Budget Survival
food log 1

Food Log #1: 3 Five-A-Day Recipes

Welcome to my first food log. In the past week I’ve fixed a couple recipes that qualify as Five-A-Day and I am going to provide you instructions or a link to instructions on how to make them, as some of these are not my own. The purpose of these logs are to provide you with Five-A-Day meals you can replicate and to act as reviews of many recipes floating about. It can also act as meal suggestions for any picky eaters you might have, since I also happen to be one.

As always, if you have any Five-A-Day meals you enjoy yourself, or you have any different methods preparing meals like those discussed (with some different topping, or you make it at all at once and store for later, etc.) then leave a comment below.

Note: All prices and calculations are based on the cost within 1-2 months of the publishing date of this post, located within the northern region of California, USA.


I am a big fan of oatmeal, since it is a Five-A-Day super food. Instead of buying the pre-packaged flavored oatmeal, I add my own flavorings for extra savings.

32oz Great Value Pure Maple Syrup0.440.51 TBSP0.22
32oz C&H Brown Sugar0.06250.51 TBSP0.03
7.12oz McCormick Cinnamon0.820.1661 TSP0.14
42oz Winco Quick Oats0.061.41/2 CUP0.09140

My go-to breakfast, if no time for anything else, is oatmeal with a spoonful of light brown sugar and roughly of a tablespoon of maple syrup or a teaspoon of cinnamon. There’s a lot of ways to dress up oatmeal, but this week I’ve had brown sugar and maple syrup. With the maple syrup, it just meets the Five-A-Day criteria. Choosing a cheaper option like cinnamon can help you save even more.

I suggest adding the sugar and (if using) cinnamon into the bowl before placing it in the microwave so it can dissolve into the water hydrating the oats.

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

Slow cookers are great for saving you time, since you can set it and forget it for a couple hours and come back to a completed dish. This Mac & Cheese recipe, provided by OnePotChef on YouTube, meets the Five-A-Day criteria with a 160 calorie per dollar surplus. The good thing about Mac & Cheese in general is that it has all three macro nutrient groups( with protein from the cheese), although in a 37:47:16 Carb-Fat-Protein ratio.

This recipe lets you just throw every ingredient into the pot and then come back a couple hours later when it’s done, making it a no-mess-prep.

The result is 561 calories per dollar Mac & Cheese that is just as delicious as appearance suggests. It even acquired the nice slightly browned cheese crust all around it, which I love.

IngredientAmountPrice (USD)Calories
Carnation Evaporated Milk1 Can1.34169
Winco Shredded Cheddar Cheese3 Cups2.6251366
Philadelphia Cream Cheese1 Block2776
Winco Milk (Whole)3 Cups0.9375365
Winco Macaroni Pasta (Dry)1 LB0.881692

Freezer to Plate Teriyaki Chicken

Some would accuse me of going to the dollar store. Of that accusation, I’m completely guilty. I saw this item “Freezer to Plate Teriyaki” advertising itself with the ability to create a complete meal just by putting some water and frozen chicken in a glass dish and sticking it in the oven for 40-50 minutes. I desired to try it, so picked it up.

It came with rice and a teriyaki sauce packet to squeeze on top of the chicken breasts. I used two chicken breasts out of the six in the bag I bought. While the taste left something to be desired (perhaps some MSG?) and the chicken was a bit dry (maybe I’ll try 40 minutes next time) it is still a decent meal that might help diversify your diet a bit. The main thing for me was that it was both convenient and meeting Five-A-Day criteria, saving me time and money.

What I’d do differently (and suggest) is adding a bit more water than recommended on the packaging and also cooking as short as is safe to do so.

Item NameItem CostRecipe CostRecipe Calories
Tyson Frozen Chicken Breast (2.5 LBS)51.68360
Freezer to Plate Teriyaki Box11900

It came out to 470 calories per dollar.


Well, that’s it for my first food log. I hope it was of some use to you. Articles like this will probably make up most of my blog, since food is one of those things that everyone can benefit from saving some time and money on. Leave any thoughts, comments or suggestions in the comments below.

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