original food menu plan #2 with a budget breakdown

Our original food diet meal plan for this week:

day 1: black beans and quinoa
day 2: black bean "burritos" {blended beans, salsa, and rice in lettuce wraps}
day 3: raw zucchini pasta topped with avocado, lime, and tomatoes {recipe coming soon!}, rice, and salsa
day 4: east texas caviar in lettuce wraps {use leftover black beans)
day 5: raw lasagna {recipe very similar to this one} and baby carrots
day 6: dinner out
day 7: leftovers or asian veggies with tamari {wheat-free soy sauce}, orange, and ginger.

our standard Sam's Club cart!
spaghetti squash {if I can get it at Walmart again!}
pinto beans and rice
cabbage salad with sunflower and flax seeds and hummus
roasted red potato wedges

almond milk

natural peanut butter

real food doesn't have to be expensive...

After doing this diet for the past few weeks, I think the most common misconception about eating real food is that you have to spend more money to eat well.

I've actually spent less money on groceries than usual because I'm not buying two or three loaves of bread, chips for $3-4 per lb., or lunch meat for $3.50 lb. Instead, the bulk of our diet comes from some of the cheapest, most filling foods: beans, rice, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, and oats- most of which are less than $1.50 per lb.

Many of this week's dinners are planned around black beans. Black beans are generally around $1 per lb. dried, and we eat 1-1.5 lbs. per meal. I make 3 lbs. at a time in our large crockpot- which should be enough for all of this week's meals.

Rice, potatoes and iceberg lettuce (like black beans) are also inexpensive to purchase. The bulk of our meals will come from these items.

Squashes make frequent appearances throughout the week. I've found squash to be the most satisfying food for me, so I eat it for most lunches. It generally costs $1.25-$1.50 per lb. A large spaghetti squash will provide most of my lunches for the week, while the hubs and kids tend to prefer beans for their lunches.

The most expensive meals on the menu are the ones with avocados. I plan to use one on day 3, and one on day 5. That will cost me $2 alone this week {pricey, compared to a family-sized portion of beans for $1!}. Quinoa is $5 per lb. for the organic version we use, so that will cost around $2 each time we eat it.

Nuts are the only real luxury item we eat, ringing in at $5-$6 per lb. We eat about 1/2 lb. per week of these as snacks and salad toppers.

The kids still eat their regular pizza or sandwiches and chips when we go out to eat, but at home, we've started eating only fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and veggies for snacks, which can actually get pricier when you give out 4 oranges or apples at a time. We spend way more on this than we used to. At our house, fruit used to be a luxury and crackers the norm, but we're trying to reverse that! :)

the budget breakdown 

Here's my shopping list for this week:

organic carrots {$4}
spaghetti squash {$4 for one large}
5 lbs. of Granny Smith apples {$5.95}
cilantro {.50}
green onions {$1.50}
red potatoes 5 lbs. {$5}
coleslaw mix {$3}
cherub tomatoes- {$5 worth lasts 1.5 -2 weeks}
watermelon, $5
bananas 6 lbs., {$3}
organic spinach, 1 lb. {$4}
avocados, {$2-$3}
2 quarts of almond milk {$7}
canned tomatoes {$3.84 for 7 lbs.}
zucchini and squash - 4 lbs. {$5ish}
natural peanut butter {$5}
limes {$1}
lettuce {$2/2}

I spent $130 last week buying groceries with a very similar menu and list, but stocking up on walnuts, almonds, quinoa, Starbucks coffee, spring water, basil, and lots of seeds that will last us for 2-3 weeks, so I expect that this week's bill will be much closer to $80- $85.

Phew. :D I've got the menu all planned...now I just need someone to come and do the shopping for me! ha!

So, I'm really curious- what do you spend the most money on when buying groceries? Meats? Breads? Organics? And do you try to balance out the pricey with the inexpensive when you eat? Please share with us! 


  1. I set aside an extra $40 this week in order to buy healthier. The plan was to reduce the amount of carbs we eat - potatoes, rice, corn, etc - and eliminate "junk". I thought for sure I'd spend more than usual, hence the extra $40, but, you know what, I didn't need it! I spent the same! Not buying junk really lowered the cost.

  2. I spend so much more than you do at the grocery store. I am more like $150 to $175. That does include detergents, paper products, platic wrap, dog food for our lab, etc. as well, though.You are so wise in training your children to eat well. I tried but it didn't take. Once my son became type 1 diabetic, I started becoming a short order cook. My other son is so picky that at 24 (so you can see why I have given up at this point) he still prefers a pb&j to most everything I cook. Once they got driver's licenses, it was all over. They could get what they wanted very easily. You are doing so great with your family.
    Sheila Payne

  3. Hello, I've been reading your blog for months and love it. God brought you to mind twice last night, waking me from my sleep...
    Are you sure your little ones are getting enough healthy fats and "brain" foods. Egg yolks, good quality organic butter, fish, raw milk, etc. are all excellent sources. I do know you are doing nuts and avocados, but are they getting enough of those each day? I am TOTALLY the type to mind my own business, but felt prompted by God to write this. Take care. :)

  4. Currently our most expensive items in the grocery come from the meat counter and occasionally a gluten free alliterative food (such as a gf loaf of bread or cake mix). After reading a little about it, I would love to put my family on the original food diet for at least a trial run. Now I just have to convince the hubby.

  5. I love that photo of all the colorful cauliflower, it makes me want to take a trip to our nearest Whole Foods Market. I find that in my home we spend a lot more on meat than when I go just to buy fruit and veggies. I also like to buy a lot of chick peas because pretty cheap and they are so good roasted with a little lime and sea salt.

  6. You do the planning and I will do the shopping - deal??? Not a fan of the planning and yet I love to grocery shop. BTW - Love black beans and rice so your plan is great with me.

  7. btw - please, Just say NO to iceberg lettuce. ugh.... get something that is GREEN! Leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, romaine. ;)

  8. I'd say nuts and seafood are the most expensive things we buy along with dairy replacements such as rice milk et.c. I agree that avocados can cost a bit but they're so healthy I think you should have more of them anyway. A good thing to know about avocados is that they are ok to eat even non organic. Have a look at the image I link to below to see which fruits and vegetables are ok to buy nonorganic to save some money. :) http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XJTV7y1JmIA/TfyNraeS4fI/AAAAAAAAAeA/n_IiaSUg-Bo/s1600/EWG-Dirty-Dozen-Clean-15.jpg

  9. I am really interested in this original foods diet. I did the Daniel fast last month for 3 weeks, which is very similar. I felt very good and lost 9 lbs in 3 weeks. I have 75 lbs to lose to get down to a healthy weight and I love the thought of returning to natural goodness and away from processed artificial foods that God never intended for us to put in our bodies. My only concern is that my husband suffers from IBS and can't tolerate legumes (any beans)... Do you think there would be a way to do this diet without beans? It seems like that is the main component of your diet now!

  10. How are your children responding to this at home? It is always so hard to change my children's habits, so I am just curious! You may have already addressed this, but I missed it! Thanks!

  11. I am doing the Isagenix 30 day plan and my meals are made up of fruits, raw veggies and grilled chicken. I would say I spend the most in the produce aisle. I am eating atleast 2 cups of fruits a day and love berries and pineapples which tend to be more expensive than apples and oranges. I am also curious to see how the kids are doing with this at home. I don't have a whole foods store (or Trader Joes, etc) within an hour or more so I have to shop at the local grocery store and I know they are priced higher for organics.

  12. I find the avacado's worth the splurge--they add a dense healthy fat to the day that keeps me feeling full and my sugar stable.

  13. Mary@FindingHealthyHopeJanuary 29, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    i think i could live at your house! :)
    we spend the most money on organic fruits and vegetables for sure {and 8 avocados a week!}!
    also, fresh ground organic peanut butter from our local market and lots of raw nuts, too.
    and flax seed and chia seeds etc. i guess all of those things really add up!
    for the kids, i buy sprouted bread, which is $4 a loaf, so that cuts in the budget, too. but TOTALLY worth it!
    oh! and one huge investment which is totally worth it, is our Shaklee protein. cannot live without it!
    i hope you have a super awesome week!

  14. We buy organics only. I don't see the point of a raw diet if your aren't buying organic only, because you're filling your body and your children's bodies with pesticides and chemicals!

  15. Just wanted to give you some encouragement; perhaps you are better at ignoring the negativity of some comments, but I think you are doing a great job, and it's up to each individual to decide what is best for their family! Love your ideas and I would love to see more recipes! Thanks so much!

  16. I spend the most in the dairy and meat departments... depending on the week, but what fills up my cart the most is always produce or grain products (again depending on the week, and what we are out of) I have celiac disease and cannot eat gluten, so sometimes our groceries get a little more expensive when I have to buy gluten free specific foods. For the most part I try to eat foods that are naturally gluten free. I am trying to adapt your diet for my family, basically eating foods as close to the real thing as they come, but we aren't eliminating meat or dairy. I am definitely buying less processed foods (hubby is a little resistant to this one, he really likes his bagels, bread and snacks) but for my and my little guy we are really trying to stick to 'original foods' we are just including all the food groups :) Glad to see you are making healthy choices for your family, I hope you are an inspiration to many to do the same :)

  17. Mamato4preciouslilonesJanuary 29, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I've been following you for a little while now, but have never commented. You have really encouraged me to at least partially eat healthier. I don't know if I will ever get it accomplished to switch our family totally over to original foods, but if I can incorporate more of it into our diet, I will be happy! (BTW, our 4 children are close to your children in age, from what I've figured out....son-8, son-6, son-4, daughter-2, born between April '04 - Sept.'09) I've made your East Texas Caviar several times and just am loving it!! It is so good, and that is why I hope to see more recipes from you. Avocado, lime, beans, chick peas, onion, garlic...yu-u-mm!

  18. You could try sticking to real, whole, unprocessed foods but including some eggs (at least) and/or meat.

  19. :) we do buy spring mix and spinach, and lots of cabbage, and eat them all in one week, but we buy iceberg specifically for the crunch and the leaf size since we need to make wraps out of them. The long and leafy greens just don't seem to hold as well for us in those kinds of recipes. :D

  20. yay!! We do have very similar ages of kiddos!! I'm so excited you're starting to change your diet! :D wohoo!!! I've just noticed a huge change in how I feel too! :D I think you guys will feel a change too! I hope to post more recipes soon! :) thanks for commenting today!

  21. Thank you Heather! We do tend to spend about $7 in almond milk per week now too. So glad to hear your liking the real foods at your house!! wohoo! so exciting!

  22. Thank you Jennifer! You are so sweet! I hope to post more recipes soon! :) thanks for your encouragement!!

  23. oooohhh, 8 avocados per week? I want to come live at your house! I'm loving that! Is your shaklee vegan? we are trying out arbonne protein powder for the hubs right now and like it so far...

  24. I love berries too- the only ones we can afford are strawberries around here, but I would love blackberries. We planted a plant this year- I'm hoping to reap the reward very soon! :)

  25. They are doing very well with it. They eat most of what I make now. If they don't like something {like the raw lasagna}, they eat more of the side dish and/or end up eating more at the next meal. We try not to serve special foods for not liking food, but we are trying to be a bit easier on them since we are asking for such a quick change.

  26. Maybe lentils, tofu, quinoa and grains might be easier on him? Avocados, nuts, and oats have protein in them as well, and are very filling. Like the commenter below said, you might have to incorporate the meats and eggs as you transition... :) it's about what works best for your family :D

  27. Did you know you can make your own almond milk much cheaper? I say this, but have yet to try it:-) It is on my list to try now that we are dairy free.

  28. Mandy, you are a blessing! Love your blog :-). A couple questions, my family LOVES pasta - did you all deal with that issue? If so, any suggestions to get them away from it? Also, do you have a recipe for your crockpot black beans? thanks for everything, Jenny C.

  29. Mandy, I am very intrigued by everything you've posted about this diet! For my own personal health alone (type 1 diabetic), aside from any other reason or benefit, I am feeling encouraged to give this a try.

    To add to Lilsquirtsmommy's comment about buying organic...you can definitely prioritize which produce items you buy organically vs. conventionally if it isn't in the budget to purchase all organic. You may (probably do) already know about the dirty dozen/clean fifteen, but if not, do a quick google search for more info. In short...the dirty dozen is primarily fruits/veggies that either don't have a protective outer peel that isn't consumed or that have no outer peel. They are the fruits/veggies that absorb the most harmful pesticides and chemicals when produced conventionally. Off the top of my head...apples, peaches, cherries, lettuce, celery, imported grapes, bell peppers, spinach. The clean fifteen are basically the opposite...either the food doesn't tend to be sprayed as heavily, doesn't have an edible peel or doesn't absorb as many of the harmful pesticides...avocado, cabbage, pineapple, sweet peas, cantaloupe, watermelon. A lot of the clean fifteen just happen to be yummy summer fruits and veggies! ;)

    To answer your question...I spend the most on organic meat, dairy and produce. Both my husband and I have expressed that we'd like to eat less meat/dairy and rely more on healthy whole grains and produce...the way you have chronicled your journey makes me feel like it might be doable for us. Thank you for putting so much time and effort into documenting this diet. I'm not at all surprised that your family is thriving on these original foods...keep up the great work!!

  30. so i'm very late to comment on this one, but thought you'd be interested. since we're starting this diet on monday, i've been looking for deals-- you can get FIVE avocados for ONE dollar at the mexican grocery store! i'm sure it's a sale for this week and season only, but what a deal! i'll eat them more frequently while they're at this price. husband loves them, so homemade guac will go great with the bean wraps we're having early in the week.


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