Weekly Meal Plans $5 a Day for 5 Days

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 12:05:32-04

Here are five easy, tasty dinners, with optional breakfast and lunch suggestions, that come in at about $5 a day per person. The goal with meal planning is to make efficient use of your ingredients and to shop accordingly. Many ingredients appear multiple times throughout the recipes. We also suggest substitutions to help your ingredients go further. This meal plan centers around roasting a chicken, from which you can make three good meals (for 2 people; if cooking for 4, just double the recipe, and the cost per serving will be the same).

You can easily skip the breakfast/lunch suggestions for a grab-and-go meal, like we often do, or mix and match your own.


Garlic and Lemon Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes* $1.90 a serving *save the leftovers for day 3 and the bones for day 5

Breakfast and Lunch suggestions:

Orange-Banana French Toast $1.45 a serving Veggie Fried Rice $1.07 a serving

Total for day: $4.42


Potatoes Gratin with Glazed Carrots $2.31 a serving

Breakfast and Lunch suggestions:

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Omelet* $1.73
*substitute toast for the fingerling potatoes or use baking potatoes

Olive and Herb Tuna Wrap $1.62

Total for day: $5.66


Chicken and Corn Pie $2.25 a serving
*using leftover chicken from day 1 will make this even less expensive!

Breakfast and Lunch suggestions:

Blackberry-Lemon Muffin and Chia Pudding $1.29 a serving (.41+.88)

Rev 5.26.18

*use either blackberries or blueberries for both

Brie Panini * $1.73 a serving
*make with cheddar leftover from day 2 if you don’t want to buy another cheese

Total for day: $5.57


Pasta alla Carbonara $1.76 a serving *use any leftover bacon for breakfast

Breakfast and Lunch suggestions:

Fruit and Chia Pudding $1.38 a serving
Chickpea, Tomato, Mint and Feta* Salad $2.07 a serving (*substitute goat cheese, which also appears in the Zucchini Omelet)

Total for day: $5.21


Escarole Rice Soup $1.40 a serving
*make with homemade chicken broth for additional savings

Breakfast and Lunch suggestions:

Bacon-Scallion Quesadilla $1.05 a serving
Black Bean, Corn and Zucchini Fritters $1.60 a serving

*substitute carrots if leftover from the glazed carrots with Potatoes Gratin on day 2; or use any remaining zucchini from omelette on day 2

Total for day: $4.05 _______________________________________________

Not in the mood to cook five times this week? Many items can be frozen for later: cooked chicken, chicken bones for broth, cheddar, bacon, tortillas, corn, bread, milk, and even fresh herbs (wrapped in plastic or wax paper and stored in an airtight container).

Ingredient List

Here’s a look at the main ingredients that are used in more than one recipe in the five-day plan, which saves a great deal of time, effort, and expense when shopping:

ROASTING CHICKEN: for Garlic and Lemon Chicken, Chicken Pie, Escarole Rice Soup BREAD: for French Toast, Brie Panini, and Crostini (with Chickpea Salad)

EGGS: for Omelets, Fried Rice, Muffins, Carbonara, French Toast, Fritters BACON: for Quesadilla, Carbonara
TORTILLAS: for Tuna Wrap, Quesadilla
ZUCCHINI: Omelets, Fritters

CORN: Chicken Pie, Fritters, Veggie Fried Rice (optional) PEAS: Fried Rice, Carbonara

CARROTS: Fried Rice, Glazed Carrots (with Potatoes Gratin), Fritters (optional substitution)

CHEESE: cheddar for Potatoes Gratin, Panini, Quesadilla; Parmesan for Carbonara, Escarole Rice Soup; feta or goat cheese for Chickpea Salad, Omelet

GARLIC: Roasted Chicken, Escarole Rice Soup

SCALLION, ONION: Quesadilla, Chicken Pie, Fritters, Gratin

POTATOES: for Omelet, Gratin, Fritters (optional substitution)

FRUIT: banana, orange, and blackberries or blueberries for French Toast, Chia Pudding, Muffins; lemon for Muffins and Roasted Chicken

GREENS: spinach for Fried Rice and Escarole Rice Soup (substitution for escarole); spinach and/or romaine for Chickpea Salad, Tuna Wrap, or optional side salad with Chicken Pie

FRESH HERBS: choose one, such as fresh dill, parsley, cilantro, or mint, and use it wherever a fresh herb is suggested. These are perishable but leftovers can be minced and frozen in a tightly closed container, which preserves much of their scent and flavor.