As one of my primary experiments in this month’s gut guilt challenge, I wanted to see how far I could stretch $40 at the Farmer’s market, and use it to prepare clean meals for the week.
As a private chef, I’ve had a lot of practice cooking many make ahead meals in a single afternoon. Aside from the unlimited budget aspect (thank you, client), I’ve basically been doing this challenge every Tuesday for the last three years.
I was a little nervous the first time I did the Farmer’s market challenge that it wasn’t going to work. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much produce I could buy and how far into the week the meals lasted. I’ll wait until the end of the month to give you my full recap. But in the meantime, I wanted you to have some sample menus to experiment with should you decide to take on the challenge yourself.
These menus all follow a specific ethnic theme, meaning that you can mix and match the dishes throughout the week. They also involve a balanced combination of stove-top cooking, roasting in the oven, and simple raw preparations. The recipes have very little meat. But if you add a dozen eggs to your market list, you can top any of these dishes with a fried egg for extra protein.
If you don’t have a farmer’s market near you, you can try the $40 challenge in the organic aisle of the produce section and use the same rules for buying organic meat and eggs in other departments.
Either way, I hope that in doing so you’ll discover what I did: that giving yourself the weekly gift of premade wholesome food doesn’t have to come with a massive price tag. And you don’t have to be a professional chef in order to prepare it.
From one healthy hedonist to another,
I would love you to give some of these recipe bundles a whirl! Let me know in the comments if you end up over-spending or if it takes more than 4 hours of your time in the kitchen. I didn’t pioneer any of these dishes as part of the challenge – they are all from my archives. But I hope to have some of the recipes I made as part of my own experiments available to you soon!
The Wellness Project is now a book! It’s part memoir, part health primer, with 20 inflammation fighting recipes for clearer skin, better digestion, and a thriving thyroid. (Because who doesn’t wake up in the morning wanting a thriving thyroid?!). You can read more and preorder here. To find out more about the inspiration behind the project and to get the monthly theme schedule, click here. To see past challenges and other posts from this series, click here.