Eating healthily often gets associated with those of some wealth. Yes, it is easier to eat right when you have an unlimited budget, but being on limited means isn’t an excuse for loading up on the junk. You, too, can eat a nutritious and balanced diet. With a little planning and creativity, you can make delicious meals that satisfy your family and meet their dietary needs.
The following foods are affordable, healthy, and tasty:
What can’t you do with lentils? They cook super fast, don’t need to be soaked, and can be used in soups, salads, casseroles, and more. A bag of lentils costs just a little over a dollar and packs in 10 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving.
There are virtually unlimited uses for brown rice. Use it as a side dish or mix it into soups or casseroles. It’s cheap, easy to make, and is loaded with nutrition, offering 2 grams of fiber per serving.
Whole Grain Pasta
Whole grain pasta is cheap and offers more nutrition than the standard pasta made from white flour. One box goes a long way and you can make hot and cold dishes out of it.
Use it in pasta, on pizza, or in sandwiches: marinara sauce has a number of uses, all of them delicious. Available in cans or jars, it’s really inexpensive and offers up a low-calorie way to get vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.
Recipe Idea #1
Cook some whole grain pasta (follow the instructions on the box or bag) then heat up marinara sauce. Sauté some spinach and mix into the sauce. Pour over the pasta and serve with a side salad and and olive oil-based dressing. Healthy, cheap, and tasty.
Everybody touts the benefits of nonfat yogurt but nonfat Greek yogurt is the healthier, less expensive choice. It’s perfect for a snack, as a smoothie base, or to include in a balanced breakfast. Low on calories and high on protein, this tasty treat packs a nutritional punch. Save additional cash by purchasing the tub rather than individual serving packs.
Yes, fresh are always better, but frozen vegetables serve their purpose, too, and still carry plenty of nutrients to make them worth your while. One cup of mixed vegetables will get you fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin A. Buy them individually or in tasty mixes like peas, green beans, carrots, and spinach.
Convenient to have on hand, egg substitute can be used to make quick omelets, frittatas, and quiches. No egg cracking required and you get a low calorie source of protein for your meals. It typically comes in 16 oz cartons, and they range from $2-3. That works out to less than 50 cents a serving!
Recipe Idea #2
Scramble egg substitute and cook lentils until tender (about 25 minutes). Combine and wrap up in a flour tortilla. Top with salsa and serve. Voila! A quick, cheap breakfast burrito!
What can’t you do with potatoes? Dice them up for a breakfast or lunch side dish, or eat a baked potato with some veggies to make a delicious and nutritious meal by itself. They’re healthy (filled with vitamin C, potassium, and iron) and inexpensive (cost about 40 cents each) so you can’t go wrong.