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$3 a Day Meal Plan Challenge

Have fun and try something new with this $3/Day Vegan Meal Plan Challenge! With 6 individual recipes full of fresh produce, plant protein, and tons of flavor, you’ll be surprised just how delicious saving money can be. This can be made for one person or an entire family.

bowl of vegan chickpea orzo soup on a table with a grey cloth and a piece of multigrain bread
Chickpea Orzo Soup

What is the $3 a Day Vegan Meal Plan Challenge?

The $3/Day Vegan Meal Plan Challenge is a set of 6 recipes (4-6 servings each) designed to take you from Sunday-Saturday with breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas. It is paired with a printable grocery list and a set of suggested snack options. Each meal is designed to fully provide you with the nutrients your body needs to thrive, including complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and high-quality plant-based protein. These recipes are filling and most importantly, delicious. The cost per serving for each day of this meal plan equates to less than $3.00 USD.

How does it work?

The complete this challenge, you will first start by purchasing all ingredients on the included shopping list. Prices here were taken from Walmart.com, the grocery retailer most commonly found across the United States. Once you purchase the ingredients, you are free to begin cooking the recipes from the plan:

12 chocolate chip chewy bars on a marble table next to a chocolate chunk bowl
Chocolate Chip Chewy Bars

Where can I buy the ingredients needed?

Walmart was chosen as an equitable option but you can feel free to purchase these ingredients at your favorite grocery store or a budget retailer near you. Just keep in mind, the specific prices listed here only account for Walmart ingredients. You may be able to find a better price for items in your area, so this is just a guideline!

There are a few ingredients you will need that are not included in this meal plan. I omitted olive oil, salt, pepper, and water because most of these items are likely already available in your kitchen.

How much food does this vegan meal plan make?

If you purchase this entire grocery list at Walmart, it will likely cost around $60. However, many of the ingredients you buy will last for longer than one week. So, $60-$65 of food will create at least 25 servings, with room to spare.

I know not everyone eats the suggested serving size of these recipes (which is good, you need to listen to what your own body is craving). So, there is wiggle room if you’d like to go under or above what is recommended in each recipe task card. Each recipe (aside from the Banana Nut Oatmeal) makes 4-6 servings at a time. What’s great about this high quantity of food is that you only need to go to the grocery store one time at the beginning of the week. All of this food will keep for a few days when stored in the fridge. You are also more than welcome to change up the order of what’s suggested in the example timeline.

overhead shot of vegan sesame noodles in a blue bowl with a fork and sesame seeds
15-Minute Ginger Sesame Noodles

Downloadable Assets: Grocery List and Meal Schedule

Below I’ve included an example schedule breaking down each meal alongside the corresponding cost per serving. Using these metrics, you can see how the estimated cot per day for one person is consistently under $3.00. Even if you are not finding the exact same prices I did, I guarantee you will save money trying this method.

Example Weekly Schedule (with Prices) for $3 a Day Meal Plan Challenge

MealSundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
BreakfastBanana Oatmeal ($0.86)Chewy Bars ($0.04)Chewy
Bars ($0.04)
Chewy
Bars
($0.04)
Banana Oatmeal ($0.86)Chewy Bars
($0.04)
Banana Oatmeal ($0.86)
LunchOrzo
Soup ($0.93)
Sesame Noodles ($0.76)Peanut Tofu ($1.55)Peanut
Tofu
($1.55)
Crispy Orzo ($0.51)Peanut Tofu
($1.55)
Crispy Orzo ($0.51)
DinnerSesame Noodles ($0.76)Orzo
Soup ($0.93)
Crispy Orzo
($0.51)
Orzo
Soup ($0.93)
Sesame Noodles ($0.76)Orzo
Soup ($0.93)
Sesame Noodles ($0.76)
Cost Per Day for One Person
(3 meals)
$2.55$1.73$2.10$2.52$2.13$2.52$2.13

Does this plan come with any snacks?

Yes! Snacking is a huge part of my weekly diet and I wanted to be sure to include options for it within the realm of this grocery list. These snacks can be made with ingredients you already have on hands as extras from the recipe-specific food needs.

Snacks That Fit Into This Plan

Ants on a Log: Top one stalk of celery with 1 TBS peanut butter. Dot raisins on top of peanut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Quick Banana Oat Snack Cake: Grind 3/4 cup of oats in a blender until you achieve a fine powder. Mash 1/2 of a banana into the oat flour until a sticky paste forms. Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 TBS olive oil. Lightly oil a skillet and cook as you would a pancake, a few minutes per side until cooked through. Serve with maple syrup and chopped pecans.

side view of crispy orzo in white bowl with silver spoon
Crispy Orzo with Peas

How do I make the recipes included here?

How to Make Banana Nut Oatmeal

1. In a small pot, combine 1/2 cup rolled oats, 3 TBS raisins, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup water.

2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring while it thickens. Once desired texture is achieved, remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 banana, sliced into rounds.

3. Alternatively, cook oatmeal in a large, microwave-safe bowl for three minutes. Enjoy immediately.

Full instructions for all other recipes are available at the links below:

Quaker Chewy Bars
Ginger Sesame Noodles
Peanut Tofu with Broccoli and Rice
Crispy Orzo with Peas
Chickpea Orzo Soup

peanut tofu meal prep with broccoli and rice
Peanut Tofu

Possible Substitutions and Modifications

Some of the recipes included in the plan have slight modifications for added convenience and savings. For example, we are subbing cabbage for kale in a few recipes. It is a hearty green loaded with vitamins that also has a very long shelf life (and low price tag). In the noodle recipe we are only using peas (not edamame) as our plant protein. This is simple because we will be using this same bag of frozen peas to make the Crispy Orzo.

In each of the recipes included below, there are certain ingredients marked “optional.” In an effort to save you time and money I omitted them, but please feel free to add them back if you would like or if you have them available. You may not be familiar with every ingredient on this list, so I encourage you to experiment with something new.

Print
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bowl of vegan chickpea orzo soup on a table with a grey cloth and a piece of multigrain bread

$3 a Day Meal Plan Challenge


Description

Have fun and try something new with this $3/Day Vegan Meal Plan Challenge! With 6 individual recipes full of fresh produce, plant protein, and tons of flavor, you’ll be surprised just how delicious saving money can be. This can be made for one person or an entire family.


Ingredients

Scale

Click here for a full and printable ingredient list for all recipes. 

For banana nut oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 TBS raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp banana

Instructions

Click here to make Chewy Bars.

Click here to make Ginger Sesame Noodles.

Click here to make Peanut Tofu with Broccoli.

Click here to make Chickpea Orzo Soup.

Click here to make Crispy Orzo with Peas.

To make banana nut oatmeal:

  1. In a small pot, combine 1/2 cup rolled oats, 3 TBS raisins, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring while it thickens. Once desired texture is achieved, remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 banana, sliced into rounds.
  3. Alternatively, cook oatmeal in a large, microwave-safe bowl for three minutes. Enjoy immediately.
Portrait of Emily, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments! Meet me here.

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Comments

  1. sue0523 says

    I LOVE this idea! In fact, eating “clean and healthy” doesn’t have to break the bank; I can’t wait to try this!

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Garlic Head is a plant-based community founded by me, Emily. I focus on providing affordable, simple, & healthy recipes for entertaining.

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