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Eat Healthy For Less


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.

Buy bulk
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?

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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.


  1. Wow 15 cent an egg. I wish that were true here. Organic eggs at best are $4. Sometimes as high as $5. Your idea of eggs for dinner is something i have been doing for years and is a great way to get a nice meal at a good price.

  2. We’re big on beans. I make pinto beans regularly and we eat them straight with cornbread or make bean & cheese burritos, which are fantastic. Don’t miss the meat! Cajun-style rice & beans, Cuban black beans–awesome stuff!

  3. $4!? yikes. It will make a big difference in the budget if organic foods are purchased. As for beans- they’re a nostalgic favorite for my husband since they take him back to his college meals of plain grilled chicken, brown rice & beans. It works out for me because I can just add pepper and he thinks I’m this amazing chef 😉

  4. We tend to keep it simple and use the leftovers for lunches. Meat is a very small portion of any meal for a lot of reasons, mostly health.

  5. And stop buying junk food and stop eating out, that alone could save you lots. I’m amazed at how many people eat out regularly – as bad as it is financially, it can be even worse for your health!

  6. My mom always made double the amount to feed my family so we always had leftovers. Thankfully I carried on that habit. Eating out is something the hubs and I do once a month or less and it’s usually with friends. We’ll eat something before we go out so we can split a dish and only have half the bill to pay. There are so many dishes that can be made at home for a third of the price and calories!

  7. I have a favorite protien go-to: individual pieces of salmon for 99 cents. My husband doesn’t like salmon, so when I make it, I’ll make cod or some other whitefish for him (also only 99 cents).

  8. All great tips and ones I follow (apart from the meat, I am vege). Meat consumption has gone into overdrive in the world these days, for most of human existence it has been an addition to a wholesome healthy plant based diet, not the star of the show.

    • Meat was always the center of the meal for me – that’s just how I was brought up. Now I realize that meat should be treated as a side if you’re really focusing on your health.

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