Everyone’s talking about saving money these days so I thought I would also chime in with some ways to eat healthy and save money.
1. Eat More Beans. Lentils, pintos, great northern, black beans, garbanzos and soy all offer a good source of protein and soluble fiber, ideal for reducing cholesterol. Make bean soup (see one recipe idea below), add a few beans to a pot of rice, add beans to burritos, fajitas and enchiladas. Add a couple kinds of beans to soup. Eat hummus for a dip. Aim for one bean based dinner weekly.
2. Eat Eggs. They only cost 15-20 cents each and they have the highest quality protein available. I suggest making one evening dinner meal each week an egg based meal without meat or perhaps just a sprinkle of meat in for flavor in an omelet. Avoid daily eggs for breakfast however and eat a high fiber grain instead.
3. Make Soup. A great way to stretch meat, add some beans and vegetables and lots of spices. Quinoa is a high protein grain that is great in soup and boosts the protein of your meal without adding meat.
4. Eat at Home. Yes, even if you use some convenience items from the grocery store it’s cheaper and healthier than eating out. Buy a roasted chicken, a bag of salad greens, a frozen vegetable and a baguette. An almost instant dinner.
5. Try Tofu. Marinate one block of firm tofu (cubed) in a mixture of 2 T soy sauce, 2 T brown sugar, 1 T sesame oil, ¼ c. catsup and ¼ c water. Then add it to stir fried vegetables (broccoli, peppers, onion, snow peas, mushrooms and greens (chopped spinach, collards, turnip greens). Tofu doesn’t have any flavor but it will soak up the taste of this marinade.
6. Cook a Turkey breast. Cook a turkey breast on Sunday and you’ll have sliced turkey for sandwiches all week.
7. Buy Fish on Sale. Look for fish that is on sale for about $5-6/lb. This will serve 4 servings. Learn to bake, broil and grill fish for a low cost healthy meal.
8. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season. With all the money you are saving on meat and eating at home, you can splurge on regular trips to the store for fruits and vegetables. Stock up on frozen vegetables when they are on sale. A good rule of thumb is to make half your plate vegetables and/or fruit (1/4 of the plate is for meat and 1/4th is for bread or starch).
9. High protein and high fiber pastas with a meatless sauce make a low cost meal. Be sure to add vegetables to the sauce and make a salad too. Barilla Plus is one brand that has more protein/serving than an oz. of meat. It also has lentil and chickpea powder added making it high in soluble fiber (lowers your cholesterol). And it tastes good!
10. Buy a good refillable water container and skip the bottled water. You’ll save money and stop adding to the landfill or recycling bin.
11. Make your own 100 calorie snacks. Portion out your snacks into reusable containers or into mini zip-lock baggies.
12. Eat Less but only if you are overweight. Cutting 200-500 calories/day is a great way to save some money as long as you don’t throw the food away.
13. Decrease items in your grocery cart that provide empty calories like sodas, fruit juices, pastries, chips and sweets.
14. Last, but not least, make sure you use all your leftovers. Make a plan for leftover meat by putting it into a soup or a burrito or a stir fry. You can add lots of vegetable and some beans to stretch it out for another meal.
15. Spend a little money on this cookbook: Cheap. Fast. Good. By Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross.