food

"After watching a Youtuber make 21 meals for $70, I calculated how much I spend on food and oh... no."

Today, I’ve found myself marvelling at a Sydney-based Youtuber by the name of Janice Fung.

The former finance worker turned full-time Youtuber recently uploaded a video in which she documents what she eats in a week. Specifically how she cooks 21 meals on a budget of $70.

Appallingly, this was not clickbait. Janice takes her viewers grocery shopping and then shares what she eats on a weekly basis.

Get in her trolley: Janice Fung takes her viewers grocery shopping. Post continues below.

Video by Youtube / Janice Fung

Her shopping list:

– Frozen berries ($4)
– 2 tomatoes ($2.40)
– 1 onion (58c)
– 2 broccoli ($4.16)
– 1 capsicum ($3.80)
– 1 lime (54c)
– 2 x 500g spaghetti ($3.90)
– 2 x pasta sauce ($6)
– Oats ($6)
– 1L soy milk ($2.45)
– 500g beef mince ($9)
– 8 pieces of chicken thighs ($14.08)
– 4 tins of tuna ($6)

Total: $69.61

When it comes to her meals, she generally eats the same thing.

“So for breakfast, it’s typically eggs, or eggs on toast, or just toast, or more recently because I’ve just restocked on my oats, it’s oats with frozen fruit,” she says, adding that she also has pepitas and chia seeds.

food on a budget
Image: Youtube / Janice Fung.
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All up, she calculates that her daily brekkie costs around $1.25 per serving. She also has this with a coffee, made using her Nespresso machine and soy milk which she says adds another $1.

For lunch, she has makes pasta bolognese. Using the beef mince, tomatoes, onions and pasta sauce, Janice calculated that this would have cost her $3.12 a serving.

food on a budget
Image: Youtube / Janice Fung.

When it comes to dinner, it's a mix between chicken congee (an Asian rice soup dish) or a chicken stirfry with vegetables.

Marinating her chicken in a mix of soy sauce, sugar and salt, she fries this with sliced capsicum and broccoli and serves this with a cup of rice. This totals up to $4.04 a serving.

"On a typical day, my breakfast, lunch and dinner costs around $9.40 and if I were to times that by seven that would be around $65, give or take," she concludes.

"I didn't include things like oil and salt and pepper and the occasional garlic and if I took that into account, I typically spend around $60 to $70 just on food."

food on a budget
Image: Youtube / Janice Fung.
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Consider my eyes opened.

But real talk: grocery shopping is hard and oats suck. As a point of comparison, I tallied how much I roughly spent on food in a week and goodness, I need to make some drastic life changes.

Look, at the moment my diet isn't amazing (it's definitely been better) and my relationship with meal prep is complicated. I work 2pm to 10pm, so I have breakfast and lunch at home and I try to bring dinner from home.

Emphasis on the word try.

Breakfast:

It's utterly illogical that I honestly think people who eat porridge for breakfast every day are superior people than those who don't. I fall into the latter category. I think oats are disgusting. This is probably why I don't run marathons.

Brekkie is normally a serving of whatever I've meal prepped that week, or two pieces of toast with Vegemite. I don't eat breakfast till 10 or 10:30 and sometimes it'll blend into brunch.

Lunch:

Normally I'm still full from breakfast before I leave, so it'll be a cobbled selection of snacks. This can look like a mix of hard-boiled eggs, cheese and crackers and a carrot or cucumber.

Sometimes I convince myself to make an anti-snacking resolution but then 4pm happens and somehow I'm at the local convenience store, in line to buy a bag of chips, plain-salted only. Either that or I dip into the office pantry and make myself two pieces of Vegemite toast. Depending on breakfast/lunch I'll bring some fruit or hard-boiled eggs to snack on.

Dinner:

There may or may not be an abandoned veggie curry in the work fridge and I may or may not currently be eating lemongrass rice paper rolls, while I'm writing these very words. And no, I'm not proud of this moment.

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In the weeks where I'm better at budgeting (and cooking) I'll also make things like chicken salads, pasta or a classic brown rice, tuna and frozen peas combo.

That being said, there's also a local Thai and Vietnamese place around the corner and sometimes I'll do a sneaky Uber Eats order. Other times I'll make some (more) toast from the office pantry and question every single one of my life choices.

Wishing my sad curry looked like that vegan bowl. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

A running cost list of my food budget:

- A bag of carrots ($1.90)
- Cucumbers ($5.00)
- Broccoli ($4.20)
- Frozen peas ($2.90)
- Bag of Spinach ($5)
- Coconut milk ($1.50)
- Chicken thighs ($13)
- Tinned tuna x 5 ($7.50)
- A loaf of bread that gets put in the freezer ($7)
- Oat milk ($4.50)
- Brown rice 1kg ($2.50)
- Pasta 1kg ($5.10)
- A bag of plain salted chips ($2.35)
- A fancy pre-made soup that came in a glass jar 1L ($9.90)
- Rice paper rolls ($8)
- Takeaway pad see ew ($14)
- Uber Eats fish nachos and extra corn chips ($19.88)
- Uber Eats pork roll for dinner ($16 but I didn't have to pay for delivery).
- Three or four takeaway coffees in a week ($4.50 a pop)
- A few too many espresso martinis at Friday night drinks
- One half-drunk Thai takeaway that I'd rather forget about.

Total: I really don't want to think about it.

How much do you spend on food per week? Tell us in a comment below.

Featured image: Youtube/ Janice Fung.

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