This post has been written by Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance at her blog, Budget for Health.
If you’re trying to shave a few dollars off your monthly budget, don’t let your health be the sacrificial lamb. A common excuse among those who eat an unhealthy diet is that it costs too much to eat healthy. To disprove this myth, I’ve provided a few easy tips to keep healthy food a priority and still stretch your dollar.
Breakfast for dinner
Eggs only cost about 15 cents a piece. For the amount of protein you get, that’s dirt cheap compared to other protein sources like meat, cheese, and peanut butter. Try having breakfast for dinner at least once a week using eggs. They are such a versatile food: hardboiled, over easy, scrambled, use for French toast, make into a quiche or an omelet with a variety of toppings… the options are endless!
Use meat to flavor dishes
Our culture has the mindset to make meat the centerpiece of the meal. Look back at any family holiday- Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, or more recently, Memorial Day burgers and dogs. I suggest trying a few meals using the flexitarian approach: Instead of offering meat as the main attraction of the meal, use it to simply flavor a dish. A pound of chicken can be stretched into multiple meals just by shredding it to use in quesadillas, wraps, salads, soups or casseroles.
Brown rice, quinoa, and beans are nutrition powerhouses. A pound of cooked, canned beans and a pound of dried beans both cost around $1. It seems like the same deal, but the dried beans go much further; 2 cups dry yields 5-6 cups cooked since they swell to produce double to triple the initial amount. Take a little extra time to cook dried beans, rice, or quinoa and freeze them in batches. For a fraction of the price, you’ll have your own convenient “minute rice” portions to microwave when you need them. Another money saver or breaker is oatmeal. You could buy a giant canister of plain oats for $2.99 that will make 30 one-cup servings and add your own toppings or purchase a box of 8 instant packets for the same price and consume way more sugar than you’d probably even add to your plain oatmeal.
Avoid value-added products
Products are considered value-added when any process is taken out of the preparation to create less work for the consumer. To avoid value-added prices, marinate your own meat, peel and cut your own carrots, or make your own trail mix. Take a bag of frozen vegetables, some spices, and your own 1-minute rice & beans and whip your own casserole together. See how a little extra effort can really add up?
What are some tricks and tips you utilize to eat healthy for less?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.