Cheap Healthy Meals for the Year

My Whole Foods Kitchen Healthy Meal Plan intentionally uses a rotating menu planner that always remains the same so that we are able to store large amounts of specific foods without fear that they will go to waste.

Plan how much to buy using the Conversion Table on the inside back cover of eCookbook. The first step is to follow the rotating weekly menu and stick to it so that you can plan with confidence what you will need for the year. For instance, if you plan to have chili once a week and really do stick to it, you can buy red beans in bulk without fear that you might not use them.

Every recipe in this plan has been developed for easy calculations. The bean recipes all start with 1 cup of dry beans. The bread recipes and dry mixes all start with 10 cups of flour. The buckets are all 4 gallons, which measures out to be 64 cups. Using each type of bean for example once a week, we can see that 64 cups is “more than enough” to last a year because one cup for 52 weeks in a year is 52 cups, Once you understand how to calculate a one-year supply, all you have to do is plan your favorite seven meals for the week and then buy a bucket of each item needed in each recipe.

I included a conversion table on the inside back cover of each eCookbook to make planning and calculating how much to buy for a one-year supply easier.


  1. The chili recipe in this cookbook calls for one cup of red beans.
  2. One cup multiplied by 52 weeks in a year = 52 cups of red beans.
  3. The conversion table on the inside back cover says that a 4-gallon bucket is 64 cups—more than enough for 52 weeks.

Using the chili example above, you might start with one meal and then branch out from there. Collect all of the ingredients for chili for the year and plan to serve chili once a week. How much chili powder will you need for 52 batches of chili for your family? According to the recipe in this cookbook you will need six and a half cups. See calculations below.

1) Each batch of chili calls for 2T of chili powder

2) 52 weeks times 2T = 104T of chili powder

3) The chart on the back page says that 16T = one cup

4) 104 divided by 16 = 6.50 cups of chili powder

Continue through all of the ingredients for chili and buy this amount of each ingredient. You now have a one year supply of chili if you plan to serve chili once a week. If you plan to serve chili once a month, then how long would one bucket of red beans last assuming they aren’t used in any other recipe? We can easily multiply a one-year supply to become a four year supply by changing it from once a week to once a month. You might even choose to label the bucket of red beans “CHILI BEANS” if you really love that recipe and don’t want that particular bucket to be used for anything else. Following this example you can plan your meals and gather the food for those favorite meals without fear that the food would not get used eventually.



(Our rice and bean recipes start with one cup of dry whole foods)

1 recipe a week = 52 recipes a year

1 cup of dry food per recipe = 52 cups a year

52 divided by 16 cups per gallon = less than 4 gallons a year

1 recipe a week = 1 bucket a year

1 recipe of each of six beans per week = 1 bucket of each

1 recipe of rice per week = 1 bucket of rice


Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Rice Milk: Each batch of milk substitute requires one cup of whole foods. If we make one batch per week, one bucket will be enough for the year. For those who are lactose intolerant or a vegan vegetarian you will probably store more of these milk replacements than the average family.

Sprouting: Mung Beans, Alfalfa seeds and flax seeds are so small that 5 pounds of mung beans and flax is enough for the year. One pound of alfalfa seeds is more than enough unless you plan to plant a field, which might be a good plan. However, we recommend one pound for the average family.

Popcorn: If you pop one cup of popcorn each week to keep in your snack bin, you will need one square bucket of popcorn for the year. If you plan to sprout the popcorn kernels and grind them for corn meal, you may want two buckets.

Rolled Oats: If you plan to have cereal on the weekends as our rotating breakfast menu suggests, plus have granola bars in the snack bin year-round you might plan on making a recipe of granola once a week. Each recipe uses a #10 can of rolled oats.

1 recipe of granola per week = 52 #10 cans of rolled oats

1 recipe of granola per month = 12 cans


Remember that a 25 pound bag of grain or bean will fit into one 4-gallon bucket


6 grains

6 Beans

12 wheat

12 other

36 buckets

12 buckets make a large corner table.

8 buckets make a small corner table. Can you find a corner or two in your home to be used for storing food?


#10 CANS

six dried fruit

six flavor vegetables

six freeze dried vegetables

six basic powders

six flavor powders

5 cases

Cases can be stacked as easily as buckets.


Foods must be stored indoors in a climate controlled environment that stays a consistent temperature. Warm temperatures above 70Âş will shorten the shelf life of stored food.

Nuts and Seeds: If you want to add variety to your granola and trail mix, we suggest five pounds of each nut and seed.


Planning your Freezer and Wet Pack (bottles and cans)

Wet pack means canned goods and bottled foods that are not dehydrated. In the pages following, use the same calculations for wet pack as we did for dried foods. For example, if you plan to use olives for Monday Mexican every week, you will need 52 cans of olives. Write in the totals you will need and shop by the case at Wal-mart or Costco, two stores that are willing to order for you by the case.

I store nuts and seeds in transparent airtight containers in the extra refrigerator. If you don’t have an extra freezer or refrigerator, now is good time to consider getting a used one for the garage or the basement, along with a generator to keep it running in times of emergency when the power is down.


Planning water storage

Water is more important than all the food combined. Without water, you and your loved ones will take about three days to die. The experts recommend five gallons of water per day per person. A 55 gallon drum, for instance, would be enough for 11 days for one person. Not that they would drink five gallons of water a day, but they will need to add water to their food, make hot drinks to stay warm, boil water to cook noodles or eggs, wash themselves, wash their clothing, or flush their toilets.

This blue barrel is my favorite. I like the shape, the built in handles and the large twist off top so I can see inside. But most of all I like the two spigots on top and bottom that allows me to connect several barrels together with hoses. This makes filling and draining very easy.

I have not been able to find a good source of these barrels anymore. They were imported from Greece full of olives, then pressure washed and re-sold for a few dollars. But they became so popular that the waiting list for them made them hard to get and the cost to ship them was very high.

I’m still looking for a good source if anyone knows where we can all get more of these. Email me at

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