Skip to content

How To Eat Healthy & Cheap

Food is an optional expense that only a few people in the world really need to worry about. For those of us that do need to eat to stay alive, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering your diet. Ordering pizza every few days is one way to get your fill but you might drain your bank account more than you want to. Trust me. You don't have to be a chef to cook great meals at home, it's easier than you think. Here are some tips for great tasting food that won't make you broke or fat. I know it sounds like one of those ads on a web page that will most definitely give you a virus if you click it but there's no catch! 

Keepin' it Cheap!

The two best ways to keep a low grocery budget is to pay attention to the price-to-portion ratio and to use COUPONS (or price matching)! You don't have to be a crazy couponer but take advantage of the savings that are there for you, it makes a huge difference. 

When you're going up and down the aisles looking for what you want to eat, look for foods that will give you the most meals for your money. If you buy a 5lb bag of rice for $5, that will give you around 50 servings costing a few cents each. Buy a microwave dinner for $4 and it's gone in one meal. Things like rice, potatoes, carrots, pasta, lentils, and beans are your basics that can be used in an infinite amount of recipes at an efficient price point. Once you've got your basics, you can buy the extras to tie the meal together. These are your meats, fish, other vegetables, etc. 

Another way to save is to buy in season. Know which fruits and vegetables to buy at what time of the year, check out these infographics to help you out. 

Healthier and Wealthier 

For the most part, foods that are heavily packaged and processed are more expensive and not as good for you as what you make from scratch. Go easy on the snack foods, buy natural foods instead with fewer preservatives and additives to make delicious meals that will also leave you with a sense of accomplishment. This is the time to read the labels on the food you buy. Yes, the ones with all the unpronounceable words and percentages that add up to 308%. Understand the ingredients and nutritional information in the food you eat. You don't have to go overboard here but it's a good idea to keep track of what you eat for a healthier lifestyle. There are many apps you can use to help you count all the numbers and track your progress! I use MyFitnessPal because it's easy and it's right there on my phone. Experiment with different ones and see what works for you.

Get Cooking!

Now you've got the gist of it, time to put it to work! When you're in the kitchen, the most important thing to keep in mind is creativity. Open the fridge and see what's there, and make a meal out of what you have. You can always whip something together even if you only have a few ingredients.

Here's a great website to help you make something tasty no matter what you have. 

Here are some cheap and healthy recipes to make you hungry:

(You probably have most of the ingredients already but don't be afraid to substitute ingredients or just leave them out if you want). 

Chunky Lentil & Vegetable Soup – Courtesy of BudgetBytes.com

lentil and vegetable soup

Total Cost: $5.24

Cost Per Serving: $0.52

Serves: 8 (1.25 cups each)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 medium onion $0.50
  • ½ lb. (3-4) carrots $0.55
  • 3 ribs celery $0.80
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans $0.89
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.31
  • 1 tsp cumin $0.10
  • 1 tsp oregano $0.10
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • Freshly ground black pepper $0.05
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes $0.85
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Cook both in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until tender. Meanwhile, slice the celery and peel and slice the carrots. Add the celery and carrots to the pot and continue to sauté for about 5 more minutes.
  2. Drain the can of black beans and add it to the pot along with the dry lentils, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper (10-15 cranks of a pepper mill). Finally, add the diced tomatoes (with juices) and vegetable broth, and stir to combine.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and allow the pot to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, place a lid on top, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, test the lentils to make sure they are tender. If not, continue to simmer until they are tender.
  4. Taste the soup and add salt as needed (I added ½ tsp). Serve hot.

Vegan never tasted so good - Cauliflower Buffalo Bites – TheLeanCleanEatingMachine.com 

cauliflower buffalo bites

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower; chopped into bite size piece
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup water
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pinch of granulated garlic powder
  • Non-stick spray
  • ***Sauce***
  • 1 tsp. Earth Balance butter substitute; melted
  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine brown rice flour, water, garlic powder and salt. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
  3. Dip cauliflower pieces in the batter until coated evenly, then place on a lightly greased, non-stick baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the batter hardens, then flip with a spatula and bake for another 5 minutes.
  5. Whisk together Frank’s Red Hot sauce and Earth Balance butter substitute in a small bowl.
  6. When the cauliflower is finished, take a plastic pastry brush and evenly brush each piece with the hot sauce mixture.
  7. Bake coated cauliflower for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until cauliflower is crispy, and sauce looks absorbed.
  8. Remove from oven.
  9. Let cauliflower bites set out for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

If you can get hold of a slow cooker, it will be your best friend. Delicious batch-prep meals with minimal effort and cleaning. The combinations are as endless as your appetite! 

mix and match

Do you have a recipe you want to share? Let us know on twitter @RadioHumber or facebook.com/RadioHumber

Sam Canonico