Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult or tricky. There are several factors that, when done correctly, will help produce healthy recipes. You might think that healthy eating is expensive, or that produce will put your budget over the top. But, the truth be told, processed foods will ruin your health and cost you much more than money.
There are several tricks to use when you are preparing healthy recipes. First, you should prepare your menu and then your grocery list at home. Shopping at the store without a plan will blow your budget faster than anything else can. Another no-no is to go shopping when you are hungry. All of a sudden everything looks good to eat and everything makes it to the grocery cart.
Healthy recipes can be done when you avoid low-carbohydrate foods, spend a bit more time in the kitchen, emphasize eating foods that are in season, and make enough to freeze when the items are on sale. For instance, if the chicken is on sale you can purchase more than what you’ll use fresh, prepare it and freeze it. Take advantage of the prices today for your meals next week.
Budget recipes take advantage of whole foods and stay away from refined processed foods. Use coupons when you go to the store to decrease the bite into your budget. Many coupons you find are for processed foods but if you look carefully you’ll find whole foods, produce and white meat coupons and sales.
Many budget recipes call for fresh produce that you can potentially grow in your own garden. Even if you live in the city with a small balcony, tomatoes, peppers and many herbs grow in pots very well. They require sunshine, water and fertilizer and before you know it you’ll be harvesting your own salad from your garden on the balcony.
Another way to cut back on your food bill is to buy from the butcher directly and not from the grocery store. You can often get a better price and the meat cut to your specification. In your salad – color it up! Try to include 3 different colors of fruits and vegetables each day to reflect the variation of nutrients that are included in these foods. When you make beans you’ll save more than ½ if you use dried beans. Before cooking you’ll need to soak them for 12 hours.
Do you have recipes that require milk? Skim milk powder will help to save money and the shelf life is a lot longer than fresh milk. Even if the milk is on sale, unless you drink or use the entire amount everything you throw away increases the amount of money you’ve paid for the milk.
Cabbage is a vegetable that is loaded with vitamins and minerals, a great source of vitamin C and flavor. You can include cabbage in your salad, as a vegetable, or in soups and casseroles. You can quickly prepare cabbage in the microwave and flavor it with dill and plain yogurt. Macaroni and cheese is a quick and easy meal solution that can have more flavor and nutrients if you add tuna, frozen or left over vegetables or tomatoes. Rice is a budget conscious ingredient that can be changed with a few vegetables, spices, soy sauce, chili, tomatoes, salsa or replacing the cooking water with broth or tomato juice.
Eating healthy low budget recipes aren’t hard to find, are great for college students who don’t have much money or supplies in the kitchen and can be accomplished with coupons and sales. Watch your local newspapers, woman’s magazines for quick recipes and don’t overlook experimenting!
10 oz of cut green beans
14 oz kidney beans
12 oz corn
1 onion thinly sliced
1 chopped green pepper
¼ cup vinegar
2 Tbsp Olive oil
3 Tbsp sugar
Drain and rinse canned beans. In a large bowl combine beans, corn, onion and green pepper. Mix vinegar, oil and sugar together. Pour over salad and mix. Add salt & pepper to taste.
2 cups of shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup sliced onion
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sugar
In a bowl combine cabbage, carrots and onions. In a bowl stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise and sugar. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
5 large potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely diced celery stalk
½ cup mayonnaise
½ tsp prepared mustard
¼ tsp salt
pepper to taste
Peel potatoes and cut into cubes. Place in a pot with eggs and cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and let boil for 15 minutes. Remove from stove and drain water from pot. Remove eggs and rinse under cool water. Peel eggs and cut into quarters. In a bowl combine onion, celery, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix dressing with eggs and potatoes. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with parsley or basil.
Split Pea Soup
1 diced potato
2 diced carrots
2 diced celery stalks
1 diced onion
6 cups of water
1 cup dry split peas
2 tsp salt
Place above ingredients in a large pot. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until peas are tender. Serve with whole grain bread.
½ lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 cubed potato
1 cup shredded cabbage
¼ cup rice or macaroni uncooked
6 cups of water
1 bay leaf
14 oz canned tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Brown the beef and onion in a large pot. Add the potatoes and cabbage and simmer them for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the rice (macaroni) over the meat and vegetables. Add water and seasonings. Cover it and simmer for 20 minutes. Add tomatoes and let it simmer for 10 more minutes.
USDA ChooseMyPlate: Healthy Eating on a Budget
StrongLifts: 20 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget
DailyNews: Essential tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
HelpGuide: Eating Well on the Cheap