Menu plan for couples

Reviewed by our expert panel
Menu plan for couples

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 couples 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 nutrition needs of an average man (M) and average woman (W), aged 31-50. A younger couple will need a little more, an older couple slightly less.

Nutritionist Rose Carr says: “Feel free to make substitutions in this menu, for example, change the type of cereal. And bake the slice at the weekend so you have economical sweet snacks for the week.”

  • Average couple cost: $160
  • Our menu: $124
  • Save $36
  • $36 per week for a year = $1872 = 18 restaurant dinners!

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.

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.

  • 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.

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)

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

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

Links to recipes

High-energy slice
Red lentil bolognese
Greek shepherd’s pie
Chicken fried rice
Tuna and chickpea pasta
Tasty vege curry
Lemon chicken
Chicken and tomato fettuccine
Tuna macaroni bake

Week shopping list

Fruit and veges

  • avocado 1
  • bananas x 14
  • cabbage 1
  • capsicums x 2
  • carrots x 2
  • ginger 1 chunk
  • green beans (250g)
  • kiwifruit x 8
  • lemons x 2
  • lettuce/salad greens 1
  • mushrooms (100g)
  • nectarines x 10
  • spinach (bunch)
  • spring onions (bunch)
  • tomatoes x 10

Dry goods

  • brown rice (200g)
  • Chocolate wheaten biscuits 1 pkt
  • coconut 1 pkt
  • dried cranberries (½ cup)
  • Fruit Digestive biscuits
  • honey
  • Marmite
  • mixed nuts (150g)
  • multigrain bread x 2 loaves
  • nut/muesli bars 1 pkt
  • pasta shells 1 pkt
  • peanut butter
  • peanuts (150g)
  • red curry paste
  • red lentils 1 cup
  • rolled oats 1 pkt
  • sliced almonds (70g)
  • spaghetti 1 pkt
  • sultanas 1 cup
  • Weet-Bix 1 sml box
  • wholegrain rice crackers 1pkt
  • yoghurt mix to make 2L


  • apple sauce 250g can
  • baked beans 420g can
  • chickpeas 2 x 400g cans
  • lentils 400g can
  • Mexican-style beans 400g can
  • tomatoes 2 x 400g cans
  • tuna 3 x 185g cans


  • cheddar cheese 1 small block
  • eggs (dozen)
  • low-fat ice cream 2L tub
  • mixed veges (frozen) 1 pkt
  • stir-fry veges (frozen) 1 pkt
  • trim milk (2L)
  • pizza base 1 (or make your own)

Fresh chicken/fish/meat

  • chicken thighs or breasts (1kg)
  • lamb or beef mince (400g)


If the fruit in this menu is out of season, or expensive in your area, substitute other fruit – whatever’s on special! The same goes for veges.

First published: Mar 2010

, , ,

Go to homepage*Subsequent months will be $2.75