Menu plan for singles

Menu plan for singles

It can be difficult trying to cut your food bill spending and getting all the nutrition you need. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve done the sums and prepared this weekly singles menu plan to show how you can save on your food shopping – and keep a healthy diet as well.

This menu is based on the energy and nutritional needs of a woman in her 20s. For men, add some extra snacks and increase the portion sizes in the meals.

Nutritionist Rose Carr says: “Eating healthily when there’s just one of you to cook for can seem like too much bother. But it’s worth it when you consider you’re getting all the nutrition you need for a whole week, and saving money as well. You can spread the snacks out however you like – include them in meals if it suits you better.”

  • Average single cost: $88
  • Our menu: $70
  • Save $18
  • $18 per week for a year = $936 = long weekend in Oz!

How our menus are made

This menu plan covers every meal and snack for the week, and includes all the nutrition every member of the household needs – all the energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy (based on guidelines from the Ministry of Health). Using recipes from our archive, we’ve created menus that are also significantly cheaper than the average food costs for different households.

How we shopped

We’ve priced this menu based on an average budget-friendly supermarket. We followed these rules:

  • we bought things on special whenever possible
  • we used as much seasonal produce as possible
  • we chose supermarket ‘own brand’ products when they were the cheapest option available
  • we bought bulk packs of staple items and allowed for storage in pantry and freezer
  • we included homemade versions of pre-packaged products such as hummus and pesto.
  • we made our own yoghurt (using bought mixes – save even more by doing it from scratch).

NOTE: Some ingredients on the shopping lists are things you need for the recipes in the menus, that you won’t need to buy every week. This means your initial shopping trip may cost slightly more, but in future, your shopping will be cheaper.

You can achieve even bigger savings by

  • checking out the specials at specialty butchers and fruit and vege shops
  • checking all the bulk bins for dry goods
  • shopping at Asian supermarkets for specialty Asian ingredients
  • shopping at roadside stalls and farmers’ markets for fruit and veges
  • buying items in bulk then freezing them, such as meat and cheese on special
  • planting your own herbs, salad mix, spinach, silver beet and other veges.

Shopping list: Basics

Buy once a month (or as needed): These pantry basics are things you may not buy every week. We recommend buying in bulk and storing.

  • canned chickpeas
  • canned lentils
  • canned tomatoes
  • coffee
  • cooking oil spray
  • dried chickpeas
  • dried herbs
  • dried lentils
  • flour (white, wholemeal)
  • garlic
  • honey
  • Marmite/Vegemite
  • Milo
  • onions (red, brown, as required)

Shopping list: Luxuries

Buy occasionally: These occasional purchases are not included in the main shopping lists. Buy these as budget allows, when on special.

  • bacon
  • balsamic vinegar
  • beer
  • chocolate
  • herb paste
  • nut oils such as walnut and sesame
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese
  • wine

Weekly menu plans

Menu plan for singles (see DOWNLOAD link at bottom of page)
Menu plan for couples (links to article)
Menu plan for families (links to article)

Links to recipes

Chocolate and apricot slice
Country chicken soup
Spanish egg
Pork in apricot sauce with herby mash
Easy tomato tortilla
Sardine quesadilla
Bean nicoise salad

Week shopping list

Fruit and veges

  • bananas x 7
  • cabbage x 1/2
  • carrots x 3
  • salad greens/lettuce
  • kumara 1
  • nectarines x 8
  • onion 1
  • potatoes x 3
  • spring onions (bunch)
  • tomatoes x 7

Dry goods

  • brown rice 1 pkt
  • Brazil nuts x 9
  • cocoa powder 1 pkt
  • couscous (giant or regular) 1 pkt
  • dark chocolate chips 1 pkt
  • dried apricots 1 cup
  • macaroni 1 pkt
  • rice crackers 1 pkt
  • rolled oats x 2 cups
  • small pasta (eg. risoni) 1 pkt
  • soy and linseed bread 1 loaf
  • tortillas 1 pkt
  • whole grain crackers 1 pkt
  • wholemeal pita bread 1 pkt
  • yoghurt mix to make 1L


  • apple sauce 1 jar
  • apricot jam
  • baked beans 420g can
  • canned chickpeas 400g can
  • canned fruit 1 can
  • honey
  • jam
  • mixed beans 1 can
  • peanut butter
  • sardines 1 can
  • sun-dried tomatoes x 6
  • tuna 185g can


  • cheese 1 small block
  • cottage cheese (500g)
  • eggs (6)
  • feta cheese 1 pkt
  • low-fat ice cream 1 tub
  • trim milk 1L

Fresh chicken/fish/meat

  • chicken thighs (400g)
  • fresh mussels x 9 (buy same day you want to use)
  • pork steak 1
  • steak sirloin 1


Use bulk bins to buy just as much cereal, dried fruit, nuts and legumes as you need. You’ll save money, and space.


DOWNLOAD – Menu plan for singles
Author: Rose Carr

Healthy Food Guide

First published: Mar 2010

2018-09-12 08:48:11

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