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SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,213
4/5/12 1:31 P

Budget Foods
Eggs, beans, canned tuna, seasonal veggies and seasonal fruits, oatmeal, grilled tomatoes, lentils, Kasha, Barley, Brown Rice, green beans, cucumbers, carrots, sweet potatoes, radishes, celery, tacos, pasta, celery, no sugar added applesauce, eggplant is cheap.
Kashi 7 whole grain puffs $2.89
Cottage cheese is low in fat and carbs and very high in protein. Cottage Cheese with fruit, Cottage Cheese on a bed of lettuce, Cottage Cheese in salad with flazseeds, cottage cheese with chopped onion and parsley flakes. It has been promoted as a great diet food.
Sardines contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, Have two fish meals per week because that’s going to lower your risk for heart disease. Sardines are packaged in water, in oil, mustard, with lemon or chili peppers, or in tomato sauce, which might add additional calories, Sardines are cheap. Sadines and chopped onion is very good.
A plate consisting of two eggs, preferably cooked with minimal fats from butter, a piece of whole grain wheat toast, sliced tomatoes, and low-fat milk, makes a wonderful meal
Lunch options for diabetics can be as simple as tuna salad on a bed of lettuce, 2 ounces of low-fat cheese, and a small whole-grain bagel. This meal is low in calories, yet offers enough substance.
Some soups help you feel more satiated, make you eat less, avoid blood sugar and insulin spikes, target belly fat & burn more fat. Try Beef Barley, Lentil soup, Black Bean Soup.
1 Pork Chop, 1/4 Head of Cabbage with butter and caraway seeds, unlimited green beans.
If you're hungry for a snack, grab one small orange and get a juicy dose of vitamin C as well as fiber so eat an orange.
They're not just for kids! Graham crackers are convenient, portable, and offer that oh-so appealing crunch. Grab three graham cracker squares
When you need a more filling snack, spread one slice of whole wheat bread with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. It's a hearty treat that's packed with protein and has heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.Buy Natures Own WHOLE wheat Bread at Dollar Tree for $1
Taco shells @ WALMART Great Value Brand $1
Apples come in so many varieties, it's easy to find the perfect flavor. Choose one small apple at snack time for a serving of fruit that's also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps prevent cholesterol buildup.

Chicken Soup made with 2 chicken legs with skin, 1 can of Veg All (2 Sugars, 08 Carbs) 1 Low Sodium Chicken Bouillion Cube, Sliced Celery

Radishes reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. Radishes are high in potassium and helps reduce blood pressure,they are low glycemic, Low in caloires and support healthy digestion. Radishes are a great snack, they are low in digestible carbohydrates, cleans out the kidneys as they are high in water content and can help regulate metabolism.

Lasagna? Instead of using noodles, use eggplant slices. You can par boil them for a minute remove and start to layer. Ricotta cheese is low fat, has omega 3's for your brain and heart, calcium and protein. Add green bell pepper, chopped onion, and olives as you layer with some ricotta, parm, and tomato sauce. Yummy!

Shredded wheat has magnesium in it and has been associated with a reduced risk of diabetes Add some berries for a healty breakfast. Oatmeal or grits for breakfast, both are inexpensive @ Walmart.
1 cup of spinach has your daily value of magnesium, a mineral that can help regulate blood sugar levels. Many diabetic's have low magnesium levels. loaded with calcium, folic acid and Vitamin C and about $1.99 per bag.
Food in season is usually priced to sell.Use sales and coupons. With frozen foods, you can use only the amount you need, reseal the package, and return it to the freezer and there is no waste. Eat vegetarian once a week or more to increase your consumption of healthy plant foods while saving money. Eggs are an excellent, inexpensive source of protein that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Take advantage of "Buy one, get one free" offers.You could also try using a smaller portion of meat, fish, or poultry and extending the dish with whole grains, beans, eggs, and/or vegetables. Try topping a bed of fresh greens with vegetables, fruits, and slices of leftover chicken. For benefits that go beyond cost savings, plant your own produce, visit farmers markets, dollar stores, Walmart, Aldi, Save A lot depending on your area.

BETHS60 Posts: 566
4/2/12 9:30 A

One more dumb little thing I do. If I get chicken (or other meat) with bones in it, I make stock. I throw all the leftover bits of bone and skin and whatnot into a pot, and cover it with water. I keep a little container in the freezer to hold leftover vegetable bits - carrot peelings, celery parts, onion skins (I learned that on the Frugal Gourmet.) I throw those into the pot with the chicken, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Then strain it (keeping and bits of meat), let it cool, and put in the fridge. You can skim off any extra fat when it has cooled.

Then I throw the stock into a pot, add the meat, any vegetables (leftover, fresh, or frozen) and some noodles, and cook until the noodles are done. This meal is so cheap it is practically free. And my kids really liked it.

JUSTDOIT011 Posts: 1,452
4/2/12 2:08 A

I have a budget similar to yours-- I try to spend under $170 on food each month for me. I don't have a child I'm buying groceries for, but I am a poor student on a budget for sure!

A few things that have really helped me cut costs while still eating healthy is:
1. Buying chicken breasts in bulk (a giant bag of frozen chicken breasts is cheaper than a small 1.5 pound tray)
2. Dried beans are way cheaper than canned beans...yes they require more work (overnight soaking) but if you plan ahead it's not that bad.
3. No more cereal-- I could go through a box of cereal so fast...and they are not cheap! So now I have oatmeal instead which is cheaper.
4. Baking--- baking my own pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, muffins, waffles, bread sticks, biscuits etc.... flour, sugar, water, vegetable oil...etc is cheaper than buying a Pillsbury canister of pre-made dough, and this way you can use whole-wheat flour which is healthier.
5. Buying vegetables/fruit when they are on the grocery store I go to has red peppers on sale frequently for $1 each, instead of the usual price of $1.89 each. So just keeping an eye on the ads online helps. Plus they provide online coupons which I always check first!

Edited by: JUSTDOIT011 at: 4/2/2012 (02:08)
JBINAUSTIN SparkPoints: (54,251)
Fitness Minutes: (1,005)
Posts: 9,602
4/1/12 5:44 A

Good for you, making fruits and veggies a priority for your family!

You can save money by buying things in bulk when they're on sale and freezing the part you won't use right away in single meal portions. The grocery stores in my town frequently put huge packs of chicken or pork chops on sale for $1 per pound! It's a loss leader to get you into the store to buy other stuff but you don't have to falll for that. Buy what's on sale and skip the expensive extras they display nearby.

You don't have to cook everything from scratch either. We stock up on canned soup and frozen veggies when they're on sale. Then we add frozen veggies to our soup for a speedy but nutritious cheap lunch.

Frozen fruits are frequently cheaper and more nutritious than 'fresh' fruit. I briefly nuke frozen blueberries in the microwave before spooning in plain yogurt I get in the biggest tubs. That's much cheaper than buying prefruited yogurt cups. Plus, you control how sweet it is. Yogurt is good to buy in big tubs--it's already spoiled milk, so not much else can go wrong with it. It lasts for a month for me. However, don't put a used (licked) spoon in it, or it gets weird because of the enzymes and bacteria in saliva.

There are several SparkTeams for frugalists and people who want to really stretch their food budgets. Maybe one of them would give you more ideas. Good luck.

BRTRAINS Posts: 500
3/31/12 7:05 P

Hi.. Carrots are relatively inexpensive and you can use them as snacks as well as cooking them. Plan your meals out carefully , by that I mean stock up on chicken breasts when they are on special, I am lucky enough to have a local meat outlet by me and I bought a 10 # bag of chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts today for 1.49lb..

Your budget comes out to 50.00 a week so you can balance that by buying a nice melon , some oranges and a few apples for the fruit part.You can stretch the melon out over a few days, and use bananas to make smoothies that your son will enjoy !!

Keep your meals in balance, by that I mean don't buy carb laden foods but use one type of food to make several meals out of.. Chicken, I know I love chicken can be used so many ways, a breast can make nuggets for your son and chicken salad, sandwiches , bbq chicken etc etc..

Potatoes can go along ways and maybe try a sweet potato stretched out for you and your son, you can slice it like french fries and bake them and they will be oven fried sweet potatoes..

Next week try some extra lean ground beef and do a few things with that and try a couple of new fruits, maybe a couple pears, apples etc.

Experiment and I bet you will be able to make wholesome foods once you learn how to make one type of food into many different things.

Even though you say crackers are less expensive then fruits please stay away from them as your son is depending on you . Take your time and learn some new dishes..
If you need any ideas ( I am a Chef studying to be a nutritionist ) please reach out to me and I will be more then willing to help :)

KITTY732 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,415)
Posts: 12
3/30/12 10:22 P

Good point Beth.

We had a Chinese market near my old house that sold chicken at a fraction of regular grocery prices and their produce was better quality and much much cheaper. It was also a good place for spices.

Buy a bunch when it is on sale. If you have to prep and freeze meals ahead of time to be heated up later to save the food, go for it! Plus it is convenient. Oatmeal is a good choice for breakfast.

Stop N Shop tends to run their brand of frozen veggies at $1 per bag pretty often, so that is a nice deal.

BETHS60 Posts: 566
3/30/12 10:01 P

It's a great idea to start a garden. (Check out the Gardener SparkTeam for tips.) I've read that you can save 100s of dollars every year with a garden. In my experience, it means that you eat more vegetables than you otherwise would. Either way, it's a win-win.

As far as buying inexpensive food, many other posters have had excellent ideas. Dried beans and rice are great cheap food. Oatmeal is a great breakfast, and much cheaper than cereal. I even eat oatmeal like cereal, raw with milk and fruit and nuts. I did the math on baking bread. I can make bread for less than $1.50 a loaf. Since it is $4.00 for a decent loaf at the grocery, that's quite a savings. I purchased a bread machine for $10 at the thrift store.

Our grocery store has a discount rack in the produce section. I often buy fruits and vegetables for cheap. Also, I buy apples and oranges in bags rather than individually. Not only are they cheaper per pound, but they tend to be smaller, which makes them a more manageable snack.

Also, buy fresh produce in season. Apples in the fall.Broccoli in the spring. Strawberries in May and June, Green beans and zucchini in summer. It is likely to be on sale then, as well as just plain fresher.

Do you have any ethnic grocery stores nearby? You can often get inexpensive vegetables and fruits (or sometimes unrecognizable vegetables and fruits).

I am sure that you can stay within budget and get healthy foods.

Best of luck.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,231
3/30/12 12:42 P

Aldi's is a good place to get cheaper produce, plus they run 4 or 5 things on special, really cheap. (Like 89 cents for a 3 lb. bag of oranges, or 79 cents for a pound of strawberries. A couple days ago they had 1 pound bags of baby carrots for 49 cents.) Their whole wheat bread is pretty cheap. Everything in the store is pretty much "Aldi" brand, and they have a limited selection of stuff. But it's cheaper than a "regular" grocery store.

If you don't have an Aldi's-- Dollar General Market has cheaper produce too. Save-A-Lot. Buy the cheaper apples and oranges in 2 or 3 lb. bags. Carrots, onions, and potatoes are generally cheap year-round.

Generics are usually cheaper than name-brand items, unless there's a good sale and you've got coupons. Lots of chicken and fish and lean pork when they're on sale. I avoid red meat anymore-- not as good for you, plus it's gotten more expensive.

One of my favorite "cheap" meals to make, is vegetables soup. You can add beans or lentils, and rice for the protein.

MASHAMOO Posts: 1,667
3/30/12 8:50 A

Definitely stay away from things like processed cereal. Try old fashioned oatmeal, dried beans and peas, grains like bulgur and couscous (usually available in bulk) and shop different stores if possible. Sometimes a staple will cost $1 per pound at one store and $2.50 per pound at another.
Check the unit price because the big packages are not always less per pound.
The frozen fruits and veg are great if you have freezer space for them.
Less than perfect veggies and cheaper cuts of meat (if you eat meat) can go in the crockpot.

Good luck.

RUTH2301 Posts: 773
3/29/12 10:38 P

Do you have a farmer's market in your area? That's another way to find cheaper fruit & vegetables, especially in season. If you have freezer space you can also try to buy extra of certain things when they are in season, and freeze them for later use (if you can afford to buy a little extra and can afford the extra time it takes to freeze these things...).

MELZY76 Posts: 4
3/29/12 10:18 P

Thanks I will use your tips. I wish there were a farmers market around here. I am thinking about attempting my own little garden to grow some lettuce and cucumbers and thinks like that. Now if the seeds take or not is another thing but its worth a try ! If you think of any more please feel free to post them !!! :)

LAWMOM623 Posts: 65
3/29/12 10:14 P

Brown rice and dried beans are (relatively) low cost staples in our house. I also frequently make my own whole grain bread (very inexpensive).

I make homemade hummus and use that as a sandwich spread or as a dip for veggies or pita.

For affordable fruits and veggies, I take several approaches. I go to several farmers' markets that drastically mark down any blemished produce. I clean out those shelves on a regular basis and freeze any produce that I can't use immediately. Our Aldi store also has very nice produce at very reasonable prices.

Bananas that are "over ripe" perfect for smoothies. Just peel them and freeze them in chunks on a cookie tray, then put them in a baggie and keep in the freezer until you're ready to use them. I can often get 5 lbs of brown bananas for less than a dollar.

When fruits are off-season, I buy frozen fruit. I make homemade yogurt to mix with the frozen fruit for a treat or for smoothies. It's much cheaper than buying the commercial yogurt, and I can control the amount of sugar.

Our grocery store runs sales on frozen veggies pretty often. When that happens, I stock up on frozen veggies at about $1 per bag.

MELZY76 Posts: 4
3/29/12 9:55 P

I am starting all over again. for the hundredth time...but hey its better than giving up altogether eh.
I am a single Mom on a very fixed income and I find it very difficult to manage a healthy grocery shopping trip when I am on a very limited budget. It frustrates me that it is cheaper to buy a box of crackers than it is to buy fruit and veggies. Me and my child both love fruit and veggis but its so expensive I can only buy it once a month or if it is on sale. Its a shame really.

I guess my question is do anyone have any tips to help me with buying health choices at the grocery store. Keep in mind I have a 200 monthly limit for Groceries !

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