So the holidays are over and our pants are too tight and wallets are empty. You want to eat healthier and save some money right? Usually those two don’t pair well- but with some planning and creativity you can cook simple, healthy meals that won’t cost you a fortune.
Here are a few of my cost saving-healthy food tips:
- Buy frozen: Frozen fruits and veggies (especially store brand) will save you money and are frozen at their peak saving valuable vitamins. Frozen also will not go bad, so you can use whenever you need!
- Quick frozen recipe: bag of peas, bag of corn, 1/2 spicy bulk sausage or 2 sausage links, spices. Saute meat until cooked thoroughly (if bulk break into pieces as it cooks), add the veggies and a little bit of water or chicken stock (2 Tb) and simmer until veggies are cooked. Add spice like salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes. Serve over pasta, rice, lettuce or by itself.
- Buy in bulk: Don’t be afraid of the big bulk bins at the store! Instead of having to pay for expensive packaging buy all your grains, nuts, pasta, spices, coffee, etc in the bulk bins. You can transfer them to labeled ziplock baggies or cheap tupperware when you get home if the plastic bags from the store dont store well for you.
- Brown rice in bulk is healthy and cheap. Just swap brown rice in any recipe that calls for white rice. A slow cooker is an expensive must have appliance for your kitchen. Add rice, liquid (I use chicken stock usually) and let it simmer away and do the work. For easy Mexican rice- add a can of Rotel with your rice and liquid.
- Cook eggs: They are cheap, versatile and packed with flavor. Here’s a few easy, healthy ideas:
- Crack an egg in skillet and cook for 1-2 min and flip. Meanwhile toast a whole wheat english muffin, add egg, top with slice of cheese and turkey sandwich meat.
- Scramble eggs, add veggies, ground turkey and put in corn tortillas for healthy tacos
- Layer whole wheat tortillas in a glass pie dish, in a separate bowl mix 5-6 eggs with 2 Tb milk, shredded cheese and put aside. Saute veggies (mushrooms, peppers, onions, asparagus, etc) and meat of your choice (ham, bacon, ground beef, etc) in a pan. Once cooked put on top of the tortillas, then pour the egg mixture on top. Top with cheese and bake for 30-45 at 350.
- Cook meat in bulk: Splurge on a large piece of meat whether its chicken, roast, pork shoulder, etc. Get out a slow cooker or dutch oven, add some veggies, bbq sauce, wine, etc and let it slow cook for hours. You’ll have tons of meat to use for tacos, pasta dishes, salads, casseroles, with your eggs!
- Plan your meals: Best tip for eating healthy on a budget is plan meals and even leftovers before ever going to the store. Organize your shopping list by areas of the store, stay on the outside aisles first. Go for the generic store brand in most cases- will taste just the same without the added price.
- Produce first- look for sales, buy in season items.
- Meat- look for deals at meat counter, check frozen meat as well. Especially flash frozen seafood.
- Dairy- choose non-fat or low fat options. Skip the pre-shredded cheese. You’ll save money and gain flavor shredding yourself.
- Bulk bins- grab any grains, spices, nuts, etc needed.
- Now tackle any inside aisles. By this time you will be less likely to add more to your already full cart.
Here are a few other great resources: