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What We Ate During No-Spend Week


We’ve been spending too much on groceries. You know how it is. I’d go to the store, put a few things in my cart, be shocked at how so little could cost so much, go home and put the groceries away, then do it all over again.

What we ate during out no-spend week. Not everyone will have the same things in their pantry, but this is inspirational!

It probably didn’t help that on my last trip I bought three watermelons. Dude, those things are expensive!

But other than those very perishable, delicious summer fruits, I started to notice that our pantry wasn’t emptying at the same rate the groceries were coming in.

It’s not rocket science, and didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t really for lack of planning either – it’s just that sometimes, meal plans go awry, or your kids end up not being thrilled about some things – like those canned beans that you stocked up on during a sale – and it’s just easier to buy new things.

So, on Saturday night, I rather impulsively declared a no-spend week.

Yup. No groceries. Gabriel quickly put the kabosh on that, saying that he needed to buy some spring water for his kombucha and kefir brewing. So we made an exception. But just a small one.

I know that everyone is going to have a very different menu depending on what was in their pantry at the start of their week, but I thought it might be helpful to share what we ate all week, with what we had in our pantry, and you may be interested to see that this menu is very different from the $20 shopping plan.

Note: Don’t laugh at the repetitiveness! The kids seem to ask for spaghetti and/or quesadillas every day, and it’s hard to say no. 😛

What We Ate During Our No-Spend Week


  • Eggs and oatmeal
  • Bean quesadillas with homemade salsa
  • Sausage and potato Hash (literally just fried potatoes with sausage mixed in – the kids sometimes put ketchup on theirs) with steamed broccoli


  • Oatmeal
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce
  • pancakes and bacon

    1-26-2016 029


  • eggs and grits
  • stir-fried veggies (cabbage, onions, carrots), rice,  pork steaks
  • Sausage pizza (using coconut flour crust for the first time!)


  • Oatmeal
  • bean quesadillas with homemade salsa
  • Barbecued chicken drumsticks, sweet potato salad, green salad with paleo strawberry vinaigrette


  • Grits, Sausage-egg scramble
  • Snack-y lunch (we had a late breakfast and the kids weren’t very hungry) mostly turkey lunch meant, and avocados
  • Bean Quesadillas with homemade salsa

    tortilla pinwheel lunch plate


  • Sausage and eggs
  • Baked Beans and rice with green salad
  • Baked Rosemary chicken, steamed broccoli, roasted potatoes


  • Carrot sticks
  • Roasted rosemary carrots (an off-the-wall request from Garrett)
  • Apples
  • Green smoothies (we gotta get that bag of greens used up!)
  • walnuts
  • Popcorn
  • Gingerbread men (Garrett roped me into it when I told him we needed to celebrate how well his school was going.

My kids are surprisingly fond of carrots, even though both them and apples never keep them satisfied, at least they’re full of vitamins!

Green smoothies on the other hand are quite a bit more satisfying, and a powerhouse nutritionally. We froze several gallons or strawberries this spring, and with the overripe bananas we also recently froze, we had more than enough material for the kids favorite smoothie recipe!

But even with those, popcorn – with butter and salt of course – is really the most satisfying (read: calorific) snack we had in the pantry, and not a day goes by that the kids don’t ask for it – and as a result, that I don’t end up vacuuming the living room floor. 😛

There you have it – super, super simple, not a great variety of ingredients, but still nutritious food that the kids will eat. Either that, or starve. 😉

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  1. Love this post! I always read these articles hoping someone will say what they actually ate that wasn’t weird. Lol. I forget about bean quesadillas! Great post!

      1. I like your ideas!! Healthy eating and using what you have is a great way to use all the items that collect in the pantry. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Oh how I wish I didn’t have picky eaters! ???? It’s so hard to just do regular meal plans without having to make multiple meals because my girls are so picky. *sigh*

  3. You had all that in the pantry and still kept shopping?! I wish I had half these things, we’d be satisfied for a month!

  4. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing! I have the same pantry problem. 😉 You have inspired me to get in there and be bold with my menu options. I am going to cook from the pantry and freezer. I will have a no shopping week, or two or three! 😉

  5. Very good read! Just a suggestion for all of your readers. IF you have items ( unopened) in your pantry that you find you will not use…think about your local food pantry even several small bags of food help to boost the amount the pantry can give out to those who really need it . I am a volunteer Director for one and summer time is hard on families and not everyone has a freezer or garden to draw from !

  6. We have a tight budget for a couple years. Thank you for posting this and proving you can still enjoy in spite of tight means! I’m banking on the fact that we can do this and it’s possible!

  7. Love this- so much already in our pantries! Same thing happens here regularly. I’ll use this list to help me with my next clean out- all in with lots of eggs and beans! 🙂 Thanks!

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