So here we are, part two of the hardest week of my life. Today we’re going through my £20 grocery list for my grocery challenge. I’m going to start with what I bought, what I had at home that I’m adding to the total cost and explain a few of my choices. There are a few seemingly luxury items in this haul. As I said last time, I’m hoping to go through this week eating as close to my normal diet as physically possible. This meant getting a few slightly more expensive items in an attempt to get as many nutrients as I could within my budget.
Before I start, I forget to mention a couple of things last time. I told you I eat a plant based diet, I forgot to tell you that I eat a primarily whole foods vegan diet. You won’t find any meat or cheese substitutes in my basket at any time, regardless of my budget. The only ‘substitutes’ I buy are almond milk and sometimes some soy yoghurt, the rest is whole foods. Also forgot to tell you I usually eat a mainly gluten free diet. I don’t have coeliac disease, although this week has made me question that, but I do struggle to digest gluten; I get stomach aches, bloat etc.
So, I usually don’t buy breads and would usually buy gluten free oats and pasta etc. As I said, not a diagnosed illness so if I can afford gluten free anything, I will be buying it. If I can’t, I can’t. One week won’t kill me.
If you haven’t seen the first part of this series I recommend you read that now. It’s a little backstory to how I usually shop and eat, as well as my plans for this week.
I did all my shopping in Tesco, my usual supermarket. Of course, you can get all of this cheaper somewhere like Aldi, but we’re trying to stick as close to normal as possible, which meant shopping in my usual supermarket.
I did buy additional items, a few things for a recipe post, some kale for my guinea pig…these items went through on a separate receipt so everything listed below will be exclusively for this challenge.
And before I continue, all prices and offers were correct as of 6/1/18 and are the prices in my local store. They may vary depending on your location.
If you read part one, you’ll remember that I’m shopping for two people. I’m only going to explain the choices I made for the things that are mine, a few of the items pictured aren’t for me.
What I Bought
You’ll notice a large amount of Alpro. I usually buy Alpro milks and yoghurts as I appreciate the fact they’re fortified with calcium and B12. I didn’t think this week was the week to be cutting nutrients out of my diet so instead of swapping to Tesco own brand, I was simply going to skip the yoghurt and only get one milk instead of two. The stars were shining on me, everything Alpro was £1 this week, no sacrifices had to be made here. This made me happier than I care to admit.
Next up, the basics. Plenty of chickpeas, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, rice and lentil prices were added from my own cupboards. Nothing exciting here.
Oats. Gluten free oats are £2 for 450g, regular oats are 65p for 500g. My first sacrifice was made. I really like overnight oats, I really am not too keen on porridge. I live in northern England and it’s January, overnight oats weren’t happening. My body needs warmth. So, I couldn’t afford a syrup or sweetener. I decided to get another luxury item of peanut butter. It made more sense, it added a little fat and protein to my breakfast to help keep my diet more balanced and I got bread, so I had something to put on that too. Syrup and bread not such a great mix, PB made much more sense.
Pasta. This felt like a bit of a cop out. I wouldn’t usually eat pasta too often. For me pasta is a ‘there’s nothing in and I can’t be bothered going to the shop’ kind of meal. But it’s cheap(ish) and it’s easy to throw random things into. I bought lentil pasta for two reasons, I’m trying to make this as healthy as possible, the protein levels in the foods I’ve bought so far aren’t that high, so this will give my levels an easy boost. Secondly, think back to the intro, this one is 100% lentil flour, there’s no gluten in lentils. It’s £1.25 which was about 50/60p more expensive than wheat pasta. A small hit for the budget, a massive victory for my stomach.
Fruits and vegetables. You’ve probably noticed so far that I’m lacking. I couldn’t afford fruit, plain and simple. As for the veg, I bought a few things that can be thrown into many things, so I didn’t have to splash out on different things for different dishes. I got some peppers, chestnut mushrooms (for the vitamin D), carrots and onions. Spinach was on my original grocery list as I thought the micro-nutrient density would be a good thing. And I could throw it in quite a few meals. Turns out kale was cheaper so I bought that instead. I also bought chopped tomatoes and the canned beans are one of your 5 a day as well so I may not be at peak nutrition but I’m not totally malnourished either.
Bars. This was the luxury item I debated over the most. I wasn’t going to get any, but as you’ll have read last time, this is basically my lunch. These bars were around £2.50, a huge chunk of the budget. But by the time I factored in what I could get as an alternative, the cost for 5 bars didn’t seem that bad. They say they’re one of my five a day as well, so back to that whole not being malnourished thing…
I put chia seeds on my list. To many of you this will seem absurd. They’re expensive, they don’t fill you in any way, shape or form, BUT chia seeds are one of the only vegan sources of omega 3. I took on this challenge with the mentality I wouldn’t be doing this as cheap as I could, but as affordably as I could while making it maintainable in the long run. This isn’t maintainable if I’m ignoring an entire micro-nutrient completely. And chia seeds were cheaper than flax seeds, so we got chia. Or I took them from my cupboard to be more accurate.
If you read my last post, you’ll know I was unsure about my budget. £20 + £20 for two people sounded too high, so I was hoping for £30 ish. Which is exactly where I ended up. Below you’ll find an itemised list of everything I bought, what I took from my cupboards, my receipt and a screenshot from my phone. I was adding everything up as I went along to make sure I wasn’t spending too much as well as adding the cost of items I would be taking from home, accounting for current offers. The phone shot is the total price for everything, which is why the totals are slightly different. The receipt includes the cost of a coupe of bags which I subtracted from the list, and a couple of items scanned for a few pennies different than the labelled price when I got to the till.
Now I allowed for stock cubes, which I didn’t end up needing and I forgot to add the chia seeds as they’re from a different store. The total -£0.38 for the stock cubes and +£1.99 for my chia seeds leaves us with a grand total of £32.05.
£16.025 per person for a full week, including some luxury items. I think I did quite well?
There we have it, everything I’m eating this week. It did not look like much when I unloaded my trolley and my fridge is definitely looking more empty than usual. As I’m typing this, it’s currently day three for me and I’m suffering from some serious cravings. I did manage to buy enough to not be starving though, I think I did well in balancing my macronutrient ratio.
Although I am accepting chocolate donations, DM for details. I’m kidding. Kind of.
Come back Sunday to find out what I made with all the above and my general thoughts on how I’ve found this week. We’ll be taking a look at my nutritional intake too. Spoiler: keeping a food diary is getting tedious.
Until next time,