I hesitate to say meal plan at it is not entirely that detailed but it is a vague plan.
Main weapons in the arsenal of affordable but healthy are:
Portion size - we eat less than we used too. This is deliberate because I am definitely hippoish, Fahed put on weight after his heart attack some years ago (apparently this is normal, caused by fear of exertion). Both kids are muscular but still quite slender, 32 inch waists, and taller than us but seem very aware of how easy it be to get chubby.
Cooking from scratch - We don't have packet food because its not nice and its expensive. Tinned veg, such as tomatoes, are fine but no microwave rice or chips or other such weirdnesses.
Peas, beans and lentils - We have discovered we can be really creative with lentils, butter beans, kidney beans, chickpeas. Lovely tasty, warming winter foods. And cheap as chips if you use the actual dried versions not the tinned. Fahed can take the credit here as he cooks Syrian style dishes for us. Yum.
Extreme shopping - veg boxes from 5 a day (they also do meat boxes now but they are a bit pork heavy for us). Approved food. Wholsesale butchers were also on my list but the best one has now stopped selling at the gate, so there is a gap in my plan here.
This week we are having
Monday - Thai Green Curry with Bulgar Wheat.
Thai curry paste came from the Asian supermarket in Southampton
Veggies I already had.
One packet of chicken thighs will feed five of us if we pad with nice chunky mushrooms.
Coconut cream from approved foods.
Bulgar wheat (which we call burghal) also from approved foods.
Tuesday Same again. We dont mind eating the same foods more than once. There will only be three of us tonight and could serve some (approved foods - now in the freezer) naan bread with it.
Wednesday Assuming I remember to soak the chickpeas on Tuesday then Fahed will make Felafel and salad with pitta bread for us today. There may also be home made houmous if I soak the right amount of chickpeas.
Thursday Beef stew, light on the beef but heavy on the carrot, potatoe, celery onion and anything else there is. Home made dumplings fill the guys up.
Friday Leftovers from yesterday with homemade (by the bread machine) bread.
Breakfasts are almost always branflakes, porridge or wholemeal toast. Lunches are (yet more)leftovers for me. If we have leftover chilli and rice etc then I freeze it in portion size lunch boxes (bought en masse from Lakeland plastics back in my more spendy days) So normally leftovers but not necessarily recent ones making it less dull. The guys normally make do with something on toast, noodles with stock, pasta with a grating of cheese.
Weekends we play by ear as not everyone is here. It feels like we are doing okay. PLenty of veg for all, plenty of carbs for the men (they are not at a desk all day like me), lighter than we once were on the meaty protein and dairy.
Our standby if we run out of food is eggy spud. Sm all cubes of lightly salted potato cooked until crispy in olive oil (bought from my friend Sue, who has 200 trees, annually.Then drain most of the oil, for reuse of course. Beat a few free range eggs in our case from our neighbours chickens, and throw the mixture on top of the potato. Toss around for a minute or so until just cooked. Yum. Further pad with toasted pitta if needed.
Never visit shops except on the planned day.
All hail Queen Froogs for the inspiration!