo squash soup with brown rice, celery chutney, and leftover black bean stew

DAY 3

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

Today I bought some whole-wheat pasta and a can of chickpeas at the local Albertson’s. Pasta is comfort food, and it is filling and cheap. With the remaining $3.58 (including the 43 cents left over from yesterday), I went to the local Mexican market.

DAY 3 MENU:

Breakfast: 1 banana
Lunch: Leftover squash soupchickpea salad, and vegetable pasta
Dinner: Potato and chickpea stew with brown rice

DAY 4

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

Today turned out to be a day of rest, as I had plenty of leftovers for breakfast and lunch. This made it possible to add some of the more pricey ingredients to my food stock, as most of my budget for today will be carried forward to tomorrow. With $10 to shop for tonight’s dinner plus tomorrow’s food, I went to the supermarket to buy grains and nuts sold by weight, and I also stopped at the health-food store to buy some spices.

Eating a solid meal for breakfast is a good way to start the day, so think beyond oatmeal, toast, muffins, or cereal. Often, I like to eat grains, lentils, and vegetables for my first meal of the day.

 

DAY 4 MENU:

Breakfast: 1 banana, leftover chickpea salad
Lunch: Leftover brown rice, potato chickpea stew, and vegetable pasta
Dinner: Lentil soup on a bed of pasta

DAY 5

Today I had a lot of ingredients to play with, as I had used extra grocery money from yesterday to purchase spices, nuts, and dried fruit. One of the pleasures of cooking is sharing the food with others, whether it’s with loved ones, friends, or wider community. I was happy to be able to share today’s meal with my boyfriend, as I had plenty.

DAY 5 MENU:

Breakfast: Corn grits
Lunch: Roasted sweet potato and cabbage with cilantro cashew sauce
Dinner: Yellow rice, leftover brown lentil soup

DAY 6

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

Today, I felt that it was time for a visit to the local farmer’s market and a quick stop at my tiny local Mexican market. Farmer’s markets are the best place to find seasonal, locally grown, and freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. With just $5, you have to be creative.

DAY 6 MENU:

Breakfast: Leftover corn grits with bananas
Lunch: Leftover lentil soup with rice
Dinner: Salad with peanuts and leftover cilantro cashew dressing, mixed lentil and bean dal with white rice, baked Delicata squash

DAY 7

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

Today was another day of rest, as I had plenty of cooked food. I was also able to combine the budget for today and tomorrow and purchase kale and broccoli, which I had been craving. I shopped at both my local grocery store and at Whole Foods today.

DAY 7 MENU:

Breakfast: Corn grits with banana
Lunch: Leftover mixed lentils and bean dal, roasted sweet potato, cabbage, and rice
Dinner: Kale tacos

DAY 8

Cooking takes some time, and there are certain days when food preparation has to take a backseat to other tasks. Today was one of those days, so I am glad that I had enough leftovers to last the whole day. I also used today’s food budget yesterday, so I didn’t need to shop for anything either.

DAY 8 MENU:

Breakfast: Banana
Lunch: Leftover rice with beans, fresh spinach and cucumber, roasted peanuts
Dinner: Leftover kale tacos

DAY 9

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

I wanted to make some fresh food today since I had been eating leftovers for two days. I wanted to buy some new ingredients to supplement the food I already had left in my kitchen. I had cabbage and potatoes, for instance, and could make borscht with some beets and onions. I also had pasta, tomatoes, broccoli, and kale; I just needed some onion to make a tomato sauce.

 

DAY 9 MENU:

Breakfast: Banana
Lunch: Pasta with kale and broccoli
Dinner: Borscht with leftover corn tortillas and avocado

DAY 10

Full Nutritionally Balanced 10-Day Vegan Menu For $5 A Day! How To Eat Well On A Budget

On the last day of the challenge, I had $7.46 left from the $50 I started out with. Even with the tight budget, I have leftover food and some pantry foods that I will continue to eat in the next couple days.

DAY 10 MENU:

Breakfast: Oats and dates
Lunch: Leftover borscht, curried quinoa and cabbage
Snack: Leftover bananas and peaches
Dinner: Lentil and spinach shepherd’s pie (I had enough of the pie to share with my boyfriend).

WHAT I LEARNED

I was not starving — that is for sure! I had plenty of food at all times. The difficult part was the limited variety of ingredients, due to my $5-per-day budget. Certain items were just too expensive to buy on such a restricted budget. For example, organic greens range $2.49–$2.99 per bunch. When I found a store that sold items by weight, however, it was a real boon. I was happy to be able to buy spices, nuts, seeds, dehydrated fruit, grains, and beans this way, as you can buy as little or as much as you want.

It takes some time to stock and build your pantry, but then it gets easier and easier to eat healthy, fresh (and even some organic foods) on a budget. Overall, I was also able to make quite a lot of meals with tons of variety.

The menu was created by chef Darshana.

 

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