Eating healthy on a tight budget...any tips?

Connie - posted on 05/26/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )




Fruits and Veggies and suger free stuff is so much more expensive than snack foods chicken and tots and stuff like that....How can I eat halthy if I am on a very limited income? My son is also in a groth sput and is eating everything he can get his hands on. leaving me very little food any way. It has gotten to the point where I wont eat if he is still hungry I will give him my protion he is a light weight very athaletic tall and skinny....he has a high metabolisum so he could eat anything and still say wish could do that. any ways I want to start eating healthey with him so he gets into that habit of healthy eating.


Jodi - posted on 05/26/2010




Well, you can't eat healthy without your fruit and veg, so you are just going to have to bite the bullet with that one. However, if you eat fruit and veg that are in season it will be cheaper than if it is out of season.

With meat, I guess it depends on where you live. Here in Australia, I find chicken is much cheaper than most red meats, but I also know that our supermarket marks a lot of its meat down on Wednesday mornings so it can clear before its new delivery that day. Friday nights are also a time they are trying to get rid of meat cheap. So you should try to find out when your supermarket or butcher has its specials. Try to buy in bulk and freeze, too, because this works out cheaper in the long run. But also try to make sure your meat are the low fat or heart smart cuts if you can, because these are better for you.

Start making some of your own snacks. It need not be totally sugar free - there is nothing wrong with a little sugar in your diet, but you should try and keep it to a low sugar. Bake your own cookies and cakes, etc. It works out much cheaper than buying them, and much more healthy for you.

If you like rice, choose to eat Basmati long grain rice - it is low GI (higher fibre). Rice is an inexpensive side dish, and although you shouldn't eat it all the time, rice with a quick stir fry is a really inexpensive, filling but healthy dish. Pasta is also a cheap option, just go for the wholemeal varieties instead of the white pastas. With both of these, you should be careful of your portion size because they are quite high in carbohydrates.

I have heaps of recipes that are low cost and healthy (my hubby has diabetes, so I count fats and carbohydrates in my head on a daily basis).

Wholegrain breads and cereals are more expensive generally than white, sugary ones, but they are also more filling, so you will probably go through less anyway because your portions don't need to be as large to filll you up.

Another couple of tips:

Drink a glass of water with a slice of lemon in it before you start your meal. This will fill you up a little and also help with the absorption of fibre and with your digestion.

Eat with a smaller fork, that way your mouthfuls are smaller, it takes longer to eat, and this then allows your body to notice the signal that you are full before you finish. Basically, you should try to eat slowly.

Hope some of this helps. I do have more tips, but I have to go now because I am just about to serve up my own family's dinner :)


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Tammy - posted on 05/26/2010




Have you tryed Angel Food...It a great buy for a small amount of money...check out you have any other question just facebook me back.

I have used it for the last 4-5 yrs...

Jennifer - posted on 05/26/2010




you always pay for convience and i find that pre-packaged foods tend to have way more perservatives and artificial flavorings and colorings. honnestly i'd rather spend money on real food than junk anyway. you should definetly try farmers markets if they are available to you, you'd be surprised how cheap they are. also i save so much time and money when i cook larger quanities of food and at one time and freeze it. for expample I can buy 3lbs of ground beef and get 4or 5 night worth of dinner out of it. Meal 1 use all the meat to make a large ( very large) batch of pasta sauce. ( cooked all day in the crockpot so i don''t have to do much work for lots of flavor.)

Meal 2 use already made leftover sauce to make chlli. add chili and pepper and kidney beans( lots of kindey beans, they are high in fiber and very low in fat) they will also add alot of bulk to your meal. if you still need to streatch this meal you can serve it with rice.

Meal 3 Use already made sauce to make a lasagna or a baked zitti. Use a whole wheat pasta for a more filling dish and serve with salad to start.

Meal 4 another nights pasta dish.

I freeze the sauce in small glass portioned containers between uses and and only defrost what i will use that night. also make sure that when you make the first batch of sauce the ground beef is fresh not frozen. also if your kids won't eat veggies the sauce is an excellent way to hide them. puree almost fresh vegetable and put into the sauce, it won't change the taste overmuch but will pack alot of nutrients.

they telll you a general rule for shopping is to avoid the center and stick with the outside perimeter of the the store, that is where the healthy foods are.

Angie - posted on 05/26/2010




Junk food is expensive because it doesn't last as long. Good quality veggies and chicken are quite inexpensive if purchased on sale. Our income is limited too and I find that $1.00 for a bunch of celery is much less expensive than $3.00 for a bag of chips and the celery lasts longer even though we all eat it. I make my own chicken nuggets with chicken breasts covered in flavored bread crumbs and baked in the oven at 350 for a half hour or so. Lentils are dirt cheap, I add cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic and I have taco "meat" - my children like it better than ground beef. I could go on and on....... Be creative and you'll find plenty of options much less expensive than junk food.....

Abbie - posted on 05/26/2010




When you stop buying the "crap" food, there is money left over for healthy food. We just changed our diets 2 weeks ago, we too were they mac & cheese family, fast & quick. Now I don't buy that stuff. You need 3 servings of fruits & 5 of veggies a day.

Your son needs carbs to help him stay full. You can make a lot of stuff taht you can buy in boxes that is so much healthier because the boxed stuff is full of preservatives adn that is not healthy!!!!

As someone said you can grow a lot of things in pots. I don't know your income but if you are on WIC or anythign they give you coupons for farmers markets. Buying potatoes & making your own hashbrowns is much cheaper then buying the premade ones. Another thing I would like to suggest is cut out pop/soda. Once your body doesn't get it and is over it, you will save a ton & drop weight!! I used to drink enough pop, now I am down to 1 a day. I drink 6-8 glasses of water, and that helps keep you full also. another thing is eating smaller meals more often. You will stay fuller! You can email me if you want more healthy receipes and ideas.

Fiona - posted on 05/26/2010




most veggies can be grown in pots on a patio if you lack a spacious garden. If you grow excess you could swap with friends/neighbours for something they are growing (a cheap way to have more options). I use brown rice in a lot of my cooking, its more expensive but we eat far less as it is more filling than white rice. buy cheap cuts of meat and use small quantities. Cook stews/casseroles in a slow cooker to tenderise the meat and add lots of different veggies and things like barley, split peas etc to expand the meal cheaply.
Use foods that haven't been processed as they have a lot more nutritional value and will fill you up for longer. Fresh is best.
I hope this is of some help.
From another struggling Mum
Fiona :)

Anastasia - posted on 05/26/2010




vege markets are a great way to get cheap veges...its just convincing yourself on a sat morning to get out of bed. and my partner has started a vege garden which is fantastic!

Karen - posted on 05/26/2010




it's pretty cheap to have a little garden and grow your own things - many things will be able to be frozen to have through the winter as well (beans, carrotts, rhubarb...pickles, beets..)

Louise - posted on 05/26/2010




Thanks Jodi that was really informative. My dad is a diabetic and I am always looking for pudding receipes for him. So if you have a family favourite I would be happy to hear it.

Now then Connie I agree with everything Jodi said also remember that vegetables come and go in seasons so buy large amounts of them and blanche them and freeze so that you can eat them all year round. I also make stews and pies with the cheaper cuts of meats and bulk the meal out by adding vegetables and bulgar wheat. I make two portions of stew at a time and freeze one which cuts back on the gas bill. I will spend a whole day cooking lasagnas and shepherds pies and stews and freeze them all. I buy in bulk at the butchers and not the supermarket as my butcher now knows me and knows I want the leaner cuts of meat and I pay for exactly what I need, no waste. In fact the butcher does work out cheaper. I also make raisin and oats cookies and flapjacks which keep you full and are healthier for you. I make crumbles with the fruit that is in season and summer puddings. I also use stale bread to make bread and butter pudding which is very cheap to make and uses up those bits of bread that have gone slightly hard. You can make crumble with wholemeal flour and sweetner rather than sugar and you can definitley make bread and butter pudding with sweetner or honey. Hope this gives you some ideas.

Carly - posted on 05/26/2010




You need to get all fruit and veg into your faimly's daily routine. I know it's not always that easy & sometimes it's okay to go a few days with out constantly having fresh produce but it is so serious for your health and most importantly your children's. It is more expensive but there's so many ways you can make it last longer, you need to look up healthy recipe's using all these fruits and veg, you can look up loads online. You could make a stew with beef, veg (& it's great if your kids don't like veggies because you can completley blitz them all into a soup with a blender) This will not only feed your family a nutricious meal it will also keep for days if you place the left over stew in a container and pop it in he fridge. If you enjoy takeaways you can make healthy versions, all you need is a few spices, onions, veg, some meat (beef, pork) and some egg noddles. That doesn't take 15 minutes to make & is extremley filling. There is so many thing's you can do that can benefit your health. Also chicken is very good for you, it's a white meat & therefore has no fat, aslong as you don't eat the skin. You can eat as much of it as you like, even have it in stirfrys, stews etc.. Good luck and get looking for recipe's.

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