Eating healthy for $100 or less a week?

posted 3 years ago in Cooking
Post # 3
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

1) You need to meal plans

2) Spices are going to be your best friend. You can definitely eat on a budget with a ton of ingredients as long as you use spices.

I go online to Skinny Kitchen or Eating Well (even All Recipes) and look up health recipes, quick recipes, and 5 ingredient or less recipes. We use tons of spices, and that is the only way we keep our food bill low.

One thing you can do is buy a bag of shredded cheese, hamburger (or ground turkey), rice, and some green bell peppers and make stuff peppers. Cut them in half, scrape the seeds out, put in already cooked ground hamburger and rice and cheese and bake them for a while until the cheese melts.

For the next day, you will have cheese, meat, and rice left over for wraps or tacos, for instance.

Right now I count calories with MFP, so I cook pretty healthy. Lots of ground turkey and chicken. And the chicken is easy to make different every night. Grill it with some spices one night then next night maybe make a homemade peanut sauce and dip it in there.

Post # 4
720 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I totally agree with meal planning.  I normally get by for about $60-$80 a week on groceries for the two of us.  We keep a well stocked pantry + spice rack (and try to buy most of that in bulk – way cheaper) so on a week to week basis I’m only really buying meat and produce.  

Post # 5
362 posts
Helper bee

We eat lots of fruit and veggies because their very cheap, you can grow them yourself for even cheaper, and super filling and healthy cause their not stocked full of random preservatives and chemicals (there’s charts online that tell you pesticide use of most fruit so you can choose if you need to buy it organic or not). We try and average about 1/2 our meal should be fruits and veggies as a rule of thumb. We always eat tons of salads ad sneak common veggies like mushrooms, peppers and onions into almost everything we cook ex. eggs, pasta, sandwiches, pizza, quesadillas etc. As well we mix up fruit salads a lot and try other veggies to mix it up like artichokes, corn, green beans, asparagus etc. Besides that we cook slot if crockpot soups and chilis cause they make a ton and you can save it for the rest of the week, brown rice and stir fry is always good and easy, as well as pizzas and pasta every now and then but always whole wheat for any type of bread or pasta. We also use a lot of lean chicken and try and stay away from red meat and fatty meats like bacon for the most part. It really is not that difficult to spend 100$ a week or less on food if you cut out the fast food, sorry I love healthy eating!

Post # 6
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@roweboat:  We eat healthy and cook dinners at home, except when we want to go indulge in a fancy restaurant and do a 5 course meal of some sort. No “lets go grab something at Wendys because we are too lazy to cook” here. We both stay active and eat well 🙂 


Some tips:

1) Costco is your friend. Go and buy those bulk frozen chicken breasts, frozen fish, frozen veggies, and yes, tons of spices and canned tomatoes. Simply dumping tomato sauce and a bunch of spices on fish/chicken and sticking them in the oven makes for a delicious dinner.

2) Buy fresh veggies and fruits only when you know you will eat them within a week. Spoilage = wastage of money. Planning is vital here.

3) Try switching to brown rice, brown bread, whole wheat pasta etc. 

4) Lots and lots of salads! Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce etc are relatively inexpensive! They fill you up and give you your share of veggies!  

5) Eggs and/or oatmeal are great healthy options for breakfast, and cheap too. Plus, they keep you full for a long time 🙂



Post # 7
7997 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

Meal planning really is the smart way to do it. We go grocery shopping twice a week – one big trip where we get stuff we’ve run out of, and enough fresh food to last about half the week, and then later in the week we get some stuff like lettuce or pita bread that would go bad if we bought it at the previous shopping trip.

Some fairly healthy stuff we make quite regularly:

Italian bean salad on pita. It’s so simple and tasty. You just mix up tuna, red kidney beans, and half a chopped onion, add salt and pepper, and serve in a pita. Quick and easy weeknight meal.

Salad with homemade dressing. We usually put stuff like lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumber in it, and the dressing is olive oil, 1 part lemon juice for 3 parts oil, and freshly crushed garlic. Sometimes I add mustard and Italian herbs and a little honey to make it a little different.

White fish, jasmine rice, and a steamed vegetable (usually carrots). We’ll buy basa and I will make a quick and easy sauce with it.. basically with whatever I have on hand. Usually involves a little bit of olive oil and some lemon juice and whatever herbs/seasonings I have on hand.

Crock pot recipes are really good too, for meals on a budget. I’ve found many on Pinterest. We’ll cook up a big batch and that’ll give us meals for the week. They’re not always the healthiest meals possible, but as long as you control the portions, you’re fine. We keep going back to this one:

Post # 8
3677 posts
Sugar bee

For spices, look for an international market in your area. The spices there will be *way* cheaper than at a mainstream grocery store.

Another great, inexpensive, and easy-to-use tool in your arsenal is a slow-cooker. You can prepare a lot of dishes that way, have yummy leftovers, and be pretty efficient about the time it takes you to actually make the meal.

Another thing to think about: dried beans and lentils are inexpensive, rich in protein and fiber, and extremely versatile. If you’re not eating much of them already, look into adding these to your diet. There is a bit of a learning curve, and you do need to pre-soak beans so it takes some planning. (Lentils are small enough that they don’t require pre-soaking and cook pretty quickly.) A pressure cooker is *awesome* if you eat a lot of beans and lentils – it speeds up the cooking enormously – but they are a little expensive up-front (ours was a wedding gift) and you need to learn how to lock the lid, get used to using them, etc.

Post # 9
1822 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013 - Pavilion overlooking golf course scenery, reception at banquet hall

Crock pot crock pot crock pot!!

Not all there are healthy, but there are some. It’s a cheap and easy way to cook, and if you just break it up over a few individual-size tupperwares, you can freeze it and pull them out for quick homecooked meals whenever.

Post # 10
2657 posts
Sugar bee

You can make a ton of different meals with some staple items, like chicken, carrots, onion, broccoli, beans, corn, canned tomatoes, eggs, and brown rice.  In the last week, we’ve uses this items to make chicken soup, vegetarian chili, bean and rice burritos, and rice with mixed veggies.  All of these items are also cheap to obtain and if you plan ahead you can prep everything on the weekends and not have to do a lot of cooking during the week.  

Post # 11
194 posts
Blushing bee

I have to stress what others say about meal planning! FI and I spend anywhere from $50-$80 a week, depending on what kind of things we make. Also try and get meals that call for the same ingredients. For example if you have a meal that calls for say bell peppers, if you only need a small portion of that bell pepper than it will most likely go to waste if thats the only thing you’ve planned on using it for, so plan another meal for bell peppers, or cut it up and dip it in hummus! 

Also I highly recommend buying in bulk!! 

Post # 12
8483 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

We eat on about $80 a week for groceries.  I have a pretty well stocked kitchen (utensil, spice-wise, condiment/sauce etc), so that helps. 

You probably need to plan some meals.  I plan about 2-3 meals per week because we normally have leftovers and FI usually likes to get himself a cheap pizza one night a week. That way you don’t need to go to the store as much.  Every time I go to the store I buy something I don’t plan, so I try to reduce the trips.

I also cooking mostly vegetarian so I don’t spend much money on meat.  I do occassionally do fish or shrimp and sometimes italian sausage (FI makes me spaghetti and meatballs LOL) or bacon for FI for breakfast on the weekends.  Otherwise I cook vegetarian.  Save a lot of money and it’s better for you.

One thing I like to make are veggie burgers.  I usually make a double recipe so I end up with 10-11 burgers.  We eat them and I will take them to lunch for work and eat them again at dinner that week.  Any I don’t want immediately I will freeze and just take back out later. 

So last week, I made these

But I doubled the recipe, then added an extra can of black beans.  Probably added a little more sweet potato too.  I also added a few cups of processed old-fashioned oats because I felt it was too sticky.  I also add extra seasonings because I love flavor, I just do it to taste. 

They were really good, but it takes some practice to know what your texture should be like.  It’s really easy to not realize they might be too sticky and if they’re too wet they tend to be mushy after you cook them.  Still taste great though.  I will always add processed oats to thicken them up and firm them.  Some people do breadcrumbs but I think oats work better.

There are so many veggie burger recipes, I love trying out new ones.  Something really cheap that makes a lot!  I serve mine with avocado almost always and homemade sweet potato fries.

I also think this book is great.  Usually they taste great and have good texture/firmness.

Let’s see…I also make burritos very cheaply.  I just make spanish rice and add 2 cans of beans to it (all black, or I mix pinto and black).  Make sure you add seasoning if it needs it.  I can make 5 or 6 burritos out of it.  You can add whatever you want.  Sometimes I just add cheese and hot sauce.  Sometimes I add eggs and cheese and make breakfast burritos.  You can add sour cream or cream cheese mixed with spinach.  Tomatoes, guac, sauteed bell peppers and onions, jalapenos, etc.

I make my own bread weekly and I bake everything from scratch when I do bake (pizza dough, muffins, pancakes, waffles, croissants, cookies, cakes, pies) so I don’t waste money on something I can make cheaper.

Post # 13
2243 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

We usually spend between 60-90$ a week depending on if we’re stocking up. I watch flyers religiously. Since I was 17 I’ve pretty much got a mini CPI in my head of what’s “a deal” & what’s not worth it.  Almost all our grocery purchases for the week are “specials”. Meat is especially expensive so we never splurge on it.

When bread goes on sale (2$ per loaf as opposed to 3.50+) I buy 6-8 loaves & store them in my freezer. The same goes for eggs (3/5$ instead of the usual 2.99); I buy 6 dozen.


Post # 14
8387 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Reading these responses makes me feel like I’m a bad shopper because we don’t meal plan ever lol.  We’re more of a “shop on a whim” type couple, however my husband was a professional chef for 8 years and I think that experience helps.  Our weekly grocery bill is between $50-$70 per week, I make everything from scratch.  Here’s how we end up saving/eating better:

  • buy whole cuts and butcher yourself (i.e. whole chickens, beef loin, etc)
  • make your own stock: save all the bones from the meats that you roast and your vegetable ends (or just use the ends if you want veggie stock)
  • Don’t buy anything pre-cut/pre-packaged/pre-made (i.e. crescent rolls, pizza dough, etc)
  • Garden/can
  • purchase dry goods in bulk (rice, spices, flour, etc)
  • cross utilize ingredients/dishes (i.e. roasted chicken becomes chicken tacos the next night)

We also purchased an RO system for our home, so good drinking water is readily accesible to us (our city water tastes like the YMCA pool) and we definitely drink more water because of it.  Hope this helps.

Post # 15
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@roweboat:  I find it easier to eat healthier.  Make up meal plans for the week and stick to them; you don’t have to assign each meal to each day, just have 5-6 options ready to go for the week.  Also, make sure to keep healthy snacks available.  Stop buying junk foods; if it’s not there and easily accessible, then you can’t eat it.  Finally, choose one day per week to be a “cheat day” and save your cravings for junk food/meals for that day.

We spend $60 per week on food and we are able to save a lot of money by buying basic staples and store brands, and by buying most of it from the Walmart grocery where we save lots of money.  A typical grocery list for us includes: chicken breasts (I buy a big package and then freeze each breast individually in ziplocs), ground turkey, frozen shrimp or tilapia filets, loaf of wheat bread, dozen eggs, gallon of milk, shredded cheddar (2 cup pack), string cheese, low sodium deli meat, frozen veggies (stir fry mix, broccoli, etc…), instant brown rice, taco shells & taco seasoning, bag of apples or oranges or other in-season fruit, tri-color rotini, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, in-season veggies, canned diced tomatoes and/or Rotel, Salsa, and romaine lettuce.  (Buying in-season fruit and veggies means you will get a variety over the year and it tends to be on sale or a discounted price since it’s abundant.)

We always have teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, worcheshire sauce, tabasco, Frank’s hot sauce, balsamic dressing, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, HP sauce (FI lived in the UK), Heinz 57, creole seasoning, McCormick’s seasonings (montreal steak or chicken is a favorite), garlic powder (not salt!), salt, pepper, onion powder (not salt!), Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, Italian bread crumbs, and boulion cubes/packets.

A typical menu for a 5 dinner week is: chicken stir-fry, ground turkey tacos, baked tilapia with a side of brown rice and broccoli, cheesy salsa chicken with a salad, and creole seasoned shrimp over rice.

Post # 16
243 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I agree with meal planning.  We will often cook a large roast at the beginning of the week and then plan creative ways to use it up in other meals.  For example.  If I roast a chicken one night, I might use leftovers for sandwiches, fajitas, pizzas on tortillas, soup, or even just reheat it with other leftovers. Technically we’ve eaten chicken for most of the week, but you wouldnt get bored with it based on the variations.


Also if you have a bulk foods place near you (BulkBarn, etc.) they are great if you only want to buy a wee bit of a spice to try if you are uncertain whether you’ll like it or will only ever use it for one recipe.


Also, cutting up a bunch of veggies all at once can go a long way and cut down on your prep time throughout the week…if you store them properly :).  We also find that we snack on them way more often (as opposed to junk food) if they’re readily available.


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