(Closed) Tell me about your favorite low cost, but healthy (or relatively) foods!

posted 8 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
2006 posts
Buzzing bee

By any chance do you have a Sprouts Farmer’s Market around you? Sprout’s especially has really cheap produce and bulk bin items (whole wheat, flax, trail mix, dried fruit). Even if you don’t have a sprouts around you their website contains a lot of good recipes using healthy ingredients. Also costco sells bulk chicken breasts and ground turkey for a really good price. I split the 4 ground turkey packages (1 lb each) into 8 half pound freezer bags so it lasts quite a while. (The chicken breasts come individually packaged already).

I’m a poor college student too :p I honestly don’t have any “cheap recipe” ideas because if I see something I like I figure out a way to make it (even if it means skipping out on or replacing an expensive ingredient) on the cheap.

Garlic and cilantro are also two really cheap ingredients that can add a lot of flavor to a healthy dish 🙂

Post # 4
5263 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

I love adding tofu into recipes that otherwise wouldn’t have much protein, like salads, etc. I also coupon clip for a lot of the pre-made soy products we get, because they tend to be expensive. 

Also, we’ve been known to have brown rice, black beans, and cheddar cheese around here. Kind of screams broke college students but… hey, that’s what we are! 

Post # 5
1403 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

They say fish is really good for you.  Frozen tillapia usually comes pretty cheap.  I season it with Montreal steak seasoning (of all things) and pan fry it in a tiny bit of oil for like three minutes on each side – otherwise throw it in the toaster oven for oil-less cooking.

Beans are great because they’re high in fiber, and they make you feel full too.  You can get bags of dry pinto beans for super cheap.  As the directions on the bag say, just cook them in water (add a little salt), and you have an instant meat-substitute.  Mash them up with a potato masher and spoon some into warm corn tortillas – that’s pretty much the Mexican equialent of a PBJ.

Rice and beans together make complete proteins, which provide long-term energy (instead of quick-burst energy from sugars).  It’s a pretty bland dish unless you spice it up though.  There are plenty of recipes on the net – take your pick!

Buy frozen vegetables when they’re on sale, and steam them in a tablespoon of water rather than boiling them – they retain their nutrients better that way.

Hope that helps.  🙂

Post # 6
2344 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

When I was dieting strictly for about a month, I spent a ton of money, and I’m a poor college student too! However, the money I didn’t spend on eating out and drinking at bars made it even out. Maybe think about things you could cut out that you don’t even consider? I know a lot of college students that have daily Starbucks habits… $4 a day adds up to $120 a month! 

I don’t have any really awesome tips because like I said, I’ve spent a lot of money on eating healthy, but peanut butter is a super filling snack. A jar of natural peanut butter is like $3 and lasts forever if you only eat a couple tablespoons at a time. 

Also, tuna is really cheap and tastes great by itself with some seasonings and a little light mayo. Easy and quick.

Also, eggs aren’t that expensive and are great protein and very filling. When I have time, I have a three egg omelette with veggies and low fat cheese along with turkey bacon (not super cheap but lasts a long time if you only have 2 slices at a time) for breakfast and it keeps me full and energized enough that I can have a small, portable lunch, like fruit and yogurt.

Post # 7
2532 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I love Amy’s frozen burritos –  theyre usually near the natural food section in the frozen aisle. I also love anything by Morning star – the wings, the garden patties, the veggie burgers – all really good and fairly inexpensive!

Post # 8
216 posts
Helper bee

vegetarian is usually the way to go for budget foods (and is much healthier for you as well). I make vegetarian chili from scratch..onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper–boiled down tomatoes (can mix it with green pepper, a can of tomato paste), kidney beans & corn. It makes a lot so I can eat it for days.

My favorite lunch is pita with hummus stuffed with salad.

Beans & grains are the way to go for budget foods

Post # 9
913 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I’ve found a new appreciation for Kale and Swisschard.  Supercheap….Sautee some in a sautee pan w/ some chicken stock and a little EVOO (to moisten) and then added some rosemary, garlic, salt, peper, and slices of leeks.  DELICIOUS!!!  Especially w/ some chicken sausage on the side.

I agree w/ daniellemybelle  PB is super cheap and filling – good protein!  Good on apples, english muffins, crackers, etc….

How about Taco Salad?  1lb Ground Turkey, packet of taco seasoning ($1), scallions, tomatoes, shredded lowfat cheese, Romaine – I get 3 salads out of it for a total cost of $10 total!! 

Post # 10
283 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I also like to get frozen tilapia.  I bake it with a bit of lemon-pepper seasoning.

Also, buy whatever veggies are in season in your area when you can.

Post # 11
1347 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I love chickpea and tuna salad – just toss it together with a bit of lemon juice and scallions, if you want.

Homemade quesadillas and wraps are really good and easy too. A nice change from sandwiches.

Healthy cereal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner is something I do in a pinch. But I must confess that I love me some sugary kids’ cereal!

Post # 12
2208 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Dry beans have got to be the best bang for your buck, nutrition wise.

Buying heads of lettuce instead of bags also saves money, same with whole carrots instead of bags.

Squash and sweet potatoes are usually cheap, and they are both filling and good for you.

Bananas are usually cheap.

Oatmeal, buy it in the tub.

Whatever fruit is in season at that time.

I’m looking at my shopping list right now! I am making roast squash, squash muffins, cabbage soup, and bean salad tonigt for the week. I’m taking over the cooking at the house for a while (eek!) because I usually eat out, and I would like to loose a little weight. Good luck to us both!

Post # 13
1801 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

My fiance and I are college kids on a budget, trying to get healthier too! 

Here’s 2 cheap and easy dishes we like:

Veggie Pasta:

  • chop up veggies of your choice
  • use a textured pasta, like rotini or radiatore ($1/box each at Wal-Mart)
  • Don’t use a sauce, if you need a little something, try a touch of melted butter or olive oil

Shrimp & Spinach Salad:

  • black olives
  • spinach leaves (like the box or bag, Sam’s is best, they sell big boxes for about $4)
  • shrimp (go for about a 30 count size in the frozen bags from Wal-Mart)
  • cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in 1/2
  • pine nuts
  • some Italian dressing
  • radiatore pasta (or any pasta really)

Cook the pasta, drain.  Put a handful (if you’re making for 1, use your judgement on all the ingredient amounts) of spinach in a bowl.  Pour warm pasta on top and let it sit for a couple minutes to slightly wilt the spinach.  Cook shrimp (it’s good hot or cold in this) and add with the remaining ingredients to the bowl(except for the dressing) and toss.  You can add raw mushrooms if you like too.  When you’re ready to eat, sprinkle on some Italian dressing to each serving.  I like to do mine without the dressing too.

Hope you find some great recipes!

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