Whole Foods Menu Challenge {$100 Gift Card Giveaway}

Proving you can make a weekly menu plan of 3 meals a day for $25/person at Whole Foods Market. Plus, enter to win a $100 gift card to take the challenge yourself.


I have a friend who jokingly calls Whole Foods the “Whole Paycheck.” I often agreed with her, not because I felt the prices were outrageous, but because when I’m at Whole Foods I’m often also seeking out specialty items that I can’t find in other places, so they naturally are going to cost more. So when they challenged me to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping for just $25/person I never gave it a second thought as to whether it could be done or not. Of course you can eat organic on a budget, and while our approach is to mix and match across the market, warehouse stores, and grocery stores in order to do so, there’s nothing saying you couldn’t shop exclusively at Whole Foods and still make it happen.

When shopping at any grocery store it’s important to know how they work, and Whole Foods has built-in ways to save you money on foods you can trust. They provide multiple sales flyers and seasonal coupon booklets, as well as meal planning advice and recipes. I was excited to learn that you can get discounts by the case (it was all I could do not to grab a whole case of Lara Bars off the shelf at 10% off) and for buying meat in bulk. If you have a smaller household, freezing the meat for a later date let’s you still take advantage of the savings.

I could have gone cheap with my menu, planning meals that would be considered budget food (rice and beans, anyone?), but instead, I wanted it to feel like we were eating comfortably without making sacrifices to our daily meals. I even splurged on a large bag of shrimp.

Wanting to keep it as close to real life as possible, I purchased a few pantry items we needed like buckwheat flour, coconut oil, and a large bag of grits which will last beyond the week at hand, and I didn’t fret over everyday pantry items we have at home like flour, honey, and yeast.

Note: The Menu is Clickable!

chocolate chip scones toasted almond granola how to fry an egg pumpkin pie smoothies vegetable fried rice apple cheddar sandwiches how to hard-boil an egg chicken salad granola bars dried apple chips kettle corn barbacoa tacos chicken and shrimp gumbo naan and naan pizza eggs with greens roast chicken shrimp and grits kale and beet salad Barbacoa Chili Image Map



The Preparation Shortcuts:

1. Bake a loaf of bread and two batches of naan to use throughout the week. Healthy Bread in 5 is a great way to get whole wheat sandwich bread, and their naan recipe from Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day is also a favorite in our house. Then you can bake at will, too.
2. Slow cook the barbacoa early on. The tomato and pepper sauce that is left after the meat is done will become the base for the chili. Reserve a little to serve with the tacos, and then bulk of it gets an extra can of tomatoes, two cans of beans, and the leftover meat.
3. The bones from the chicken are made into stock for the gumbo. Extra rice from the gumbo is used for the fried rice in the lunches.
4. All leftover vegetables get added to pizzas for pizza night.


Our menu in hand, off we went to buy our food. Here’s the breakdown and the actual receipt proof that we came in under $150. Given that I planned to make my bread and you might not want to, I left you enough money to buy a loaf. We just used coupons that were available at the stand when you walk into the store, and outside of planning to buy beef because it was on sale last week, we didn’t plan specifically around any ongoing offers.

A few things worth mentioning. I opted for a few items that weren’t the cheapest available. I like cream line milk and yogurt, and so I purchased those because they are what we already buy. I also spent extra getting the glass bottles from a local dairy on the milk instead of the plastic bottles that are shipped in a bit further. A few times there were conventional items available that were cheaper, but I chose to stick with the organic options.

We usually don’t purchase meat in store. Our beef is purchased in bulk from a local farmer, and we buy free-range chicken and organic pork from a vendor at our local farmers market. This keeps our weekly costs down a bit, outside of seafood (though we do stock up on that as well when it’s in season). Because we save by buying in bulk, we have a bit of that money left to add splurge purchases to our grocery bill (like cases of date bars).

If the preview above is not working for you, click here to download.
The end result is that a little bit of planning goes a long way to making shopping and eating organic on a budget possible. Buying bulk items, staying away from processed foods and snacks, and sticking to a meal plan can do great things for your wallet.

A Giveaway!


I’m giving away a Whole Foods Market $100 Gift Card!

TO ENTER:

Leave me a comment! Any little comment. Tell me about your weekly shopping trips, how you plan your menus, what you did or did not eat this week, or just how the weather is.


For Bonus Entries:
Tweet or share the following on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did:

Enter to win a $100 @WholeFoods gift card via @FoodforMyFamily http://wp.me/puu57-3cw #giveaway

THE RULES:

This giveaway is provided by Whole Foods and will run until Monday, October 29th, 2012 at 11:59 pm CDT and is open to all U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. A winner will be chosen at random using Random.org from all eligible entries. Chosen winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!

Comments

  1. Ooh, so many of these recipes look tasty! Adding cheddar and apple sandwiches to our lunch menu for next week!

  2. I buy good wholesome staples and plan my menus with those items in mind. Thanks for the chance to win!!

  3. Love the clickable menu… and perfect tool because I have a family of 6 too!

  4. I so wish I had a Whole Foods close to my home! But, don’t worry, if I win, I will make the trip! :)

  5. Whole Foods is opening this week where I live and I am so excited! I plan my meals 8-15 days at a time and budget about $125-$135 a week for two of us. My husband is in the army and has a hollow leg! Leftovers are rare. I bake my own bread and roast a chicken every week (instead of buying lunch meat since it is a cheaper and healthier solution and you can make your own chicken broth!). I make all three meals almost every day and we eat out about once a week (and he uses his fun money to go to the buffet but that does NOT come out of our out to eat budget).

  6. I always spend more than I want at Whole Foods, but it’s because I usually only get there about once a month, and like you said, I need to stock up on all the special stuff that I can’t find anywhere else! And then I just get sucked into all the other great options, and buy a ton that’s not on my list. :-( I do love their coupons, though, and often stock up on stuff that will keep well.

  7. Sent a tweet, too!

  8. My husband and I shop at Whole Foods almost exclusively. When you shop the perimeter of the store and stick to produce, pantry staples, meat and dairy, you can get a lot of food for your money.

  9. Shrimp and grits sounds good!

  10. Unfortunately Whole Foods is a good 45 minutes away from me, or I’d do a lot more shopping there. I make it once a month or so to pick up some goodies, but mostly I just like to wander around in awe and try the samples ;)

  11. I plan our meals out for the full 2 weeks until we get paid next. It keeps us from going to the grocery store more frequently and spending extra on the foods that we really don’t need.

  12. Wow, Shaina – I didn’t even realize that Whole Foods had coupons in the flyer. I feel so silly!

  13. Love your concept of wanting it to feel like you were eating comfortably without making sacrifices to your daily meals… Going to have to give your plan a try… I do a lot of shopping at Whole Foods as I have several food allergies, and they have the most varied selection of foods I can actually eat… Thanks for the opportunity to win…

  14. I love Whole Foods and buy most of our fresh food there. I agree, it’s not hard to keep the cost reasonable. Last night I made beef and bean chili because it has been damp and chili around here!

  15. We have had a beautiful Fall here in Utah! I would love the opportunity to try out our whole foods store, and this would give me the incentive! It’s about a 40 minute drive from my house…..hope they come closer soon!

  16. I prob can’t enter the contest, but would LOVE to..I do have an address in Mpls =))
    But, just wanted to say that you are my hero Shaina!!! I have often spent that much for 1-2 meals out of Whole Foods (meat incl and special items as you say). Love this weekly menu plan. Fun! I’ll be up for the challenge next time I am in town.
    Imen x

  17. We love whole foods but it can get expensive shopping for 5 people! Thanks for the meal plan! Now i know we can make it work!:)

  18. I have tried to reduce my shopping trips to once a week. I have really started to enjoy cooking large quantities of food and eating leftovers all week- such as a tray of manicotti or stuffed fish.

  19. Allison C says:

    When I go to Whole Foods I buy seasonal veggies and fruits which are usually cheaper than non-seasonal and I buy extra fruit to freeze (if possible) when it is on sale. After looking at your meal list I’m now craving shrimp and grits!

  20. Whew! We can all use more grocery money!

  21. Thanks for sharing this menu! I love Whole Foods and we have one close by!

  22. Whole foods is addictive….and fantastic. Thanks for the meal plan!

  23. Can’t wait to try apple sandwiches! Great idea!

  24. great meal plan – boy oh boy could i use a $100 for groceries!

  25. Ginger Riggins says:

    Would love to shop at the big stores(whole foods, costco, etc…) but I usually end up spending my grocery budget for just a few things. I try to keep our weekly grocery bill to around $130/week for our family of 6. Sometimes hard to do in Southern California!

  26. I just started meal planning and my weekly grocery store spending went from $100 down to $60 for 2 people. I’m so proud! :)

  27. We spend $150/week for 3 adults (we live with my mom and we buy the groceries) and one toddler! I’m sure we could do better, and I love the plans you put up here! We love Whole Foods, but do totally get carried away much of the time when we go in, so I like the idea of meal planning ahead to save!

  28. I need to meal plan better to save money. Thanks for ideas!

  29. I live within walking distance of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s…that can sometimes be dangerous!
    Thanks for the Giveway…what a luxury!!

  30. Jessie C. says:

    I love getting produce and 365 organic products at Whole Foods

  31. Ashley@BakerbyNature says:

    I love this! I have such a hard time staying on a budget when I’m at whole foods, so this makes me feel like I totally can do it!

  32. I love your blog! I love Whole Foods! Thank you so much for the menu…lots of great ideas! I REALLY hope I win!

  33. Jessie C. says:
  34. This post was so helpful! Thanks!

  35. When you cook the cabbage for corned beef, cook it in the water you cooked the corned beef in. It’s a lifechanger.

    Enjoying the site!

  36. Normally, I use the sales ad (along with couponing sites) and excel spreadsheets to make my menu and shopping list….but I am doing a trial with plantoeat.com right now and really really love it. It’s like the love child of my excel sheets and pinterest account. Anyway, thanks for the giveaway!! and your awesome blog!

  37. This is awesome. Our closest Whole Foods is in Vegas- 70 miles away. When we do make the trip in to town- it’s usually to Costco. I would love to get in the habit of stopping at Whole Foods first & then hitting up Costco for everything else I couldn’t find.

  38. I’d love to win this gift card! I really need to start shopping there but it is a bit of a hike. But with a gift card I’d be sure to find time to go!

  39. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Whoe Foods, and LOVE your website!! Thanks so much for the hints.

  40. Debra Schramm says:

    I love Whole Foods. The closest one is 3 hours away but fortunately for me I go to Atlanta about every 6 weeks. Love your blog!

  41. Great menu and prep tips! We find Whole Foods to be a very “doable” option for weekly groceries for our family of six:)

  42. There is no Whole Foods where I live but when visiting NYC I usually stop at one.
    I plan my menu around what is available in my garden.

  43. We shop every two weeks for non-perishable items and weekly for fresh stuff. I have been doing the menu planning, and love it!!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  44. This was a great post for me. I love Whole Foods, but due to a recent job layoff, I won’t be shopping there any time soon unless I win this gift card giveaway!

  45. Krista Sanderson says:

    What a great and amazingly helpful post. thank you!

  46. It’s just my husband and I now that our youngest graduated college and is on his own. It’s really different cooking for two. One thing I do different is I grocery shop often (sometimes everyday) and just get what I need fresh. I don’t mind shopping often as I have the time and I like that no food goes to waste.

  47. I have never shopped at Whole Foods before! trader Joes is close to me, but I would love to give WF a try!

  48. Would love to win this!

  49. I tweeted!

  50. Love Whole foods! Would love to win! Thanks.

  51. I love Whole Foods and am planning on buying our Thanksgiving turkey from them, so a gift card would be great!

  52. Whole Foods is a regular for us – I meal plan every weekend and then hit the store on Monday, works great!

  53. We love whole foods! :-) My husband especially loves their fresh squeezed juice! :-)

  54. This is so great! I love meal planning, it makes the biggest difference in the budget too!

  55. Whole Foods can be a bit pricey but it’s not too bad as long as you plan things carefully. Also, I’m lucky because one of my best friends works there and I can use his discount!!!

  56. Heather Meade says:

    Whole foods does help when you are trying to feed a family with healthy, whole foods – esp when you have a bunch of different allergies in the house!

  57. great job, I feel like if you leave out the junk food and plan menus, grocery bills normally stay pretty reasonable.

  58. Stacy Gillis says:

    I love Whole Foods for their gluten-free selections!

  59. I’m impressed that you kept it under $150 at Whole Foods :) I always end up spending more money than I should there…

  60. I’d love to try this if I win the gift card.

  61. I find whole foods comparable on many staples, like black beans or pasta sauce. And I love their selection!

  62. Thank you for the giveaway! I love shopping at Whole Foods

  63. I’m impressed! Normally when we shop at Whole Foods, we are buying the things that we can’t get anywhere else, so we do usually end up spending more. It’s too far to do all of our regular shopping there, but a gift card would be great for those hard-to-find items!

  64. I can’t wait to try some of the artisan breads…thanks for the reminder about how important it is to plan meals for the week. Besides the benefits cost and healthwise, it gives me one less thing to worry about after a stressful day of work.

  65. I don’t go in to Whole Foods because I never know what to get and when I do I end up spending too much money. I usually spend the bulk of my money at Costco then buy fruits & veggies every week. It is probably around $25 per person right now, I feed 4 for roughly around 375 a month. This would be awesome to win right now with the holidays coming around.

  66. Love Whole Foods and that menu was impressive!

  67. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love Whole Foods and I usually plan my meals last minute :)

  68. Amanda Sakovitz says:
  69. We eat about 95% organic but have to visit several different places in order to get everything we need: Kroger, Martins, Pork Farm, Earthworks market for beef and produce and a friend delivers eggs that she raises. Of course, we don’t go to all of these every week, but it does take some extra energy to find everything you want!

  70. Oh I can’t tell you what I did or did not eat this week….because I did much more eating than not eating and the scale showed it this morning. I am not a happy camper so I am back on “watch it” mode :)

  71. We’re shifting to more fall-like foods, like chili.

  72. I usually try to plan things out, but that rarely works. I usually run in and find something that appeals to me at the moment. I love Whole Foods and I don’t find it too expensive because I usually try to buy the specials and I try to keep enough non-perishables in so that it works for me!

  73. I love seeing this! And love WHole Foods too. You menu looks really filling and yummy.

  74. Great meal plan!

  75. We always make the same meals.

  76. I’m a big meal planner but typically do not shop at Whole Foods but I have been wanting to start including it! I haven’t ever bought food from bulk bins but want to get in a better habit of doing so and this would be a great way to start!

  77. laura ari says:

    I love whole foods, but it is so crowded by us. My meals are usually planned around what’s in the freezer!

  78. I use coupons to save money. Thank you for the giveaway

  79. We do not have a Whole Foods in my area, however, my daughter is a teacher in Washington DC. This would be for her….as the candidates like to say: “We LOVE our Teachers”!!!!! They really don’t make enough for what they do. $100.00 gift would be so appreciated.

  80. At the top of my food to-do list this week is getting all the herbs out of the garden to dry before we get a hard freeze.

  81. I love your page and website! Let’s see, warm but windy, and supposed to be getting very cold in the next couple of days (Colorado). I shop at Whole Foods usually on Wednesdays when they have their one day sale, and also stop by Sprouts for their double-ad Wednesdays. I buy mostly organic for my family of six and we are leaning toward much more plant based, minimizing meat and dairy. Thank you!!

  82. I would love to win a gift card to Whole Foods! We participated in a CSA for the first time this year, and I found that making a plan to ensure we ate all the week’s vegetables has also ensured that we don’t waste much of other food as well.

  83. I plan my week of meals on sunday evening and it helps with budget snd my nutrition.

  84. I treat myself to the goodies (tuna salad sandwich) at Whole Foods about once a week. right after I go to an appointment. It is my lunchtime goodie. I also love the bulk items that you can get there such as the pumpkin seeds or I also love the Hint waters. There is just so much there that I love I could spend hours there.

  85. Thomas Murphy says:

    I had steak and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight.

  86. Thomas Murphy says:
  87. Unlike many, I like grocery shopping. It has become a bit of a family joke. I have been fortunate the past few years, not to have a strict budget, but that was not always the case. I shop at several local farms for meat and fruit. I have a large vegetable garden. I am fortunate to have a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, several farms and 2 locally owned grocery stores fairly close by. I am trying to do a better job at planning meals so I waste less food.

  88. I really appreciate this post because we always spend way too much money when we go to Whole Foods so I’ve been trying to limit our visits there to only about once a month. I’m terrible at meal planning, although I always have the best intentions. After reading this I see there is hope for eating healthy on a budget and it’s a nice inspiration for me to sit down and start meal planning! Thank you!

  89. Great post!

  90. I do my weekly planning on Sundays- my husband’s schedule varies so he could be working some nights and some days- so I have to plan something that he can throw together before he goes in for the night shift- I have doing a lot of crockpot meals. However- I do need to start using more fruits and vegetables- I’m just hesitant to shop at whole foods because of the price.

  91. i go to the store 2 times a week or so.

  92. Oh, I love Whole Foods! Thanks for the post!

  93. Impressive! I’m going to give the $100 challenge a go next week after vacation!

  94. Liked you and shared your link on FB.

  95. Love Whole Foods! What a great post and giveaway!

  96. I tweeted the link to your giveaway! @pandathebaker

  97. I love whole Foods! Thanks for the giveaway

  98. I agree that planning is key and avoiding too many impulse buys. Thanks for the chance to win

  99. i try to plan my menus weekly but have slacked lately due to pregnancy.. i love whole foods though!!

  100. Love this! Way to be organized and purposeful!

  101. Karen Medlin says:

    With a large family, we need to plan out a menu and shopping list, we check the ads and compare them with the recipes we have and stock up on those items..we have quite a few crockpot recipes that we like.. when I find deals on the meat, I use our large roaster and cook them all at the same time and freeze for later on the month

    karenmed409 at comcast dot net

  102. Karen Medlin says:

    tweet-https://twitter.com/gummasplace/status/260930036281004034

  103. I always plan my shopping trips around what is on sale at the stores.

  104. MissionaryMom says:

    Menu planning? Well, I stick my nose into the fridge, look round on the counter and mudporch (extra garden veggies stored there short-term) and figure out what needs to be eaten or processed for storage first and write that down. Then I look at the next two weeks’ calendar, and note which nights we are eating at work functions, at other people’s homes, on the run because she has a class or he has a meeting and write that down. Then I look at the request list from husband, children, and visting band members. Then I sort out meals and nights and recipes from my insanely anal-retentive recipe binder and cardbox, grab one new recipe from blog, Pinterest or library book, and off I go to make a grocery list.

    Then I head to the freezer and pantry, and what we have/don’t have modifies my recipe choices slightly. Some minor tweaking and…Voila! Whole process takes approx. 1.5 hours, broken down into 10-15 minute intervals while I wait at dance studio, wait for dawdling children, wait on hold for someone at the bank…

  105. Shopping at Whole Foods is such a treat – thanks for the great giveaway!

  106. We are working hard on our budget! Our grocery budget is lower than most for a family of 5, but we are making it work!

  107. I always keep a running list of what I use up from the pantry. Then once a week I make a meal plan based on sale circulars/ coupons.

    These simple steps have really helped me to keep a well-stocked kitchen and drop my spending.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!!!

    katygmorris at gmail dot com

  108. I also just Tweeted about this giveaway here: https://twitter.com/katygmorris/status/260941252005072896

    Thanks!

    katygmorris at gmail dot com

  109. Whole Foods is our primary grocery store. We’ve often found them cheaper than the local major grocery chain for organics and unprocessed foods and we LOVE their bulk section.

  110. I’ll be over for some shrimp & grits — I’m still craving that yumminess we had at BlogHer Food! And I love Whole Foods, as well, just wish I didn’t have to drive 30+ minutes across town to shop there.

  111. I love the spices at Whole Foods, they play an important part in meal preparation. Like the fact you can buy any amount you want or just smell them to get an idea of the flavor you are looking for. Also, staff will let you sample many items, just ask.

  112. We have certain items that we only buy at Whole Foods – particularly bulk grains and dinosaur kale!

  113. I look to coupons and flyers when trying to meal plan…and I try not to go crazy with the Pinterest recipes!

  114. I haven’t shopped at Whole Foods much but I would love the chance to explore more!

  115. My menus are much simpler!

    Breakfast:
    Oatmeal
    add brown sugar, berries or bananas

    Lunch:
    I make lunch on Sundays. A slower cooker one dish meal. Can be the following-
    risotto with arugula & sausage
    polenta with lite cream cheese & fresh herbs
    spinach salad with tomatoes & mushrooms, O%V

    Dinner:
    I will make another slow cooker meal-
    Spanish chicken
    Pork shoulder
    Beef pot roast

    No desserts unless it is fresh fruit.

    All ingredients at local stores WAITING for Boise, Idaho Whole Foods to open, I am really, really trying to be patient.

    Laurie Barrera

  116. I have never actually shopped at whole foods. But I am thinking about taking a trip there soon.

  117. I appreciate your menu and your priorities!

  118. Debbie Bray says:

    I would love to win!!

  119. Nicole Yates says:

    I adore whole foods but can never afford them!

  120. Love Whole Foods! Thanks for offering the giveaway. I am of the same mind – planning a menu and being organized are key.

  121. Love Whole Foods! We do most of our shopping there.

  122. I have to admit we’ll easily spend over a hundred a week at Whole Foods and that’s just for two people so it’s nice to see how much you can get for your money.

  123. Tweeted it!

  124. Christina says:

    We have a Whole Foods opening near us soon. I can’t wait to go and see what so many people are talking about.

  125. I love my morning oatmeal! I’m glad to see it made your weekly meals list,

  126. Very cool concept and giveaway!! :)

  127. Jessica Hackman says:

    I would love to win this giftcard – as a chance to really help my brother and sister in law out while she is recovering from a double mastectomy surgey from 2 weeks ago.

  128. I meal plan on Sunday and shop on Monday according to the grocery store ads. It’s great for the budget. Love Whole Foods.

  129. I tweeted about this post.

  130. Sarah H.P. says:

    My husband and I just had our weekly grocery shopping expedition last night!

  131. I see a lot of vegetables on that list, inspires me to add more to my list which is embarrassing.

  132. Kelly Guerin says:

    I have a family of 5 and it is a struggle to buy healthy food and not break the bank. Luckily my kids love fruit and veggies so I try to buy organic but it definitely adds up!

  133. Pick me!!

  134. Would love to win!

    Tweeted

  135. Posted the link on twitter @chhavikb

  136. Thanks for the great tips. Our family has been trying to save and re-use leftovers. Every little bit helps!

  137. Yum! Thanks for doing this!

  138. Love the website! I wish I was organized enough to plan ahead for a whole week. I end up buying so much extra food because I don’t plan well.

  139. I love Whole Foods and yes, it does take a lot of planning to stay in budget and still shop there! But it *is* possible to shop at Whole Foods and feed your family budget friendly and yummy meals!

  140. Great menu ideas.

  141. My weekly menu is first planned around the various after school activities and then based on what’s on sale and what is already in my freezer

  142. That is absolutely incredible. I need to do more planning : )

  143. I’m impressed.. I definitely need to do more meal planning.

  144. I love the idea of baking bread. I go to whole foods regularly and while it’s true that some things are expensive, I find the “whole paycheck” phenomenon doesn’t have to happen if you know what to buy. There’s always yogurt on sale, and the bulk bin is my go to. Mambo sprouts has some great coupons as well. I use the salad bar sparingly, buy most veggies at the farmer’s mkt, and still eat healthy and organic every day and can rest assured my food comes from humane and natural sources. Great article!

  145. Our family of 6 (two are teens) has been able to have similar weekly shopping trips by also sticking to getting small amounts of meat. In season produce or on sale, and bulk beans and grains.

  146. Love shopping at Whole Foods. I supplement my finds at Farmers Markets with the high quality goods at WF.

  147. I tweeted the provided phrase. @annadishes

  148. We try to prepare a weekly menu on Sundays with the kids so that everyone knows what is expected :-) Granted sometimes we have a ‘special’ night and do something different but this makes life so much easier!

  149. Love Whole Foods!!! Tonight I’m preparing a dish we decided that the entire family is willing to eat.

  150. I have been sick for about two months, so menu planning has gone to the wayside. But I am trying to start up again!

  151. I also tweeted about the give away!

  152. I wish I could plan my meals more; I love bringing leftovers for lunch; but it’s a hassle to cook on weeknights! Loved this post btw.

  153. I love Whole Foods but it does tend to get pricey. I wish for a good farmers market in my town (Las Vegas) but a gift card would be a nice consolation prize. :)

  154. Great menu ideas! I typically plan on Sundays and write my meals down then make my list. Sometimes I find it hard to stick to exactly what I plan out (life gets crazy so cooking can get hard).

  155. I always mean to go to Whole Foods to check out their 360 brand, but I lave a local health food store only blocks from my house, where as WF is a bike ride away. For $100, I’ll get on the bike and finally try those brands.

  156. I’m very impressed! I’ve been trying like crazy to get our grocery bills down a bit and you did a great job of planning.

  157. This is a great post. I usually only go to Whole Foods for specialty items too, so I think of them as the Whole Paycheck store too.

  158. Christine says:

    I can’t ever seem to get out of Whole Foods without spending $50-$60 and I’m only shopping for 1.

  159. I am so impressed with your planning! I love whole foods and only go in there every now and then beause I come out spending a fortune!

  160. I wing it way too often, so we end up with a house full of ingredients and nothing to eat.

  161. Wow that is impressive. I do bulk shopping about once a month at Sam’s Club, milk and bread at the local store and we have our own beef.

  162. On the weekend, we plan and cook for the week. Your menu looks great. With a baby, it’s a bit tough to bake bread.

  163. I try to shop for groceries in the middle of the week.

  164. Love me some Whole Foods! I save money in the food department by making everything from scratch.

  165. We are vegan (and I’m gluten-free) so you can imagine it can be easy for our grocery bill to get high, but we try to focus on lots of whole food in our diet. Whole Foods is one of my favorite health food stores. The closest one is about 30-40 minutes away. If it was closer I’d be there all the time!

  166. Thanks for sharing! I love whole foods!

  167. Thank you so much for the generous giveaway. I love Whole Food’s selections! And the weather has been lovely so far! :)

  168. I so wish we had a Whole Foods closer to us – I really like their stores!!

  169. I love Whole Foods. Thanks for the great menu ideas! I can actually see my four year old eating some of those.

  170. I love Whole Foods! I was just there this week to buy their fresh, frozen pizza dough. I buy alot and keep in my freezer. It comes in handy for so many things and it’s healthier than other store bought pizza dough.

  171. Shaina,
    I, gladly, shared this on my Facebook page, what a terrific post and great advice. Those of us who have read this are winners already! Good idea on the give-away!
    In our home we do meal shopping and prepping by the month this seems to help us stick to a budget. We only go back into a grocery store one additional time and that’s for the milk, bread, eggs, etc. Time is what gets in the way of our being able to be smart about what we prepare. These tips will help, for sure! Thanks.
    ~Vanessa

  172. I really need to re-visit whole foods,we too have the whole paycheck saying in our house but you’ve inspired me!

  173. I would love to be able to shop exclusively at Whole Foods (our farmers market is already over for the year), but I just don’t believe it’s possible. I’ve made a lot of changes (no more lunch meat or salty snacks for my husband, who has a kidney problem), but one thing I still feel we waste money on is juice. My husband will not drink water and feels deprived if there’s no soda or juice in the house. I also have trouble ALWAYS saying no when my 2-year-old wants special snacks for him, so sometimes I give in and sometimes I don’t — but the times I give in of course add up. I just don’t have time to bake him goodies or make homemade crackers all the time! I suppose if it’s important to you you make time for it, so that’s my goal, but right now I’m really struggling. :( Regardless, thanks for doing this. It gives me hope.

  174. Ashley Hatten says:

    I try to shop once a week. I am HORRIBLE at meal planning but I really have got to do better. I just make dinner on a whim based on what we have or what the kids want. I’ve never been to Whole Foods before but we do have one about 30 minutes away. Thanks for the chance!!
    ashleygatewood1(AT)gmail.com

  175. Ashley Hatten says:
  176. We have a Whole Foods nearby, but I have never been. My boss buys a lot of her food from there.

  177. I love Whole Foods and would really love to win this gift card!

  178. I love the bulk section at Whole Foods! I’m always telling people you don’t have to be rich to shop at WF, there are plenty of budget-friendly things there. I love your menu and your challenge. Crossing my fingers! :)

  179. I go to Whole Foods on my lunch break sometimes just to walk around. :)

  180. colleen boudreau says:

    The weather feels almost like spring today! :)
    holliister at gmail dot com

  181. colleen boudreau says:
  182. We usually buy meat in larger quantities when it is on sale, and freeze it for later use. Usually shop at Aldis, which in itself is a savings.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  183. The weeks shopping always costs less with a good plan.

  184. The weather out here is pretty gorgeous, really. 80F, bright and a little windy. As close as you’re gonna get to a perfect day.

    Also, I love the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day book. I had no idea there were others. How exciting! I’ve already added the whole wheat one to my wishlist.

  185. I love Whole Foods, but I’m terrible at menu planning! Love the bread recipes that you linked! Thanks!

  186. I actually spend $150/week for a family of 7, it just takes planning and bulk buying!

  187. I have to plan my grocery store visits because my son doesn’t like to shop and it’s just easier for me to go by myself. I know which stores I can be in & out in a jiffy, such as Trader Joe’s and Ralph’s, and what items I buy at each one. My new place to shop is Sprouts. We have certain items that I make every week, like spaghetti and tuna salad, because my son asks for them. We have plenty of fresh fruit as I pack two fresh fruits in his lunchbox, besides the banana I put in his breakfast smoothie. I don’t check how much I spend, this boy is constantly hungry!

  188. It’s good to know it’s possible to eat cheap at Whole Foods. I tend to avoid it because it seems too expensive. Thanks!

  189. I really try to look to see what we have in our freezer and our garden before meal planning and grocery shopping. Soups are a great inexpensive meal as well.

  190. i do batch cooking and bulk shopping. i purchase 3lbs of beans (black) cook them, freeze half, use the remainder in as soup, tacos, brownie recipe and burgers. i save time and money

  191. I usually shop my farmers market and then to Trader Joes. I am trying to be better about meal planning because most of the time I go with some loose plan in my head and when I actually sit down to cook I don’t have the ingrediants I want. I don’t know if I could just spend $100 a week for my family of four. Love to see how other people do it. It would definately help my budget to slim down the grocery shopping a bit.

  192. My friends make fun of the structured way I plan, shop and eat. However, I would go crazy with out a plan and my budget would never be consistent. I make a menu for each day of the week (I do check to see what is on sale first and what I have leftover in the freezer and pantry). I make a list of items I need don’t already have. I add pantry items we are out of and then I shop. I shop generally Friday or Saturday and try to hit the farmers’ market. That way I can make ahead some meals for the week. It makes a much calmer week with 3 teenage boys and working full time.

  193. Your menu looks delicious. My current “plan” is to freak out around 4:00 because I have no idea what to make for dinner.

  194. Monica Young says:

    I usually check the local store ads for the week and use my coupons and plan my purchases accordingly and make my dinners work around that.

  195. Monica Young says:

    Hello there :)
    I tweeted about the contest here’s my link
    https://twitter.com/Monnie311/status/262089465701490688

  196. This is a great challenge! We are always trying to come in under $150 for the week but we rarely make it!

  197. The naan recipe looks great! I wonder if it’s easier or more difficult to stick to the $25/week budget with a family of 6 as opposed to my family of 2. Or maybe it would be the same.

  198. Georgiana S. says:

    The weather is finally clearing up here in south FL – thanks to our Trick or Treat visitor Sandy. Prayers to the Northeast next week. Thanks for the fun & healthy Whole Foods giveaway!

  199. Love whole foods quality and selection…and love the coupons they have in store.

  200. tamara garcia says:

    Next weekend I’ll be buying a pumpkin at Whole Foods. The goal is to bake it whole, stuffed with something vegetarian… hmm…

  201. Thanks for the giveaway!

  202. A Whole Foods just opened in my area, so your giveaway is coming at the perfect time.

  203. The weather is a little scary out there!

  204. tweet–https://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/262542856038793216

  205. We’ve enjoyed a couple of pots of chili already this fall. Perfect fall food!

  206. Jennifer Marie says:

    It is cold and rainy here….brr!!

  207. Jennifer Marie says:
  208. Heather D. says:

    Thanks for the tips! We love Whole Foods!

  209. Wild Orchid says:

    We love whole foods so much! Thanks for the giveaway!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  210. Wild Orchid says:

    tweet–https://twitter.com/CrazyItalian0/status/262650212248584192
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  211. Ooh I love whole foods! Just about to have a baby too, so it’s great to have these tips on how to get wholesome nourishment for a great price! Can’t wait to see who wins :)

  212. Patricia Crowley says:

    I’ve been trying to eat less carbs lately…more protein.

  213. I don’t plan meals to well, I just try to keep a stocked kitchen of the basics and buying those cheap, and then shopping for items I need for specific recipes the day of.

  214. courtney b says:

    i love whole foods- so healthy!:) and yummy!

  215. I do a generalized menu plan for the month, the each week I sit down and edit it to fit our week plans if they have changed and use it to make my grocery list for the week. I tend to shop on Saturday & Sunday, I prefer Sunday, but our Farmers Market and local health food store are open on Saturday, so it turns out to be both! Our budget doesn’t equal out to $100 a week for a family of 4. Someday it will though!

  216. courtney b says:
  217. With a lot of planning, catching managers special’s and willingness to go meatless for certain meals, we manage a whole food budget of $60 a week for two adults and one 5 year old.

  218. This is great info. I call Whole Foods – whole paycheck too. I try and plan meals around weekly sales flyiers.

  219. The weather is getting cold….YUCK!
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  220. Christine H says:

    I love this challenge. I try to keep costs down (who doesn’t?) while still buying organic, and it’s not easy. You’ve given me some good ideas!

  221. We’ve been eating lots of lentil and chickpea burritos and bean casseroles. Cheers!

  222. Nicole Larsen says:

    The weather has been pretty darn gross and cold and rainy here–so we’ve been eating lots of soups, chili, and pot roasts!

  223. Nicole Larsen says:
  224. My husband and I love shopping at Whole Foods! We like to get their fresh produce and their salad bar is wonderful too! I like to plan out our menu’s on Sunday’s. I like to see what’s on sale and buy stuff for our weekly menu based off that.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Seasidesmitten@aol.com

  225. I try to plan menus but end up taking shortcuts much of the time. I do enjoy cooking more in the winter so now that the weather is cooling I will start preparing more homemade meals instead of semi-homemade.

  226. Thanks for taking the challenge & offering tips, I need them with 6 mouths to feed.

  227. I still don’t think people realize how far food and the money spent on it can go when you make it from whole ingredients and you are not pouring from a can, ripping open a bag, or opening a box. The investment is time but it’s value is so worthwhile. Good post here.

  228. I ate weird things this week, like granola bars and cereal b/c I need to go to the grocery store for some real food

  229. Your blog and this challenge are super inspiring! I am taking the challenge starting Dec. 2 and will use some of your recipes! Thanks!

  230. Kira Pratt says:

    I too am inspired, thank you! I am always figuring out the “day of” what to cook for dinner that night. I love to cook, I order in bulk, buy grass-fed beef, local chicken and raw milk, etc. I’m just terrible at planning!

  231. Shrimp and grits and Naan pizza sounds yummy.

Speak Your Mind

*