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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
Lunch: Leftover rice with beans, fresh spinach and cucumber, roasted peanuts
Dinner: Leftover kale tacos
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.
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.
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.
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”