S.S. asks from Osgood, IN on July 30, 2010
Cheap Healthy Meals?
hey mommies! my little boy is at the age where he is starting to eat a lot of table food. So my husband and I decided that we need to start eating healthier. we use to eat really healthy before I got pregnant, in fact we were vegiatarian. but with the baby money has gotten tighter so we have been eating a lot of $2 meals like spegetti and hotdogs and mac and cheese. I want to know if any one has any good ideas for meals that are healthy but cheap. and by cheap I mean less than $5 for the whole meal. I found a lot of recipes online that claim to be $2 a serving but these receipes rely on you having certain ingrediants in your house, by the end of the week we never have anything so I would have to buy every ingrediant and it can get pricy (hence the spegetti...$1 for the pasta and $1 for the sauce) any ideas? editing again to add that yes we collect food stamps, that is pretty much where all all our food comes from (a quick break down of our bills we make $1200 a month thats $435 for our bankruptcy $160 for gas $65 for water $80 in the summer for electric and$200 in the winter $85 for our phone/internet/cable bill $42 for home owner insurance and $44 for car insurance. if you add that up its about $1200 so we have no extra money) we can pretty much only shop at places that except WIC and food stampes
So What Happened?™
editing to add that we live in a small town with one over priced grocery store so we always go out of town to do our shopping. We are 1/2 hr away from krogers, walmart, and serveral save-alots (one at which my husband works). the closes sam's club is in columbus IN an hr away...but i cant afford the membership, I mean it when I say we are living paycheck to paycheck (about 1200 a mnth for a family of three) and yes my son is on WIC, if it wasnt for the WIC program I dont know how we would have afforded his formula! oh and we did plant a garden this year...but all the rain we had killed alot of it. oh and even when I was a vegatarian I sucked at cooking tofu lol!
I wanted to add that I read Alana's comments about eggs and had to laugh. I love eggs! and you have no idea how many we go through I can go through 2 dozen in 4 days! oh and please no more pasta recipes! I cant really keep pasta in the house I am a recovering bulimic and pasta was a major binge food for me
after reading another comment I want to add yes our bills dont total to exactly $1200 but I was adding in mis. expenses like diapers for my son other tolitries oil changes for the car ect. yes we have been through finacial and credit counsiling it is a requirement when you declare bankruptcy the one thing I do thank god for is that we own our house free and clear so there is no morgage. as fpr gping tp a food bank like i mentioned before we live in a very small town. there is one food bank through the local church. and you are limited to going there once a month and you really dont get much at all (I know every little helps but its really very littl) because donations are down, and I know donations are down everywhere but in a town as small as ours they didnt even get good donations when the ecomony was doing well
T.B. answers from Dayton on August 02, 2010
Beans and rice can be healthy but you have to be creative for taste. Also you can help save some money by subscribing to netflix for $9 instead of having cable.
M.J. answers from Sacramento on July 30, 2010
Here's a recipe we have frequently that easy, healthy and cheap:
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on July 30, 2010
Well, where you're located, I don't know how much access you have to a Sam's Club or Costco nearby. It looks like you may have some near the Cincinnati area.
Tortillas are generally cheap with beans, cheese, veggies (we like to do quesadillas a lot).
Soups are usually cheap, rice dishes (beans and rice), chili.
There have been several studies recently discussing the long-term health costs of trying to save money on food in the short-term and eating the foods you mention. Our children's generation is the first on record in the US not expected to live as long as their parents. 1/3 children in this generation will develop Type 2 diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, etc.
So, I know money is tight, and you're doing your best. If possible, use as many veggies (frozen are packed with nutrients and are cheap), fruits (bananas with peanut butter can be a solid, cheap snack), and lean meats as possible to be healthy.
Learn to really read nutritional labels. Avoid foods with high sodium/carb levels and try to get as much fiber as possible into your diet.
4 moms found this helpful
S.B. answers from Cleveland on July 31, 2010
I saw one other person said it, but buy dried beans! Bean soup, beans and rice, Mexican dishes with beans can really stretch any meat you want to put in something. I'll do quesadillas with lots of beans, peppers, grilled veggies, and just a little bit of shredded chicken. I make bean or lentil soup all the time. I use about a pound of dried beans, a couple of cups of stock and water or canned tomatoes and water, add some veggies like green beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, spinach (all pretty cheap), sometimes sauteed in olive oil first, and some seasoning. It takes time to learn, but once you do you can make bread from scratch pretty quick so we'll have soup with lots of veggies and bread, maybe some cheese and fruit too. You can also make bread dough and freeze it or refrigerate it until you're ready to use it.
You can stock up on dried beans, lentils, and rice and other grains, and flour at one of the stores that are further away because you won't have to worry about them going bad right away. Lots of ethnic dishes - Mexican, middle Eastern, Indian, etc., are vegetarian and cheap! You probably already know this from being a vegetarian, but when you combine a grain and a bean you get a complete protein so you don't really need the more expensive meat.
I recommend a cookbook called "More with Less." There a lot of good things in there and it's been around forever so you could probably even borrow a copy from the library. The cheapest way to eat is to make everything from scratch, which is hard, but this cookbook has a lot of things that are quick or where you can do most of it ahead of time (like making your own pancake mix.) It also tells you what foods to eat together to get the most out of them, like the beans and grains together.
2 moms found this helpful
P.O. answers from Harrisburg on July 30, 2010
Lentil burgers - 1 cup lentil cooked till soft, add eggs and breadcrumbs, fry until golden brown.
Green peas and Pasta - Blend green peas with milk (can use evaporated milk too). Add to cooked pasta. Add cheese.
Chicken Quesadilla - 1 pack quesadilla (8 in a pack), shredded cheese (or shred your own) and canned chicken breast - Warm chicken, add blackpeper, onions (or whatever seasonings you like). Put aside. Slightly brown quesadillas on both sides, add the chicken, cheese, fold over once, cut in halves
Rice and chilli - Cook plain rice, add canned chilli (turkey or beef). Serve with green beans or corn
Sphagetti and cheese - Break sphagetti into really fine pieces and cook till tender. Drain. Pour milk and add cheese and (whatever vegetable you like)
Just a few....
1 mom found this helpful
V.C. answers from Dallas on July 30, 2010
Two of our local grocery stores have a place in the meat section where they put items that are reaching their expiration date. The other day, I got 5 T-bone steaks for $5. I can often find chicken breasts or tenders for half price.
I also look for trucks parked around town selling produce. They are much less expensive than the farmer's market or grocery store and the produce tastes better, too.
L.M. answers from New York on July 30, 2010
Stir fry is great. You don't use much meat (you can do just veggies) and add what ever is on sale that week or even left overs.
An oven stuffer roaster, when it's on sale. It feeds our family of 4, and there's always leftovers for hubby and I to have lunch the next day. After that make some soup.
I find that potatoes and carrots aren't very expensive and make good side dishes.
For your son, buy a large box of Cherios, try the generic brand. They're healthy, good for breakfast, and great for a snack.
Have you tried getting assistance from a local food bank.
D.W. answers from Gainesville on July 30, 2010
I second buying large bags of veggies at Sam's club. Use whole wheat pasta because then you are getting protein and fiber to keep you full and more nutritional bang for your buck. Brown rice and beans-again good fiber and protein.
Have you checked to see if you would qualify for WIC for your son? That would help out with getting milk, cereal, juice, eggs and now some places you can get fresh fruit and veggies with WIC.
Here's another idea for you as well:
A.H. answers from New York on July 30, 2010
What about eggs?You can always have breakfast for dinner...good protein for your family and cheap...
One easy meal I make a lot is lasagna rolls - lasagna noodles (boiled) then make filling of ricotta 1 small container (or you could sub cottage cheese) 1 egg, parmesan and a package of frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed out. put a couple Tablespoons of filling on each noodle and roll it up - top with jar of spaghetti sauce. There are a million variations...
What about tuna? You can always throw that into a salad or pasta. I buy those pasta roni's when they are on sale for $1 and add tuna and some peas to it - instant casserole.
For your son simple veggies are cheap buy and bake some sweet potatoes mash and serve w/ or w/o cinnamon
Same with any kind of squash - way cheaper than baby food.
Beans - my son's favorite finger food since he was about 11 months (16 months now) has been plain pink beans rinsed and drained from the can. Perfect finger food and super cheap and good for him.
Homeade pizza? - Buy a ball of dough at the grocery or pizza store (1.50 here) make sauce with 1/2 can of tomato paste, water, oil if you have it, and italian seasoning. - top with cheese and whatever else - we like frozen spinach again...
Sorry for my thoughts being all over the place - just trying to think of cheap food!
C.W. answers from Austin on July 30, 2010
don't you qualify for food stamps?