What I Ate This Week For £20 | £20 Grocery Challenge

Hi guys, today’s post is the final installment of my £20 Grocery Challenge – what I ate this week for £20.  if this is the first part of this series you’re seeing, I recommend you go back and read Tuesday’s and Thursday’s posts. Tuesday’s was all about how I planned out my grocery shop and Thursday was everything I bought, how much it all cost and why I chose to get certain things for a nutritional purpose. 

How I Found It

Before we get into what I ate, I’m going to give a brief overview of how I found it. The thing I think you’ll all be wondering, I didn’t go hungry. As I have a small appetite, I convinced my mum to do this with me, eating the same things, to let me know her thoughts. She wasn’t hungry either, well done me for planning meals with substance.  

One thing I did find, I was getting bored of eating similar things. With a limited amount of vegetables, mixing things up wasn’t the easiest. Although, as you’re about to see, I did cook a variety of dishes, it was a bit dull. That could just be me though, I like to cook, this is a food blog (primarily) and I’m always playing around with recipes so I probably get tired of things faster than the average person.  

Another thing, I mentioned in the planning post that I was going to have to skip the snacks I usually eat and have more square meals to keep the cost down. As I result, I think I did eat less than normal this week. There were several days where I didn’t eat anything until much later in the day because eating a full meal wasn’t that appetising. If you eat more than the average sparrow this probably won’t be a deal breaker. But, if you’re like me and you like to graze on things like fruits and nuts throughout the day, this could be hard. 

The following diary is written more in note form, like an actual diary, as it was written while I was doing the challenge so I didn’t forget. Sorry it isn’t more polished! And another apology that some of the photos aren’t great, it was November and dinner is around 8pm in my house most nights. Good lighting is not the one. 

My Food Diary 

Sunday 4th November 

Today was fabulous, great start, didn’t eat anything until dinner. I wish I could remember why, but the first and only thing I ate was a lentil and potato curry for dinner. I’m sure sticking to £20 for a week is easy if you only eat a meal a day, but it’s not a strategy I recommend. Here’s to a better day tomorrow.   

Lentil + Potato Curry  

Ingredients Used: half an onion, half a pepper, half a cup of red lentils, one baking potato, half a cup frozen peas, half a tin of chopped tomatoes plus some vegetable stock, herbs and spices.  

Servings Made: 1

Monday 5th  

I actually woke up with an appetite!! Eating one meal yesterday served me well for eating a normal amount of food today. If you read the grocery haul post, you’ll know that I had very limited options for breakfast this week. 

Breakfast – Oats w/ grated apple  

Self explanatory. Half a cup of oats, made with ½ cup almond milk, ½ cup water, ½ an apple grated in and some chia seeds for those healthy omega 3 fats. And a little brown sugar.  

apple oats

Snack – other half of the apple  

Lunch – Lentil Pasta  

Lunch was made in a hurry so I had some lentil pasta with some spicy tomato sauce I made up. No vegetables were used for this one, trying to save those for my dinner options.  

Ingredients Used: 100g lentil pasta, half a tin of chopped tomatoes plus herbs and spices. 

Servings made: 1 

Dinner – Squash Casserole  

This was my ‘blow the budget’ meal. My butternut squash was quite expensive compared to my other vegetables and I wanted at least one meal that didn’t feel like a compromise. This is a recipe I put up back in February with just a couple of small changes to reduce the cost a bit.  

Ingredients Used: 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, whole butternut squash (mine was small, I usually use half), one baking potato, I can chickpeas plus herbs and spices. 

Servings made: 2  

Photo is from the original recipe, not the one I made this week.

Tuesday 6th  

Breakfast -Baked Oats  

½ cup of oats, water, ½ an apple (I ate the other half while I was prepping), a pinch of cinnamon and brown sugar. Gotta try and get some variety with those limited ingredients.  

Bar at Caffe Nero  

I know this is sort of cheating, but here’s my logic. I was having a coffee with my dad and he was paying. If I was really on a £20 budget because that was my only choice, he’d still have paid and I’d have probably had my snack anyway? Not technically within my budget but I didn’t spend more than my budget. I know that’s a technicality, let me know your thoughts on this. Did I cheat? 

Lentil veggie pasta  

Finally, some fresh vegetables and a protein source. I wasn’t measuring my vegetables out when I was making the pasta, just eye balling it to make sure I had enough of the ingredients left to make other dishes later in the week so I’m sorry this isn’t very precise. 

Ingredients Used: 100g lentil pasta, pepper, onion, mushrooms, half a tin of chopped tomatoes plus herbs and spices. 

Servings made: 1 

Wednesday 7th  

I actually did a ‘what I eat in a day budget edition’ post with the food I ate on this day so you can read about this in more detail here. 

Breakfast – Oats w/grated apple + the other half of the apple  

Snack – Roasted chickpeas 

Late Afternoon – Soup/ roasted chickpeas  

Later? – Some leftovers of Monday’s dinner 

Thursday 8th  

Breakfast – Oats 

The same as Monday.  

Lunch – Lentil veggie pasta 

Pretty much the same as the other day, remember I said I was getting bored of this… 

Later- Potato 

The small appetite kicked in again and the lentil pasta left me quite full for a long time. I didn’t want dinner at dinner time and made a baked potato later in the evening.  

Friday 9th  

Breakfast – Oats w/ apple 

Same breakfast as Monday again, I’m bored now.  

Snack – ½ portion oats 

Oh, look, more oats. This was the I want something to eat but don’t have the appetite for a full meal situation repeating itself. 

Dinner – Patatas Bravas  

Laziness kicking in at the end of the week. My leftover potato roasted with another spicy sauce.  

Ingredients used: 1 baking potato, 1 onion, a tin of chopped tomatoes 

Saturday 10th   

Breakfast – Baked Oats 

I found another way to make breakfast!! Last time I baked my oats, I baked cinnamon apples alongside my oats. This time, I baked my apples inside my oats. Exciting.  

This ends here. Originally, my plan was to make a lentil dal this night with my last tin of tomatoes and some of my lentils but my nan had a health scare that afternoon (she’s fine) so dinner was something I grabbed quickly, off plan. But I had planned dinner within my budget and would have made that if the situation had been different.  So, I think this whole thing was quite successful.  

Going forward 

Before I end this post, I’d like to add something about nutrition and vitamin consumption. Just like last time I did this, I spent more money than 100% essential to try and keep this as healthy and balanced as possible. Of course, there are some things missing here.  

This is only one week in my life, not something I have to battle with daily. However, that’s not the case for everyone. If this was my every day, I would shop wisely in the following weeks from a nutritional perspective.  

What’s left? 

We have some pasta and some lentils left. Together, they make just over £4. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s over 20% of the weekly budget. I wouldn’t need to buy more sugar, there’s another £1. I’d have peas left as well, another £1.30 saved. There’s a tin of chickpeas left too. All in, that’s £7 (ish) of items I wouldn’t need the following week. 

If I’d continued this for a second week, I would invest that money into fresher ingredients for the following week, perhaps more frozen vegetables to try and get some more nutritional variety. And probably something like rice as a cheap cupboard staple to either bulk other meals up or make something like a Mexican bean rice as another cheap meal option. 

And that’s a wrap on the £20 Grocery Challenge #2. I hope you guys have enjoyed the second installment of this series and maybe picked up a few tips on the way. How do you think I did? Would you have done it differently? 

Until next time,  

Sophie 

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33 Comments

  1. 9th December 2018 / 9:09 am

    Gosh I don’t know how you managed to go the first day only eating dinner – I’d be dying from hunger! I can’t go without all three meals of the day along with snacks in between, so it’ll be very difficult for me to go on a food budget… In other news, that butternut squash casserole sounds lovely!

  2. 9th December 2018 / 10:00 am

    What a brilliant challenge, you have made such amazing food with it too! Think I will have to do something similar for sure! Oats and spiced apple are one of my favourite breakfasts.

    Mel |

    Moonlight Mel

  3. 9th December 2018 / 10:07 am

    Wowsers! All of these recipes look delicious. I can’t believe you managed all of this for £20? You’re an absolute hero. That lentil and potato curry looks delicious. This has given me a lot of inspiration. I love to cook and sometimes I feel like i’m going overboard on my budget for the food shop. This is purely laziness more than anything I think. You have inspired me. Excellent job 🙂 Rach x

  4. 9th December 2018 / 10:14 am

    This is great love posts like this and also love lentils so will be attempting a few of these ideas myself! Well done x

  5. 9th December 2018 / 11:59 am

    Loved the 2nd post of this, it’s so interesting to see how you’d spend £20 for a week because obviously you eat a vegan lifestyle whereas i dont!

  6. 9th December 2018 / 12:46 pm

    This was so interesting. I love seeing what other people eat and I loved finding out how you managed on just £20 for the whole week. Well done. Also your pictures are making me so hungry!

    Nicola
    http://nicshealthylife.co.uk

  7. 9th December 2018 / 1:01 pm

    Not only is this great for the budget, but so healthy too!! Your meals look amazing, I might steal some ideas for next week 😉

  8. 9th December 2018 / 1:28 pm

    This is a really great post! Shows not only can you get great meals on a budget but ones that are healthy and filling! I always love finding new recipes and ideas for meals as its something I struggle with!

    Gemma xx
    http://www.touchofbelle.co.uk/

  9. 9th December 2018 / 3:00 pm

    Seems like you did really well given the budget restrictions you set for yourself. All your meals seemed quite lovely though I admit I would probably get tired of some of the same ingredients after a while too! Still the fact that you made a really good variety with limited Ingredients is great!

  10. 9th December 2018 / 8:06 pm

    I’m really very impressed with how well you did with this. I know you found it a bit repetitive towards the end but I think I’d have given up a lot more quickly than you did! Also, for what it’s worth, I agree that you didn’t cheat. You didn’t spend extra money – would you have been cheating if you’d gone to a family member’s house and they’d offered you a sandwich or a biscuit with tea? I don’t think so at all!
    Loved this challenge, it was really eyeopening!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  11. 9th December 2018 / 8:22 pm

    I think you did very well. I hate to eat the same thing over and over… meal planning and I probably won’t work but this looks like a really kool and fun challenge to try once, only once .

  12. 9th December 2018 / 8:35 pm

    Great post!! I love the accompanying photos too. Really brings it to life. I need to start planning my meals again and this has really inspired me.

  13. Michelle Blackadar
    9th December 2018 / 8:39 pm

    omg i’m hungry just thinking about waiting until dinner to eat my first meal! i think you did a great job on the challenge. definitely learned a lot about to budget wisely and get the most out of the weekly shopping trip. great job! xx

    mich / simplymich.com

  14. 9th December 2018 / 9:40 pm

    I know these meals are cheap, but they do look delicious to me.
    I do wow you for being so organized and managed to eat cooked food every day, and also, I don’t know how you made the first day only on dinner. It’s impressive.

  15. 9th December 2018 / 9:52 pm

    What a great challenge though I have to say it does sound like you were on a bit of an I’m a celeb diet with the breakfast lol.

  16. 10th December 2018 / 2:40 am

    I’m the same way in the sense that I eat very small meals and get full very fast. That used to mean that I was hungry every three hours, but as of recently, I’ve been able to eat only about two medium size meals a day, and I’m set for the day. It’s so weird how my body has adjusted in such a short amount of time–this is something that’s started in the last two weeks or so. This series has been so interesting, and I think I’d actually end up having similar patterns to you if I ever tried this! x

  17. 10th December 2018 / 3:18 am

    The lentil and potato curry looks soooo good! I really love the meal ideas for these. I definitely get you by the nth day some of them become boring and it’s time to move on I love your discovery about baking the apples inside your oats, I feel like I can hear the sarcasm off that really well haha!! You did excellent for this challenge Sophie!!

  18. Asher Downer
    10th December 2018 / 2:13 pm

    Yes! This post made me so hungry!

  19. 10th December 2018 / 5:12 pm

    I think you did amazingly well on such a small budget! The Squash Casserole looks delicious! I love how you were getting creative with the oats to add some breakfast variety. This is such an interesting challenge and has definitely given me some ideas and inspiration on different ways to save money and what recipes to try, so thank you for sharing Sophie! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  20. 10th December 2018 / 5:14 pm

    You did a great job in keep to the budget and even managing to go under it! I am not sure I could do the same thing, though I can relate when you say that you got a little bored with eating the same ingredients. Great post!

  21. 10th December 2018 / 5:16 pm

    God, how do you manage?! I mean I go to Tesco and pay £10 for just four meals! Tesco metro so i guess that’s why! you’re so good at it! your soup with roasted chickpeas looks so delicious!

  22. 10th December 2018 / 5:39 pm

    This was so interesting to read, I feel like I would struggle if this was me to try it – I quite often snack during the day! I’m so impressed with how you did this, and I don’t think you cheated with what happened with your Dad 😛 if it was a full day thing and loads of money was spent then maybe it would be a bit different but I can’t see how it is a problem! Your food looks amazing in your photo’s, as always! I can smell food cooking at the moment and looking at your photo’s has made me so hungry, haha.

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

  23. 10th December 2018 / 6:23 pm

    Being honest, I’d probably get just as bored as you did! That sounds like quite a lot of potato to eat. The lentil and potato curry sounds amazing though. I’m currently attempting a two week detox before most likely binging on fatty foods at Christmas and was looking for some inspiration for a veggie curry as I’m not a sweet potato fan so this has been a bit of a sign! I don’t know how I’d cope on £20 a week for prolonged periods to be honest, I like my snacks too!
    Alice Xx

  24. 10th December 2018 / 7:02 pm

    Well done! This is was a great challenge I loved how you still found the time to put some variety in your meals. I have done something similar and I had to force myself to plan out my meals to get the best out of the ingredients. Thanks for sharing this with us x

    Bee | makeeatrepeat.co.uk

  25. 10th December 2018 / 9:50 pm

    The butternut squash casserole looks/sounds really nice! I love squash but never tend to eat it much as it’s a palaver to chop up… I need to step up my game. I can understand what you mean about getting bored with your meals. It’s tough when your budget is so limited and it’s sad that so many people struggle in this way! You’ve got some really great, helpful recipes in there though which may inspire people so well done

    http://www.missblogsabit.com

  26. 11th December 2018 / 12:38 pm

    You did so well with this, I often get the same thing where I don’t eat anything until dinner because I’m just not hungry for some reason! It must be hard having the same breakfast over and over though, I definitely have to change it up. Your meals you cooked though look great, I especially love the look and sound of the squash casserole!

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

  27. 13th December 2018 / 9:39 am

    The lentil and potato curry looks and sounds REALLY nice. Definitely my sort of dish! I have a pretty big appetite so I’d struggle a lot with a challenge like this I think – unless maybe I had a chef cooking all my meals and making them hearty and filling!

  28. 14th December 2018 / 8:48 pm

    This was such a great challenge and you did so well especially to have quite a bit leftover so you could plan accordingly for the following week if you had to! I don’t think you cheated when your Dad bought your bar, if you were actually on a budget and were on your own you wouldn’t have had it so that’s fair! I think I’d have gotten bored eating similar meals as well but it’s great to see it can be done!

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
    xx

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