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I try to eat healthy and stay away from anything that comes out from a box as much
as possible. Unfortunately, healthy foods tend to cost a lot more where I live. For
example, low fat granola breakfast bars are about twice as expensive as the regular
ones. I'm just wondering how can I eat healthy and still eat cheaply? – Charlotte,
10 Ridiculously Cheap and Healthy Foods
Not just food, everything is getting significantly more expensive with inflation.
While I totally agree that healthy foods, particularly organic produce, don't come
cheap but eating well doesn't have to break the bank. It's possible to create fresh,
nutritious meals and eat healthy even on the tightest budget.
One of the best (and most often overlooked) way to spend less money on food is to
plan ahead and use what you already have in your pantry.
According to a study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average
American family throws away 14% of their food. You may not realize it, but you could
be wasting hundreds of dollars on food when you cook too much and forget about leftovers
in the refrigerator/freezer, buy too much food and not using it, or not storing them
So before you go grocery shopping again, check your freezer, cupboards, and fridge.
Write down the items you need on your grocery list and stick to it. Not only will
this help you save money by avoiding costly impulse purchases, but also save you
heaps of calories from unplanned eating and drinking.
How to Eat Cheap and Healthy?
1. When I think of healthy foods on a low budget, eggs come to mind. I like eggs
for their high-quality protein content and it doesn't hurt to enjoy them in any style
– poached, boiled, scrambled or fried – and any time of the day.
A poached egg on multigrain toast, or a whole wheat tortilla wrapped around scrambled
eggs makes an inexpensive and healthy breakfast that can fill you right up until
2. If eggs aren't your favorite breakfast item, consider a healthy bowl of oatmeal
porridge. Oats are a lot cheaper than most packaged breakfast cereals and they're
really good for you. Eating oats regularly offers a wide variety of proven health
benefits ranging from lowering high cholesterol levels to weight loss.
Oatmeal made from old-fashioned rolled oats flavored with a pinch of cinnamon and
nutmeg will keep you comfortably full on the cheap. Stir 1-2 tablespoons oats into
low fat Greek yogurt for crunch and added nutrition.
3. Meat can be a huge expense especially if you've a big family to feed. I'd suggest
you look at other non-meat protein sources that are healthy yet easy on a tight food
budget, such as dried beans (black beans, chickpeas, navy beans) and dried lentils.
A pound of lentils, for example, costs less than a dollar and you can get almost
10 meals out of it. Lentils are not only jam-packed with protein, iron and fiber,
but are also limitlessly versatile and cook quickly without pre-soaking. You can
add lentils to all sorts of dishes, from hummus to salads, to casseroles and soups.
I love throwing a handful of lentils in stews as they bulk up the meal and make my
food dollars really stretch.
4. Another cheap and healthy food is tofu. Try adding small soft tofu cubes in chicken
broth or vegetable soup to make it a one-dish meal. You can also cut a box of extra
firm tofu into quarters, lightly dust both sides with cornstarch and pan-fry in a
non-stick skillet until golden brown and crispy. Complete your cheap meal with a
5. If going meatless is not the thing for you, you can still have meat but make your
meals go further by incorporating more beans and whole grains into meat dishes. For
example, add kidney beans to Bolognese sauce, or brown rice or quinoa to chicken
salad for more substance.
6. Reduce food waste and ease up on your wallet by choosing longer lasting produce
such as cabbage, peppers, carrots, broccoli and apples.
Drizzle a bit of rice vinegar and olive oil over shredded cabbage. Sprinkle some
toasted sesame seeds and grated ginger for an Asian-inspired summer slaw.
Dip carrot sticks in hummus or low-fat ranch dressing, or apple slices in yogurt
next time you want to curl up with a movie and nibble on something crunchy.
7. Store brand frozen vegetables and legumes are also a great way to slash your food
bills. Frozen edamame is incredibly simple to prepare – steam or roast – and makes
a healthy side dish or great low fat movie night snack. A bag of potato chips can't
8. Save all your vegetable cuttings to make your own soup stock for soups, stews
and stir-fries. Turn leftover slices of bread into croutons, leftover rotisserie
chicken breast can be magically transformed into a nutritious curried chicken salad
for lunch. Mix shredded chicken with a little low-fat mayo, a pinch of curry powder,
some diced celery and tomatoes.
9. Always buy in-season fruits and veggies, and shop at farmers' markets for cheaper
local produce. Alternatively, grow your own organic herbs and vegetables to save
big on food. Tomatoes and eggplants do well in summer while lettuces, kale as well
as mustard greens flourish in winter. Rosemary, thyme, sage and basil can be easily
grown in a windowsill garden.
10. When it comes to hydrating your body, nothing is cheaper and healthier than water.
So swap overpriced lattes and calorie dense carbonated beverages for good old tap
water. Consider getting a a water filter pitcher like Brita and Pur.
Fruits are undeniably good for health but not all fruits help weight loss. Learn
what are the best fruits to eat when trying to lose weight so you drop pounds quickly
while enjoying the right fruits in the right amounts.
Are store-bought nibbles eating up a big chunk of your food budget? Find simple-to-make
cheap and healthy snack ideas that will keep your waistline trim and taste buds perfectly
happy! Great for picky kids and adults.
If you're wondering what is good to eat with raisins, but eating them straight out
of the box doesn't appeal to you, then get inspired with these interesting recipes,
and start enjoying the health benefits of raisins in your everyday meals.