Organic, Vegan Meals…$2.36 a pop.

Me: "You can't get the Sweet and Savory."

My husband stared at me blankly.
He looked down at the bag of delicious, chocolatey trail mix in his hands.

Him: "Why not?"

Me: "It's not on the list."

Him: "What list? What are you talking about?"

Me: "I'm trying to see if we can eat three meals a day, for a week for less than a hundred dollars and the Sweet and Savory is not an essential. Besides it's not vegan."

Him: "I'm not a vegan."

Me: "I know, but this week you are going to eat vegan, too."

Him: "What?! Why?! Why are you doing this to me?!?!"

I will spare you the lecture that I then proceeded to unload on my husband.
The lecture included a commentary on the great food divide that is growing in this country and this ARTICLE and the fact that more than 50 million people are what is known as "food insecure" and are not sure if they will have enough food to last the week let alone concern themselves with all the luxurious trivia we debate over like "in season" and "locally grown" and "organic"…which, by the way, should NOT be a label or a description because ORGANIC is the way ALL FOOD SHOULD BE GROWN and not a privilege for those can afford it…and we can not ask people to change their eating habits if the system makes it literally impossible for them to do so and those of us who do have the luxury of choice need to fight for the weaker amongst us and demand food equality for all and if we truly want to see things change we need to…as Gandhi said… be the change we want to see in the world.

I carried on all the way to the canned goods aisle.

I'll just give you the cliff notes...

The biggest reasons that I hear from people as to why they don't eat healthy, organic, whole foods are:

1. They take too long to prepare.
2. They spoil too quickly.
3. They cost too much money.

Ok, friends.
Let's put this to the test, shall we?
Let's see how far $100 in veggies actually stretches.

Here is the challenge that I have made for myself (and my excellent sport of a husband):

-For the next week we will only eat only from the groceries that we bought at Trader Joe's. I chose Trader Joe's because it is a fairly accessible nationwide chain. They also have a great selection of reasonably priced organic foods. My grocery bill was $98.91. For two people, three meals a day, for 7 days...that comes out to….$2.36 per meal.

-Most everything on that list is vegan and organic. (Sweet and Savory Trail Mix notwithstanding…He won that battle.) I will mark what is not organic with an asterisk.
-Everything I cook will take less than 30 minutes to make.

-I will not be using any fancy cooking equipment…just 1 pot, 1 skillet and a blender(no juicer or gadgets…).  I will be using Ruby, my Vita-Mix, because she is the only blender that I own, but I won't make any food in her that couldn't be made in a regular blender.

-I also included a list of pantry items that I already had in the house. Those items total less than $25 dollars and should last for many weeks. Rather than trying to figure out how much one week's worth of garlic powder would cost…I didn't include those items in my weekly total. However for the sake of an accurate experiment, I still totaled up the cost of those items.

-I'll keep track of all the meals we make and post the highlights.

Here's the list:

Jen's Trader Joe's One Week Shopping List

Fruits: $17.28
frozen strawberries: 1.99
(2) frozen blueberries: 7.98
(5)apples: 3.50
(8)banana: 2.32
(4)lemons**: 1.49

Vegetables: $25.37
frozen spinach: 1.99
(2)frozen broccoli: 4.58
frozen brussel sprouts**: 0.99
baby carrots: 1.49
(6)romaine hearts: 4.58
(4)avocados**: 6.76
pre-packaged beets**: 1.99
pre-packaged lentils**: 2.99

Beverages: $12.96
wine**: 3.99
orange juice: 4.49
almond milk: 1.99
apple cider vinegar: 2.49

Canned goods: $7.55
(2)black beans: 2.38
garbanzo beans: 1.19
lentil soup: 1.99
split pea soup: 1.99

Starches: $14.15

brown rice: 3.49
(2)brown rice pasta: 3.98
(4)sweet potatoes: 3.69
tortilla chips: 2.99

Misc.: $21.60
(2)salsa: 2.29
(4)lara bars**: 5.16
Sweet and Savory Trail Mix**: 3.69
Individual packs of cashew, almond, cranberry trail mix**: 4.99
(2) dark chocolate bars: 3.98
raw sunflower seeds**: 1.49

Weekly Total: $98.91: $2.36 per meal

Pantry Items (not included in weekly total): $23.42
olive oil: 5.99
lemon pepper: 1.99
garlic powder: 1.99
oregano: 1.99
red pepper flakes: 1.99
dijon mustard: 1.69
red wine vinegar: 1.79
coffee: 5.99

**Non-Organic Items

Happy Tuesday, Veggies!!!
May your fridge and your heart always be full.
Here we go….

-♥ J :)
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