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Mum of 6 tests out our brand new “pantry basics” meal plan with all recipes UNDER $2.50 per serve

The Healthy Mummy meal prep Queen has done it again! Jess tests out The Healthy Mummy's newest budget meal plan "pantry basics" and gives us a rundown on what she made while spending just over $250.
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The Healthy Mummy meal prep Queen Jess has done it again! This amazing mum made 97 serves of main meals and 74 serves of snacks for just over $250!! That works out to be under $1.50 per serve!

Jess Magill is a busy mum-of-6 with a neurodivergent household. She has been part of The Healthy Mummy community for over 8 years, during which time she has had four Healthy Mummy pregnancies and used the 28 Day Challenge to help her get back on track and maintain her weight loss successfully.

Jess also juggles working from home, so as she explains, “meal prep is an absolute must if I want to eat healthily and not grab packaged foods on the go!”

About the Pantry Basics Meal Plan

The Healthy Mummy app caters to various different lifestyles, dietary requirements and preferences. We currently have 27 different types of meal plans available. With over 6000 recipes in the Healthy Mummy App you can easily further customise your meal plan to suit you and your families needs.

The Pantry Basics Meal Plan was originally created during covid when people had major issues getting groceries. We created this plan using the stock standard pantry items, since then it has evolved and has been updated in 2024. Now all recipes in the 4 week plan are costed out to be under $2.50 per serve using current supermarket prices.

Although this meal plan has evolved to suit current times, the purpose of the meal plan is very much the same!

It is here to support mums and families on a tight budget by using items they likely already have in the cupboard, utilising key pantry staples such as eggs, oats, nuts, seeds, honey, flour and rice.

With all that said you don’t feel like you are missing out using this budget option! The Pantry Basics meal plan includes delicious family friendly recipes that will save you time AND money as you can see below!

What Jess made

jess budget meal prep

Jess shares with us that this was actually the first time she has made a week’s worth of food without heavily customising the meal plan, and she was so surprised at how budget-friendly it was!!

“I used the “Pantry Essentials” meal plan, but actually needed to buy 99% of the ingredients as our cupboards were pretty bare, and it still came in at only $252.17 for 74 serves of snacks and 97 serves of main meals! I’ve also got a HEAP of ingredients (seeds, nuts, oils, herbs etc) leftover that will make my next shop cheaper.”

Here’s everything Jess made while spending just over $250 on groceries: 

Jess made 171 serves including:

24 x Superfood Rocky Road

30 x Choc Chip Banana Bread 

6 x Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Parfait

10 x Lovely Lemon Ice Blocks

4 x Hummus and Cucumber Crackers (portioned ready to grab crackers and assemble) 

8 x Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars 

4 x Egg and Cheese Breaky Cups (3 muffins per serve)

5 x Homemade Chicken Noodles 

4 x Rice, Roast Pumpkin and Seed Salad 

16 x Hawaiian Pita Pizzas 

20 x Sausage and Veggie Pasta Bake 

16 x Sticky Chicken Fried Rice

6 x Lentil Chilli Con Carne 

8 x Loaded Sweet Potato Fries 

Jess noted she also purchased ingredients for 4 x Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl, but didn’t prep these as they need to be made and immediately eaten. 

Jess shares her top meal prep tips

  • If you’re making one batch you might as well make 2 or 3! Especially if it’s a recipe you’ve made before and you know you like it! 
  • Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients and work with what you’ve got. I used all brown rice in my meal prep instead of buying 2 different types, I also used leftover passata in place of tinned tomatoes, I used honey instead of maple syrup as I already needed to buy honey etc 
  • Wash up / clean up as you go. There is absolutely nothing worse than finishing a huge prep and having a mountain of dishes!! 

“I am so pumped to smash out this 12 week challenge, and this pantry basics meal prep has given me a huge advantage!”

Meal prep helps Jess stay on track

“The meal prep will mean I have nutritious lunches and snacks ready to grab one-handed while I’m chasing after the kids, so I won’t skip meals or reach for packaged crap!”

“Having healthy kid-friendly snacks prepped is a huge help too, to save time packing school/preschool lunches. It means I know what’s in the food they’re eating, as well as saving money as I’m not buying packaged foods.”

Jess relies on the Healthy Mummy app to not only plan her meal prep but also keep track of her favourite recipes in preparation for the times she does these massive meal preps.

“To plan my meal prep I always flick through my ‘favourite’ recipes and pick a few. It’s easy then to search the recipe hub for recipes based on the ingredients I’m already buying, to help reduce costs. I love that I can increase the serving size as needed for my family before I print all the recipes I’m making!”

Budget, budget, budget!

Jess’s best budgeting tips when doing a massive meal prep.

With an ever-growing family, it’s hard for Jess to say how much using the Healthy Mummy has helped the family budget. But given she always preps and plans meals she’s convinced it has definitely helped stop her budget from blowing out as the family grows.

  • “Bulking meals out with extra veggies or beans is a massive one in our house! It’s healthier and half of my kids prefer beans to meat anyway! I also hate food wastage so try to utilise every leftover ingredient in another recipe.”
  • “I plan my meals around which veggies are in season/on special and try to buy frozen veggies when fresh is too expensive.”
  • “Shopping online really helps as you can see the total add up and avoid impulse buying, and there are quite often discount codes online.”

“I would estimate we’d spend at least $50-100 more a week on pre-packaged snacks, food wastage, and extra last-minute trips to the shops if I wasn’t organised with meal planning and prep.”

Jess is one of the original Healthy Mummy’s

Jess started with The Healthy Mummy way back in 2015. That’s pretty awesome!

Beyond using The Healthy Mummy to meal prep and keep her budget under control with her amazing family, Jess has also used the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge to healthily get back into shape after four of her pregnancies.

“My original start weight for Healthy Mummy (back in 2015) was 85kgs, I lost 20kgs in 6 months and got down to my lowest adult weight of 65kgs.”

Since originally joining the Healthy Mummy and getting amazing results Jess has been able to utilise the healthy recipes to have four Healthy Mummy pregnancies and then continue to lose weight and maintain the weight loss after her babies were born.

Jess had a Healthy Mummy pregnancy for baby #3 and lost 17kgs in 10 months after her birth.

Another Healthy Mummy pregnancy for baby #4 and lost 16kgs in 8 months after her.

Healthy Mummy pregnancy for baby #5 and lost 12kgs in 8 months after him.

Baby #6 was also a Healthy Mummy pregnancy and now 17 months old, Jess has lost 5kgs and still regularly uses The Healthy Mummy recipes and feels healthier and has more energy as well.

You are a total superstar Jess! Thanks for testing out the pantry basics meal plan for us all. This one is going to be a huge budget saver for sure.

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