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DANAG22's Photo DANAG22 Posts: 739
5/28/14 2:34 P

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omelettes

-chicken
-eggs
-frozen vegetables sometimes you can get 10 bags of a variety to choose from for $10




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HADLEY123's Photo HADLEY123 SparkPoints: (15,667)
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5/28/14 9:53 A

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I just remembered my stand by quick meal for my daughter. Ramen noodles. I make my own broth because I can't find vegetarian ramen soup anymore. I use about 1.5 tsp of red miso paste, 1 tsp vegetable bouillon paste (Better than Bouillon brand), 1 Tbsp each dark and light soy sauce, a generous pinch each of ground ginger and garlic powder. If I have lemongrass paste or ginger paste, I throw that in too. I add fresh or frozen veggies and drop in an egg lightly beaten. Serves two and costs literally pennies.



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KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,408
4/28/14 6:32 P

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Lady... I finally went to the ALLYOU.com magazine site and they had an ad for a Canadian site at "freebies4her.com.free_samples." I've signed up for the weekly e-mail. Thanks again for the information.

Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 30 back!


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HADAMIREYA's Photo HADAMIREYA SparkPoints: (2,815)
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4/28/14 1:56 P

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Making your own bread is so cheap and easy I love making my weekly bread on mondays and keep it on the fridge for the week. I use whole wheat flour, water and yeast, that's it, cheaper than store bought and much healthier.
I started loving veggie soft tacos, also super budget friendly and adding chickpeas to my diet, I have my food prep day, when I cook black beans, chickpeas and freeze them.



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KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,408
4/14/14 10:14 A

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LadyCJM - thanks for the info - sorry took so long to get back to you. I've been away at a painting conference (pics of my projects posted on my page). I'll look up on google and see if I can find a Canadian version of AllYou. thanks.

Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 30 back!


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DALLAS_HILL's Photo DALLAS_HILL SparkPoints: (11,757)
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4/14/14 8:36 A

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Container gardening is pretty easy and inexpensive; I used to have a big (1000sf) garden but if it's just the two of you with limited space, it's amazing what you can grow in a few containers, or a corner of your landscaping. Funny thing, the smaller the plant, and the less space it takes up, the more it costs at the store!
If you're looking at larger containers, check out furniture dollies at places like Harbor Freight. For a few bucks, it can make moving those large containers around a lot easier, and you'll have a reuseable tool.
Starting your garden on a blacktop driveway or path, especially in the spring, gives your plants a boost by keeping the soil warmer for germination.
The best thing is, at the end of the season, you can move them inside and continue the harvest; I've had fresh parsley and herbs all winter.


A man's errors are his portals of discovery - James Joyce


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SHEILA234's Photo SHEILA234 Posts: 322
4/13/14 12:30 A

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Lentils are a good healthy choice as a base for a soup, salad, etc. I just made a hearty soup this last week with lentils as the base, chicken stock, and lots of vegetables. It was really tasty, healthy, and good for the budget.

Edited by: SHEILA234 at: 4/13/2014 (00:32)
Sheila
Vancouver, BC


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CAROLINE1026's Photo CAROLINE1026 SparkPoints: (4,249)
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4/11/14 10:18 A

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One thing I like to do to save some money is shop at my local public market for fruits and veggies. I'm fortunate that our large one runs all year. Then the smaller towns start opening theirs around Mother's Day. The large public market also has fish and meats at a decent price. I will buy in bulk and then cut my veggies and freeze them for future meals. I have found going there really cut the cost of the fresh items l like to eat/use each week.



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GI68801's Photo GI68801 SparkPoints: (9,483)
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4/10/14 8:47 P

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When budgeting for healthy eating I try to find lots and lots of recipes that I not to do for meals. After this I see what items I have and then check the weekly store ads for sales. This helps me determine which recipes I am many and I will also buy lots of the items on sale, especially if I can use them in other recipes. I all watch for meat sales and buy in bulk then. At the time it seems I am spending a lot but I can buy, most of the time, my meat for the month for $20-$30.

The only difference between a bad day and a good day, is your attitude!


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TWEETYFITN60's Photo TWEETYFITN60 SparkPoints: (4,620)
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4/10/14 2:45 P

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First of all, I don't know any one who isn't on some kind of budget when it comes to paying all of their bills. When the recession hit in 2009 (for us here in Atlanta) and when my hubby lost all of his benefits (except the paycheck) and I lost my job we went down to a one income household for two people. Although we don't have any one else living with us; since we don't have health insurance, I felt very strongly that we could spend our nutrition dollars in one of two places: going to doctors for "after the fact" or at the grocery store. Since I am pre-diabetic and he has high cholesterol, we also needed to buy foods that would support both of these health issues. I was part of a community garden project in our county. It was organic and what was extra we gave to the food shelf. How fortunate were those people who got fresh organic produce just for showing up with their empty bags? It was a wonderful experience and helped stretch our food budget but since we are moving to another county (farther out in the country) this is not available. Still, it is one "not so obvious" option that you might look into. We paid $25 per year (we can grow produce all but 6 weeks out of the year here in north Georgia) and it was a very valuable lesson for me in how to eat with the seasons (which our grandparents used to do) and what vegetable can be grown in what kind of weather.

Now, I am going to look into container gardening since I will be moving to another (larger and same price) apartment. As long as my patio or porch faces the sun, I will be able to grow quite a bit in a small confined space. I am very excited about this plus just watching something grow from a small plant or seed is just plain wonderful.

You can research this online and hopefully you too will be able to grow your own produce.

Good luck Pam

" No One is impressed with how good your excuses are."

" A year from now, you will wish you had started TODAY!- Karen Lamb

" BElieve in YOUrself."


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HAWKTHREE's Photo HAWKTHREE SparkPoints: (25,919)
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4/10/14 1:55 P

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Very cheap and dress it up with colorful veggies such as yellow corn or orange carrots.

1 cup lentils (brown, orange, green)
1 cup brown rice
1 onion chopped
6 cups water

Put into pot and bring to a boil. Lower temp, put a lid on and cook on a simmer for 45 minutes.
Green lentils will stay crunchier; brown ones will be mushy; orange lentils will disappear and contribute to the sauce.
Using medium brown rice is tastier to a lot of kids. There's more pasta like texture and less brown rice. You can also use white rice.


Life needs balance


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ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/10/14 1:28 P

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If you have to eat out, even though it's not the 'cheapest' choice- if you are at Subway, get a footlong and eat half today, half another meal.

MWARNER211 SparkPoints: (874)
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4/10/14 12:08 P

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I love salsa and tortilla chips.. I take 2 corn tortillas and cut them into 6 slices each. Spray them with non stick cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt and bake 350* for 5 min then turn and 5 min on the other side. Tasty and low fat.

I like salads but using Buttermilk ranch dressing is not an option when trying to diet.
1/4 c low fat sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1/4 c low fat buttermilk
3 tbs low fat mayo ( I use the one made with olive oil)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs fresh chopped chives
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dry dill weed
fresh ground black pepper to taste

mix all ingredients well in bowl. will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in a sealed container.
WAY less fat and calories per 2 TBS serving than the bottled stuff, and still pretty tasty.

Kale seems to be the new trend so tonight I'm making a recipe I put together when I couldn't find what I was looking for. Tried it a couple weeks ago and it was delicious. Even my husband who thinks all greens taste like "lawn clippings" said it was good.

1 med onion chopped
2 med cloves of garlic minced
2 cups chopped kale
1 med ripe tomato chopped
1 cup pasta sauce ( I like Ragu sweet tomato and basil)
8 oz whole wheat Penne pasta ( or any tubular pasta)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (or less)
1/2 tsp dried basil
parmesan cheese or part skim mozzarella


Cook pasta according to package. meanwhile heat oil over med. heat in large skillet. Add onions and cook until tender (3-4 min). Add kale and garlic and cover. Stir about every 30 seconds until kale is tender. Add tomato and cook about 1 min. Remove from heat. Add sauce. Drain pasta and add to kale mixture. Mix well. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan or mozzarella. Great with grilled or baked chicken on the side or mixed in.

MWARNER211 SparkPoints: (874)
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4/10/14 10:55 A

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I have six people in my house to cook for. I do have the luxury of being a stay at home mom, but don't get me wrong, with three kids and a mother-in-law to care for I stay very busy. We live paycheck to paycheck so I designate one day a week to searching ads and coupons and only buy what is on sale. I also try to put together meals for the week so I only have to make one trip to the store a week.

As others have stated I buy "clearance" meat whenever possible and freeze or use immediately. Discounted veggies can be blanched and frozen. Dry beans are a huge budget saver. I try to plan one meal a week where beans are the protein. Using whole grain pasta (which goes on sale $1.00 a box) or rice with plenty of veggies and roasted or baked chicken is a cheap meal with many variations of flavors.

The biggest thing that saves my family money is hunting and having our own vegetable garden. We hunt only for food, process our own meat and use every bit. Ground venison can be mixed with low fat hamburger and adding Worcestershire sauce can nearly take out the "gamey" taste completely, and its low fat. Having a garden is great exercise (I don't have a ton of room to do exercise indoors and videos drive me crazy) and can be an enjoyable experience for everyone in the family. Even if you don't have time for a garden, a few potted vegetable plants on your porch could save a few dollars and you know exactly how the plant is cared for and you can't beat that kind of freshness.

I have done a lot of research trying to lose weight and find ways to be healthier and most experts will say cutting any one thing out of your diet completely isn't good. The key to being healthy is making sure you eat BALANCED, and get some exercise. Sugars are not good and neither is fat, but sugars and carbs can be burned off as energy whereas fats tend to be stored. I avoid processed sugars and anything FREE because usually there are chemicals added to make something "fat free" or "sugar free". The less ingredients in something or the more "raw" or natural you can make something the better I feel it is for you. I think sometimes the reason we have problems losing weight is because our bodies are having so much trouble processing the different chemicals we ingest. But that's just an opinion.

The more things you can make yourself at home can save you money but also be more healthy because you know exactly what is in it.

GENE1955 SparkPoints: (43,383)
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4/10/14 7:28 A

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With spring here and summer around the corner its the time of year I think about a garden. Fresh produce and excercise at the same time. Talk about win/win.



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SHELL1400_85's Photo SHELL1400_85 SparkPoints: (25,309)
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4/9/14 4:23 P

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One simple change that wouldn't be noticed by picky eaters would be to switch from white bread, rice and pasta to whole wheat. I have a very picky 2 year old but he loves whole wheat bread because it is all he has ever known!

Get fresh fruits and vegetables while they are in season.
Eggs are great for you and are pretty cheap.
I will say that I think the cost of milk is outrageous, but not a lot we can do about that and the boys in my house love milk, skim of course :).

I also used to think that healthy foods were expensive, but I believe it's because we are looking in the wrong place. Those "health bars" that companies like Special K and such try to push off as healthy are a waste of money. There's not really anything healthy about them.



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ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/9/14 4:04 P

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Stock up on sales and then you can almost always buy everything on sale!

BHENDRICK2's Photo BHENDRICK2 Posts: 867
4/9/14 2:56 P

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i would say read the store ads and be open to new foods sometimes you see something on sale that you wind up loving :)

http://www.terrorsofmen.com/ the website of the most inspiring man i know


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KEILMAN11's Photo KEILMAN11 Posts: 11
4/9/14 2:50 P

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My stores will mark down meat a day or two before it hits its sell by date. I've gotten boneless skinless thighs for $7 for 8 pounds, pork roast for $3.00 a pound, rump roast for $3.50 a pound.

The first thing I do is scan the meat section for those lovely yellow tags. I take it home and put it in the freezer or use it right away.

I call it clearance meat!!! LOL

I'm taking me back!


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GORGEOUS140 Posts: 44
4/9/14 10:42 A

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One of my favorite meatless go to meals is Veggie Chili. I made it last night. Lasts for days.

1 can of each: bush chili beans, black beans (drained & rinsed), dark red beans (drained & rinsed), diced tomatoes (undrained), corn (drained or 2 cups of frozen). 1/2 diced green peppers and 1/2 onions.

Saute` green peppers and onions in tbsp of oil of choice (olive oil for me) add chili powder, salt and pepper to set seasoning for other ingredients. 5 minutes

Add in all of the above, stir and season to taste (add more chili pepper, red pepper for some heat, salt for to bring out vegetables). Add 1 cup of water and to your liking for thickness.
Bring to boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes for veggies to soften and flavors to meld together.

OPTIONAL
Prepared Success Boil in the Bag - Brown Rice or Rolands Black Bean Quinoa
Serve one cup with veggie chili!

Add additional topping: jalapeno or avacodo

Skip the cornbread, crackers, cheese, sour creams, etc.

For larger portions the ingredients

Yum! You will not miss the meat! Total calories about 500 - 550




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BOREDA SparkPoints: (132,474)
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4/8/14 4:44 P

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My big tip is to buy fresh produce (fruit, veg, meat, poultry, fish, etc.) when it is half-price (or less) for quick sale because the date is about to expire. The tyranny of the sell-by date is great for economical shoppers: often the produce has weeks of life left in it (ever seen those bullet-hard avocadoes which need at least another couple of weeks to ripen...) or can be put immediately in the freezer (most meat, poultry, fish); or you can cook it in big-batch dishes (chili, pasta, casseroles) and then freeze these for later. Unless I am cooking for a specific meal for guests, I usually don't go shopping with a precise list, but rather something saying "green veg, fruit, meat..." and buy whatever is cheap because of the sell-by date, then make up the menu from there. Also don't dismiss large joints of meat, whole chickens, etc.; although they may look expensive, they can be stretched for miles, and NEVER throw the bones away, but always keep them for stock as a basis for soup, a tasty addition to pasta sauces, etc.

WEEBLE73 Posts: 433
4/8/14 8:15 A

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Thank you for all of the great ideas



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LADYCJM's Photo LADYCJM SparkPoints: (33,213)
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4/7/14 7:49 P

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KSGAMMA,
I checked the site using a Canadian postal code and it didn't register. But I searched for Canadian deals and there are offers for various items/services in Canada.

I'm sure there has to be a similar website that caters to Canadian stores.



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BROWNJA78 SparkPoints: (1,121)
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4/7/14 4:12 P

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This has to be my favorite topic. I have been using canned tuna and salmon to stretch my lean meat budget. Additionally, I shop at Trader Joe's a lot for low cost organic and healthy items. Bagged salad runs you $2.99 there and that with canned tuna is a very filling lunch. I will also buy off brand frozen veggies from Family Dollar.

ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/7/14 2:27 P

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Almost anything from Aldi's is a good deal!

COOKIE268's Photo COOKIE268 SparkPoints: (14,134)
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4/7/14 9:03 A

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I like to dry fry cooked turkey chunks with paprika and touch of balsamic vinegar with udon noodles. I use straight to wok mostly for the convenience. Bulk it out with whatever veg is to hand and you've got a tasty, filling and healthy meal.

ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/7/14 12:39 A

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And canned tuna mixed with Greek yogurt or fat free mayo, spices, and relish makes for a low cal, low cost tuna salad sandwich filling.

KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,408
4/6/14 10:21 P

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LadyCJM - is allyou.com for people in the US only, do you know?

Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 30 back!


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STARGIRL20's Photo STARGIRL20 SparkPoints: (8,384)
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4/6/14 8:12 A

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One thing I like to remind people is that fruits and veggies and whole foods aren't that expensive if you are trading them out with old staples like pop, coffee, processed foods, and dinners out. To me, it seems a fair trade. At my house, I don't drink pop because why would I waste my money on something that isn't good for me (other than an occasional treat). I'd rather spend my money on fruits and veggies (although it can be a struggle not to let them go bad).

Some of my favorite meals:
-Yogurt with granola and berries (great breakfast, snack, or light meal)
-Fried rice - mix together veggies, chicken, rice, eggs, and soy sauce
-Chicken fajitas
-Taco salad

Vegetarian meals can also help with the budget since meat can be expensive. Even just redefining how much meat you eat helps. For example, I put a lot less chicken and more peppers on my chicken fajitas than I use to because chicken is hard to find where I live.

I've also been redefining what I consider a meal. Several things that I use to think of as snacks can really be meals if I'm eating smaller, lighter meals.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17

2/9/2013 - 500 Festival Series 5K - 37:28
3/9/2013 - 500 Festival Series 10K - 1:20:08
4/6/2013 - 500 Festival Series 15K - 2:01:49
5/4/2013 - 500 Festival Indy Mini (Half Marathon) - 3:07:28

ONEderland - September 2013, September 2014
Out of obese BMI - November 2013

~Stargirl


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LADYCJM's Photo LADYCJM SparkPoints: (33,213)
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4/6/14 1:59 A

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There is a great web site called ALLYOU.com

It has a grocery store search feature where you enter your shopping list and it searches the stores you have selected and finds the best prices as well as coupons. It is a free site.



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ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/5/14 1:43 P

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Buy marinara sauce and pasta on sale....so many permutations of veggies and protein you can add!

MARYALICE411's Photo MARYALICE411 Posts: 23,742
4/5/14 1:03 P

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Any time you fix something it is cheaper. Time a problem, a can of beans, rinse to get rid of the salt, so chile seasoning and in 10 min you have chile. There where 6 of us kids, mom would cook big pots of several things once a week and put then in freezer bags in the freezer. Then the days we were all going different directions we could grab a bag out of the freezer, heat it up and we had dinner. Just about any 1 dish meal works. soups, stews, chile, stir fry. we put spinach in chile to get veggies.

Objects in the mirror will get thinner than they now appear

MaryAlice from Alvin TX



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BRE321's Photo BRE321 SparkPoints: (3,163)
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4/4/14 11:25 P

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I used to laugh when people asked for boxes in restaurant to take part of their dinner home. No more! I have eaten lunch 3 days this week off dinners from earlier. Grilled shrimp with vegetables, Chinese stir-fry or a baked chicken breast all heat up just fine the next day. It saves a lot of money.

"We do not change as we grow older, we just become more clearly ourselves"


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FANNYMANSON's Photo FANNYMANSON SparkPoints: (19,246)
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4/4/14 6:03 P

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Our store marks down aging produce, so I usually check there for bargains. Other things like rice, eggs, beans and potatoes are pretty easy on the budget. Also check the store brand frozen vegetable for sales.

Feed your head.


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ODDMENTTWEAK Posts: 1,674
4/3/14 10:04 P

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My store's loyalty program does a lot for me to offset bills. Once or twice a year I redeem a large amount of points and have a heavily discounted grocery bill for that month.

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."
- Helen Keller


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MRSBENNETT2's Photo MRSBENNETT2 Posts: 1,598
4/3/14 7:45 P

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www.budgetbytes.com is a glorious site! I haven't disliked one recipe I've made from her site. She posts complete photo directions, too. She aims for relatively healthy using lots of veggies, and you can easily modify to use lower fat ingredients etc if she hasnt' already. Plus the recipes make a lot so you can have leftovers or freeze some for lunches.



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SIMPLELIFE2's Photo SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
4/3/14 5:24 P

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"Just the idea of having to make different things for everyone is exhausting and expensive. But I get tired of eating the same things all the time."

I really don't get why parents think they need to be short-order cooks these days. My mom prepared a meal. You either ate it or you didn't. You don't run a restaurant so stop acting like it. Make the best overall choices for your family's health and budget and stick to it. If they won't eat it, peanut butter on whole wheat and some fruit/and or veggie that you don't cook is fine. If they are old enough, they can get it themselves. I'm sure you'll face push back but stay firm.

Check out my Facebook community and "like" my page -- Get Real Fitness Solutions www.facebook.com/pages/Get-Real-Fitn
ess-Solutions/748399768519937
MICHELLE73101's Photo MICHELLE73101 Posts: 289
4/3/14 4:54 P

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Oh I've got some for you!

This one fed a whole team of full-grown, hungry athletes in training camp for less than a couple dollars each. Plus you can modify it for taste preferences very easily, AND it's easy to make extra and save for quick meals throughout the week:
findingyourfitplace.com/2014/02/18/recipe-
team-dinner-pasta-with-mushrooms-spina
ch-chicken-tomatoes/


And you can't beat these baked sweet potato fries for health, ease, and yumminess... all in one inexpensive, simple recipe:
findingyourfitplace.com/2014/01/19/recipe-
baked-sweet-potato-fries/


Check out my Website and Blog for a complete guide to finding the Fit Life: Diet, Exercise, Inspiration and some of my best tips and tricks.

Fitness Found:
findingyourfitplace.com/


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ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/3/14 4:35 P

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Yes, that's a great idea. I try to do the same thing--don't know what we'd do without leftovers! :) They are great the next day.

CAROLE7001 SparkPoints: (518)
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4/3/14 3:17 P

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I make most of our meals to last for 2 meals. We either eat it the next day or I freeze it.



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DEEKSTER SparkPoints: (11,813)
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4/3/14 2:54 P

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I love shopping the farmers market. Check your grocery ads, there is always produce on sale at the grocery store and you can freeze it. I also buy my beans dry in the bulk bins. It is cheaper but requires a little planning because they need to be soaked.

ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/2/14 11:37 P

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Eggs are cheap, and bananas,,,,both nutrient packed

MCMASTER1205's Photo MCMASTER1205 Posts: 18
4/2/14 2:01 P

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Thanks for sharing - what a great website!!
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MOMMAKATMARY's Photo MOMMAKATMARY SparkPoints: (1,374)
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4/2/14 12:46 P

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I like the Dreamfields pasta. Its something good to splurge on. Its about $1.99-$2.30 a package,but at 5 g of carbs per serving, its awesome when you have a craving for pasta, and are trying to eat less carbs.

also, if you want to make bread,buy yeast bulk and keep it in the freezer. it will keep indefinitely. I make my grandma's rolls and have to buy the yeast and flour in bulk. I can buy a good sized bag of yeast for $2.50, and that does me for a very long time. I store my yeast in a mason jar in the freezer and 2.5 teaspoons is the equivalent of 1 package of yeast.

Edited by: MOMMAKATMARY at: 4/2/2014 (12:53)

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AMBROSIAHINO's Photo AMBROSIAHINO Posts: 323
4/2/14 9:17 A

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I buy plain greek yogurt in the large tubs and measure out a 4-oz serving in the mornings as part of my work lunch. I throw in about 2 Tbsp of jam/preserves for flavoring. That paired with a salad w/ homemade dressing is cheap, yummy, and nutritious.

Eggs are cheap. Scrambled, hard-boiled, baked into quiches/fritattas...almost endless possibilities.

Dried beans and lentils are cheap. Not sure about "easy" because I haven't managed to get them to really come out right (still kinda dry inside) but I think that's a practice thing.

Potatoes are cheap and nutritious. Baked, roasted, mashed, etc. Baked potato with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream...yum! Some fat helps you absorb the vitamins & stuff better, just don't overdo it.

Watch sales for fresh/frozen/canned veggies. Just rinse the canned stuff to remove some of the extra sodium.

Spices - I like shopping the ethnic section at Wal-Mart for spices, they seem to be much cheaper. Warning, you need to have your own containers at home, because they're mostly in plastic bags, not bottles or jars. I save & wash old spice jars as I empty them. I mostly make my own seasoning mixes now, they're easy & I can control what's in it.

Bread - I don't buy much bread, and when I do, its the pricier stuff. But I freeze it and only pull out what is needed. It can take us a over a month to go thru one loaf. Plain pastas & rice are also cheap, and really easy to either flavor or add to other recipes.

Once you have some kind of protein, some veggies, and some spices, your possibilities are almost endless. I like the suggestions about cooking a whole chicken/beef roast one night for dinner, and then doing something different with leftovers the next night, then make soup from it the 3rd night.

Chili, spaghetti, tacos, breakfast-for-dinner...all cheap options, and depending on what you throw in, really healthy as well. We tend to cook up about a week's worth of meat on the grill (hamburger patties, chicken, pork chops) and throw together simple plates with some quick sides throughout the week. Learn to use/love your slow-cooker. Cooking overnight or while you're at work during the day makes dinner easy AND it lets you get the super-cheap, tough cuts of meat and make them tender and delicious.

Also, try taking new veggies and wrapping/cooking with bacon. Who doesn't love bacon? Once the kids have decided that the new veggie isn't gross (thank you, bacon) you can try other prep methods. My 3-year old is all about trying anything that's on Mommy's plate that looks good (or that I look like I'm enjoying). Including the turkey burger with raw spinach.

Amber and Wayne
Together in 2005, married since 2007

Eric Daniel born 10/17/2010

Baby #2
due 11/25/2014


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MOMOFTEENS1966 SparkPoints: (61,243)
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4/2/14 1:42 A

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tacos - With real corn tortillas (soft), beans, and veggies, with grilled chicken.



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JDGEE2 Posts: 3
4/2/14 1:27 A

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To each his (or her) own, but most folks would benefit more by cutting out all sugars, bread and pasta included.

Don't worry... Be happy!
MSBOOTCAMP's Photo MSBOOTCAMP SparkPoints: (69,371)
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4/2/14 12:24 A

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I know it's not for everyone, but cutting down on animal protein - or totally cutting it out of your diet - will save you a TON of money. Some people just start with one meatless day each week. More people are doing what's called "Meatless Mondays"!

MsBootcamp

"The most effective fitness workout is the one you do!"

"In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a different body"- Joseph Pilates, on his training method

30 to 90 mins of cardio and strength/resistance, 5 days/wk

Dr-supervised Bio Hormone Therapy + Nutrition + Sleep + Stress Mgmt might start to = Fitness (partly borrowed from Fitness on the Run, Alexandria, VA USA)


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ACHANSO's Photo ACHANSO Posts: 960
4/2/14 12:16 A

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I love to shop at Aldis. They have great produce prices.

Also, quick cooking oatmeal from a large container, not little packets, is very cost effective.

And canned fruits and beans are a good way to go also.


NOBLEEQUESTRIAN's Photo NOBLEEQUESTRIAN SparkPoints: (5,321)
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4/1/14 10:48 P

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My easy college meals include:

Greek Yogurt mixed with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and honey. It's a 1-2$ meal packed full of about 20-30grams of protein! This large amount of protein keeps you full for a long time. Plus this recipe can also act like a fruit dip (for apples or other fruits).

Oatmeal with raisins. Both very cheap and can be bought in bulk to be stored for a long time.

Whole wheat pasta with sauce of your choice. Frozen spinach is really cheap and you can fry it into your pasta.

Veggie stew (with the liquid drained) poured on rice. Or you can use frozen veggies heated up/friend and put on rice. Rice is extremely cheap (3$ for a giant bag!)





BROADBRUSH's Photo BROADBRUSH Posts: 1,806
4/1/14 2:12 P

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foods such as eggs, beans, onsale fruits, skim milk powder, are cheap, complete and many different meal combos can be made.
also sale rack veggies/fruits which can be blanched and frozen for later. just be sure to check that they have not begun to spoil or rot.
i have managed to get great deals on lemons and limes- i use the zest - freeze in bags, squeeze the juice and either freeze for later baking or drinks etc.
buy meats on sale as suggested in other posts - cheaper cuts go well in crock pot dishes and casseroles.
scour the sale papers for loss leaders and buy the limit they put out.
you can manage quite well.




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KNOTARY1 Posts: 88
3/31/14 1:46 P

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when you see boneless skinless chicken breast for 2$ a lb stock up on it and freeze what you wont be using in the next 3 days. chicken breast has about 20 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat for 3 ounces. the frozen bags of chicken breast can be a good deal I usually find them for 2.30 a pound but because it is made with up to a 15% solution when it thawed and cooked 2 pound becomes 1 pound where 2 pounds of the normal packaged chicken breast is cooked it becomes about 1.5 pounds.

some times the chicken is 2$ a pound and some times it can be 4$ a pound so stock up on it when it is a good price. Also if the pieces are huge cut them down into about 3 ounce pieces so they will cook quickly with out scorching your pan.



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HOPCOM5 Posts: 1
3/31/14 11:58 A

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Great topic! I am always trying to figure out low-cost healthy meals. Thank you! Thank you!

NBTEACH's Photo NBTEACH Posts: 8
3/31/14 9:39 A

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Thanks for the link, Algebragirl! This site has a great selection of choices and is easy to use :)

Edited by: NBTEACH at: 3/31/2014 (09:39)
Slow and steady wins the race :)


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WOODSYLIBERAL Posts: 19
3/31/14 4:25 A

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I will get a charity turkey basket for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. Roasting a turkey helps heat the house, and a turkey lasts a long time. You can get a lot of meals from one turkey. I live in Wisconsin where the Winters are usually cold enough to store the extra turkey on the patio if I don't have room in the freezer for two turkeys. I will also store winter squash under the sink, where it lasts until March. Winter squash is easy to microwave and you can season it a lot of different ways. Just pick through the squash now and then to remove the rotting squash. Any root crop stores well through the Winter too. Local hunters donate venison to the local food pantries, where it is tested for chronic wasting disease before it is distributed. Many folks donate fresh garden produce to the food pantries in the Summer. Buy whatever meat is on sale and plan your menu around that cut.



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GENRE009's Photo GENRE009 SparkPoints: (22,958)
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3/31/14 1:23 A

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I think making homemade soup is the healthiest, and cheapest meal you can make. also making refried-non fat bean & putting it on a corn tosida, and putting salsa on it is very good. just don't add cheese.

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,759
3/30/14 12:15 P

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Wow - reading the posts here, I found this to be an amazing collection of low-cost recipes:

www.5dollardinners.com/recipes/

I really like the way the categories are divided up - there's even 'soy,dairy and gluten-free'!

Thanks for the link, Buffliece!

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 3/30/2014 (12:16)
KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,408
3/29/14 7:30 P

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KRS... I haven't been caught up to date for a few days but came across your question and don't see that anyone has answered - if I understand you correctly you want to find the calorie count for the meals. If I've misunderstood, then the following information is old hat and not what you need to know - hopefully this will be useful to you: Go to "My Trackers" at the top of the screen and select "Nutrition" and you will see a search area where you can search for the foods you ate and look up the nutritional values of each item. If you select the items you ate, and ask it to put it in your tracker, it will log it for you under the meal time you choose below the search area. When searching for an item look it over carefully - there are SP entries and entries by people like you and I and they are not all correct and in some cases the person who saved the information only wanted calories and didn't record the sodium and protein or whatever that you may need so if more than one option, look them all over until you find the one you want. If you can't find it, I go on the internet and look up "nutritional value of XYZ" and when it comes up, jot down all the values for the nutrients I track. I then go into the SP Nutrition Tracker page again and under "Search" select "create a new entry" (or some similar wording) and I fill out the form that pops up with the information I wrote down off the internet. I then save it to my favourites so it will be there next time I do a search. As you get familiar with this tracker, you can save things to a favourites file for easier searching in the future. I have saved a lot of foods in my favourites and to make things easier to find in the future I list all cookies under cookies, a dash, and then the name of the cookie and the size a single serving is. I list all pork under pork and others that I have multiple listings are the various kinds of meat, breads, salads, salad dressings, sauces, etc. If you are preparing a casserole or multi food item for a meal, you can go into "Recipes" and calculate the nutritional value of everything in the recipe and then indicate how many people it serves and it will tell you the nutritional value for a single serving. You can then save this to your favourites files to use again another day or to a recipe book you could create. Also, if you have the same thing for lunch today as yesterday, you can go back a day and copy that lunch and it will put it wherever you tell it to - saves you looking up each item again. This also works in the Group option under Search where you may have the same combination of foods every time you eat something so you can enter all the foods and name the group and next time you have that combo, go to groups and it will plop all of them in again so you don't have to look each item up individually again.

Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 30 back!


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HADLEY123's Photo HADLEY123 SparkPoints: (15,667)
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3/29/14 7:34 A

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For my picky eater, I have her sit with me once a week for a meal planning meeting. We agree on 6 dinners and I make up my shopping list. I've trained her to get it on the list or wait until next week. For me, walking into the grocery store for that one thing that wasn't on the list invariably adds up to another $35 so I dig in my heels and wait until the next week's shopping day. I have had to make bread on the fly when I forgot to put it on the list though. LOL

I have my meal plan down to a formula. Every week we make a home made pizza, tacos with home made refried beans, a home made soup, a pasta, a rice and a casserole. We plan for a leftovers buffet once a week too. After leftovers night, I box up the remaining soup into individual portion containers and put them in the freezer for "instant" soup.

I don't personally buy, cook or eat meat so I use a lot of beans. I buy them dry and soak/cook them then portion them into snack bags and bundle the snack bags into a large freezer bag and freeze them for later use.

I use my bread machine and my slow cooker A LOT to save time and money. Pizza can be made from ingredients in my pantry in an hour and a half for pennies. I also buy my milk at a discount directly from the dairy farmer in my area and save by eliminating the middle men in the dairy business. That allows me to make my yogurt and cheese for very little cost. I recognize that's rather extreme but quality is really important to me and so is cost.

Some nights my daughter makes herself a sandwich or pulls out some leftovers but overall the system works for me.



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WATCHMECANCAN's Photo WATCHMECANCAN Posts: 52
3/28/14 6:03 P

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One more:
Pancakes are easy to make from scratch and way cheaper with less sugar. I always make extra and freeze them in a baggie. You can get just one or two out and pop them in the microwave or toaster for a quick breakfast. Instead of syrup try a little yogurt and some fruit.

My mom always bought whole milk and watered it down. Apparently she did this over time so we would get used to the taste and not notice. It must have worked because for the longest time, I never knew...



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FITNESSFOODIE's Photo FITNESSFOODIE Posts: 3,340
3/28/14 5:58 P

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I was just checking out how many people make their own bread. I love making bread but not as a money saver because the time it takes really makes it more about the quality for me. We have actually eliminated a lot of store bought bread products and save up for the weekends when I might make one specialty item. Last weekend was an amazing French banana bread recipe. DH has been portioning it out and he ate the last today for breakfast. If I happen to visit a fabulous bakery that will substitute my own, really it's more about quality. Store bought breads tend to be more empty calories than nutrition, and due to the cost, worth considering cutting down.

Karen - Seacoast New Hampshire

Do or Do Not. There is No Try. Yoda



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WATCHMECANCAN's Photo WATCHMECANCAN Posts: 52
3/28/14 5:56 P

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For main dishes, stick to single servings per person and round out the plate with more fresh or frozen veggies. Any dish I make with ground beef, I buy either ground sirloin or ground round. It costs more per pound but once cooked it will yield almost twice as much as ground beef so it is a better bargain in the long run. Also, meat tends to be the most expensive product these days so stick to single servings per person.

I will catch some flack for this but sometimes your budget and time calls for Hamburger Helper or the store brand equivalent. Yes, they do tend to be high in sodium and other stuff you don't need but at about a buck a box and made with 1/2 lb of ground sirloin or ground round and served with a double portion of vegetables, you can make dinner for under $5.00. Just make sure to measure the serving size. (My DH is quickly learning that he doesn't get a whole box to himself but he has stopped complaining as there is plenty of better-for-you stuff to round out the plate. lol)

Bulk pasta or rice mixed with tuna and a can or 2 of low sodium cream of chicken or mushroom soup and some cheese on top makes for quick tuna casserole. Add in veggies your kids will eat and you will have dinner and leftovers for lunch.

Lots of great ideas here. Some I already use and some I will be incorporating.



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FITNESSFOODIE's Photo FITNESSFOODIE Posts: 3,340
3/28/14 5:53 P

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I make a lot of soups with beans and veggies. Every ethnic menu has some variations. My husband is really into a 15 bean Italian soup with kale. The beans are $2, the kale is $2, then there is onion, carrot, celery, a can of tomatoes $.89 and seasoning which comes with the dried beans. And water. $6 makes an easy 12 servings of hearty soup. Great for lunch with a sandwich or salad, or just by itself. Also a filling snack in cold weather.

One of my faves is Thai Hot and Sour Soup. Chicken broth, water, light tofu, dried mushrooms reconstituted, 6 jalapenos (I always get them on clearance - $2 for a bag of 10) scallions 2/$1 and the Asian seasoning you have on hand, maybe even leftover from takeout. Plus any veggies laying around and getting wrinkly you can toss in - just about. And this one cooks FAST. Buy a grocery package of veggie dumplings to share (2 or 3 per person) and dinner is on the table.

Karen - Seacoast New Hampshire

Do or Do Not. There is No Try. Yoda



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SOFT_VAL67's Photo SOFT_VAL67 Posts: 2,459
3/28/14 1:10 P

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spend just a little more on a bigger cut of meat, or buy a bigger whole chicken. you can make 2 or maybe 3 meals out of it.
according to how many you have to feed, this works for me as there are only 2.
a chicken in the crock pot will make chicken and rice one night.
a big bag of frozen veggies or canned veggies, the next night, chicken stew.
cut off one breast and chop up and make chicken salad sandwiches or, a small lunch sized chicken salad.

ALIAKAIS SparkPoints: (3,405)
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3/27/14 8:34 P

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Veggies, beans, eggs, whole foods in general tend to be really cheap. I'd check out The Great Vegan Bean Book and Vegetarian cooking for everyone...because of how expensive meat is, beans provide a much cheaper per-lb protein source, especially if you cook up dried beans with a slow cooker or pressure cooker. I'm not trying to convert you, but for years before I went veg I ate veg 2-5 times a week as a money saving strategy.

Each day I am grateful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, dreams that turned into reality and likes that turned into love.


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DALLAS_HILL's Photo DALLAS_HILL SparkPoints: (11,757)
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3/27/14 8:26 P

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Swap prep time for convenience. and organize that prep time, including having kids help. Buying and cooking with whole foods gives you control over what goes in your meals.
On the bread making, just make dough a little wetter and make a big batch; it keeps in the refrig for a week or more and just pull off what you need. Great for making pizzas. Get a rectangular storage container to save space in fridge.
I've used the slow cooker to make breakfast; hot cereal with a mixture of grains, cut the fruit up the night before and kids add what they want (rest goes into lunches). Saves a few crucial minutes at breakfast.
If your kids are picky eaters, make up a large batch of what they like, freeze individual portions, and they pick what they want (and mike it themselves).

A man's errors are his portals of discovery - James Joyce


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WOODSYCHICK Posts: 75
3/27/14 2:40 P

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I know you want meal ideas but here are some general ways to save on food shopping, which will cause you to only make cheap healthy meals:



Avoid supermarkets as much as possible.
Only buy meat when it's on sale, and eat a lot less meat.
Build up your dry goods pantry to include lentils, beans, barley and dried peas. Buy large quantities of these items as they are handy to throw into a soup or to 'bulk up' meals that have less meat than before.
Buy from farmer's markets and produce specialty stores.
Don't buy bread . . . make it.
Hunt, fish and forage or makes friends with those who do.
Cook in bulk and freeze freeze freeze.
Join a produce co-op or harvest box program.




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SWEETLILBLUEYES's Photo SWEETLILBLUEYES SparkPoints: (14,841)
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3/27/14 12:42 P

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Cook for your family in bulk. large pots of soup, heavy on the vegi's. Make home made stock. Buy soup bones or boiling beef or chicken necks and backs to make the stock. Very nutritious and cheap for the number of meals you get. Throw in some barley or brown rice, or whole wheat pasta or potatoes if you want more carbs in them. Use the spark recipe builder to determine your nutrient content and calories.

One day at a time.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal.
It is the courage to continue that matters!'


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KRSS60's Photo KRSS60 Posts: 618
3/27/14 9:02 A

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Where do you get the calorie count. For the meals. I didn't see them anywhere



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MARTHA324's Photo MARTHA324 SparkPoints: (29,389)
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3/26/14 8:12 P

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One of the best investments i made was for a slow cooker. They aren't expensive and you can make a BIG pot of stew or soup that is very economical. Check out cookinglight.com or vegetariantimes.com for healthy recipes. I'm sure spark people has them too.



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BRONHI's Photo BRONHI Posts: 385
3/26/14 7:35 P

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I've found some great recipes at www.budgetbytes.com/. All the recipes are simple, I mean if I can make them without screwing it up I call it simple emoticon . Some recipes are healthier than others but I make healthy substitutions in those cases (brown rice instead of white, etc.)

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle


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DAWNMD77 SparkPoints: (316)
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3/26/14 7:19 A

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If you have an Aldi store near you, it is worth checking out. They have frozen meats that can be cheap at times. Stick to the freezer. They have frozen turkey in one pound tubes, individual chicken breasts and lots of other options.
They don't have too many name brands. Mostly generic stuff including cereals. Millville is made in Lancaster, Ohio at Ralston Foods by my dad. It is good stuff. They just quit making Ralston brand because the generic made them more money and no advertising. I started going there when the kids were little. The store is small and kept the whining to a minimum because there wasn't too many things to ignite the begging.
Remember that you are the mom. If you don't buy food that has no nutrition, they won't eat it. Buy only what will supply nutrition because that is the best value.
If you have serious trouble affording food, you can apply for food stamps and ask for help from local food pantries.

BIBIANAB SparkPoints: (10,576)
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3/26/14 2:15 A

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A lot of kids want what they see on TV, but it is not real food. Fresh veggies and fruit, chicken, turkey with occasional beef or port roast. Stretch with pasta, rice,potatoes and more veggies and fruit. My kids ate what I put in front of them or didn't, but I would not let them have anything else let alone cook something else for them. Life lessons.



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ANNILLY's Photo ANNILLY SparkPoints: (16,641)
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3/25/14 8:49 P

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I make hummus with garlic, garbanzo beans, water, and tahini. It's way cheaper than buying it, and can be used over rice or as a dip for veggies. Just dump everything into a food-processor and go.

"Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose." Lyndon Johnson


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TBOURLON's Photo TBOURLON SparkPoints: (10,393)
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3/25/14 2:39 P

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Do you work? If so, I assume the 1-year-old goes to daycare - do they provide meals? I also assume the 6-year-old is in school, where you should be able to get lunch assistance. There's no shame in that, you're a taxpayer, too! Anyway, if this is the case then most days you only have to think about dinner. Here's my suggestion: ground turkey instead of ground beef. It's usually cheaper AND lower in fat. Also, chicken thighs & drumsticks will also be cheaper than chicken breast, a little higher in fat but if you bake in the oven instead of fry that will make up for it. There are TONS of recipes on SparkPeople for chicken and ground beef/turkey. Frozen veggies are a terrific moneysaver, and usually just as good as fresh. Now, since there are three of you go ahead and make a recipe that serves 4, and package the leftovers to take to work with you the next day. I almost never eat out for lunch, and making my own TV dinners out of leftovers keeps me from wasting so much food, something I really hate! Happy eating! emoticon



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STLCARDSFANS05's Photo STLCARDSFANS05 Posts: 916
3/25/14 10:39 A

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farmers markets are starting to come back around for the season.

also...hunting and fishing (or getting proteins from those who do) are the ultimate organics



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SHKIRK Posts: 1,168
3/24/14 4:18 P

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On the nights you are serving something a kid doesn't like have them make something simple like PB&J sandwich for themselves.



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FRIDENS's Photo FRIDENS Posts: 17
3/24/14 2:32 P

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I think my biggest problem with eating healthy and staying in budget is my picky kids. It seems there is never a night I cook that at least one of my kids doesn't decide they don't like what I make. My oldest doesn't like very many pastas. My youngest doesn't like Hamburger meat or Mac and Cheese or much of anything.. Just the idea of having to make different things for everyone is exhausting and expensive. But I get tired of eating the same things all the time.



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KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,408
3/24/14 10:33 A

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this is my first comment here - I found the Topic on the SP side bar of my computer. As I re-read what I've written I realize this is much longer than I like for a message but the information I have provided might be helpful to someone who doesn't have a lot of experience when shopping.

I live in Peterborough, ON in Canada. Almost all of the grocery stores in the City, and I think Province-wide, price share - if you find a price cheaper elsewhere, they will match it. A couple of stores do not do this but for those that do, it makes shopping a lot faster and cheaper. I go thru the flyers on Thurs. night and make a list of items on sale in the various stores noting the price. I only list sale items that we could soon and would use. After my list is made up of the sale items, I add any items I know I need to the list I've been adding to all week. On shopping day (usually Fri pm, or Sat/Sun am) I review the lists to decide which store to go to. I either choose the store with the most sale items I want or the one I most like for overall cheapest prices yet nice produce and meat selections. We leave the house with my list and all the food sale flyers with the items I intend to purchase marked. At the store I divide my cart into 2 sections - items I'm buying regardless of sales, and items that are on sale in stores other than the one I'm shopping in. At the till, we put up our groceries leaving a small space between the 2 types of purchases and when the clerk reaches the out of store sale items, they ring them in after a brief verifying glance at the approp. sales flyer. If you are buying these items, you have to make sure you are buying the same brand and size as the sale items. For eg. you can't buy house brand water where you are shopping and asking for the sale price of someone else's house brand of water; but you can buy any brand of an item if your store has the same brand and size of item. There are so many varieties and cuts of meat that I go to the meat counter and have an employee there check the flyer with me and go through the meat department to see if there is a comparable tray of chops or roast or whatever that they will mark with the other's store price for the clerk at the till to ring through. Some stores stock the same brands of items but in different sizes and you therefore can't compare because they aren't the same but the ones that match far outweigh the others. We can save anywhere from $2 a trip to $20 a trip.

We also try to buy produce that is both local and in-season as it is usually cheaper than others - but you have to watch because that isn't always the case. We can't always get what we want or need but do it as much as possible. We also buy bulk sizes which are usually cheaper per pound than the smaller sizes but only if what's available in bulk is what we want or need and what we can use up before it's due date. If it's meat, I cook the whole package up and freeze it in portion size baggies. You save when you buy the bulk size of such things in the purchase price but by bulk cooking you also save in the hydro used to cook it. If I'm roasting a large pan of chicken breasts I will roast a second large pan of pork loin or fish or whatever so that several meals worth of meat are cooked with the hydro and time it takes to cook a single meal. I undercook such meat so that when it is reheated it does not overcook or dry out. I will also buy a roast on sale and cut it into meal sized portions of steaks or chops if it is a cheaper price than buying it pre-cut. I will buy cheaper blocks of cheese and do my own grating rather than buying pre-grated. Although the next bit is not so much about cheap budget healthy meals, the money I save doing the following, I can apply towards the purchase of more produce and dairy. For eg, if it's cleaning supplies I'm buying in bulk, I keep the oversized container in my laundry room and keep refilling a normally used sized bottle filled up from that for everyday use. I pretty much always have bleach, liquid and sheet fabric softeners, stain removal products, carpet cleaning products, vinegar, dish soap, window washing fluid, shampoo, conditioner, shower cleaner, and other cleaning products. Some of such items now come highly concentrated so I thin it out when putting it in the every day use sized bottles - it has come to my attention that offspring and husbands don't usually notice that they are to use much less when a product is highly concentrated and if it's not thinned out for them, you end up spending more than twice as much, not to mention harming whatever it is you are using the concentrated item on. In this case, more is not always better and until or unless they become responsible for the purchase of these items and the replacement of those they ruin, they don't care enough to change their ways - grrrrr. I wish more manufacturers would package their goods in refill packages that you use to refill the existing bottle of the same at home so that you don't throw away the original dispenser, or workable part of the bottle such as a trigger, each time and have to keep replacing it - which is good for the environment. Such refill packages are normally sold at a cheaper price because they are cheaper to manufacture and if they are not sold that way, you are still helping to save the environment but I dash off a note of censure to the manufacturer through their website about bilking their consumers.

Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 30 back!


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NANNAMANDY's Photo NANNAMANDY SparkPoints: (15,882)
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3/23/14 7:07 P

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I was a single mum with 4 kids, 2 girls and 2 boys. They are all now grown some with children of their own. We also had a tight budget. Two of our mainstays were spaghetti Bolognese made with ground beef( The better kind) and Tuna casserole. I used to add frozen mixed vegetables to both, It was a good way of incorporating vegetables and it bulked out the meal. Pasta is a great carb for the kids and you can reduce the amount of pasta for yourself.


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MBRANDO's Photo MBRANDO SparkPoints: (46,328)
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3/23/14 3:37 P

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Brown rice is pretty cheap and you can flavor it however you want.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Ghandi



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KASSANDRA55's Photo KASSANDRA55 Posts: 114
3/23/14 2:42 P

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They aren't available in every area, but look online at bountifulbaskets.org They are a co-op that helps save major money on your produce. You contribute weekly or bi weekly or just when you need to and it is usually about 15-20 dollars. They go use the money and buy bulk produce and you pick it up later. Here we get about $50 in produce usually. You can alos purchase add-ons...bread, grain, bulk beans, whatever is available (this week they had add on strawberries, bread, (9 grain) strawberries, asparagus and oranges. The baskets were strawberries, apples, pears, a pineapple, tomatoes and banana; red lettuce, Bok Choy, a bag of potatoes, red peppers, celery, mushrooms and one other thing I forget.

You are saving at least 35 dollars (more in our area as produce is sky high.)\ You can order up to 3 baskets. You could team up with others and split it up if you don't like something, or donate it to a food back or church basket, or just give it to someone else picking up!

It is available here in Colorado and in several neighboring states.

Kimberlee Andrews
Grand Jct Colorado
kimberleeandrews699@hotmail.com
Ravelry: Kassandra55


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ALICIA363's Photo ALICIA363 SparkPoints: (24,235)
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3/23/14 7:49 A

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emoticon , BUFFLIECE!

The video brought back memories--my mom made that ripe-banana "ice cream" (she called it sherbet)!



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BUFFLIECE's Photo BUFFLIECE Posts: 512
3/23/14 1:03 A

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I've tried the lentil casserole from www.5dollardinners.com. Most of the recipes have at least 4 servings.

And... I love this video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULLSKPoPYLc

Hope these help!

Thanks for Listenin'



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3/22/14 10:33 P

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Great idea, KENDILYNN!
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3/22/14 7:12 P

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My kids' favorite meal is random (healthy) things on a plate. It's great for those lazy nights when I'm not up for cooking, which is mostly when hubby is our of town. I also like that it makes them think critically about their food choices. They know they need to pick one protein (usually cottage cheese, yogurt, leftover chicken chunks, edamame, beans), no more than one starch (crackers, bread, tortilla), one fruit and one or more vegetables (usually raw). So dinner for one might be garbanzo beans, apple slices with yogurt to dip, carrot sticks and snap peas. The other might choose leftover chicken, applesauce, triscuits and salad. But I'm not actually cooking anything, so I don't feel like a short-order cook.



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RKTHETEXGAL's Photo RKTHETEXGAL SparkPoints: (25,286)
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3/22/14 6:56 P

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I always buy fresh and frozen veggies/fruits. Which ever is the best price that week. (You can get a bag of frozen corn, peas, green beans,etc cheap.)
Any of our veg scraps get tossed into baggies in the freezer for vegetable stock later on when I have enough scraps for a big batch. Another idea...buy whole raw chicken, it is cheaper that way and makes at least 2-3 meals. Oh and save those bones! Refrigerate or freeze and when you have time boil them in a large pot of water, with herbs/spices you like, to make chicken stock. You can do this with ham or beef bones too. It will make a wonderful soup/stew base or just use it to cook up pasta for added flavor in the noodles!
Also, get the local ads for any stores around you. Shop the sales and maybe make a habit of getting the Sunday paper for coupons. Your 6 year old could even help clip/sort them. You'd be surprised at what you can get things for with coupons. Oh and if you have a dollar tree store close by, check there for the Sunday paper for just a buck!

RK- - - - -

It may only be one step, measuring mere inches, but it IS a measurable amount of movement that is aimed in the right direction. Remember this the next time you feel you've not done enough and get discouraged. ~Me


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GORDON66 Posts: 1,127
3/22/14 5:39 P

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Beans, beans, and more beans, and dried beans are less expensive than those in the can. My store has a bruised and reduced rack, and what's available often dictates what dish I make. When preparing vegetables, I keep the scraps in a freezer bag and than use them to make broth. This is also useful to keep your sodium intake in check.



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NICKYCRANE's Photo NICKYCRANE SparkPoints: (67,396)
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3/22/14 5:37 P

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Green smoothie as suggested by SP. My basic recipe is I cup yogurt, 2 cups fresh raw spinach, which doesnt taste, I tbsp flAx seed, I apple, I orange, with much of the peel, I banana, all liquidised and then drunk as snacks through the day. I sometimes pour it over all bran and top it with strained yogurt for breakfast or supper. If I have no spinach, I have used carrots or zucchinininstead. I was using this for a couple of weeks and lost weight. Now I am away from home. Another time I mightntake a magic bullet with me. The greatnthing about this smoothie is thatnit gets in 2 portions of veg. And is sweet without added sweetener.



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ALICIA363's Photo ALICIA363 SparkPoints: (24,235)
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3/22/14 4:44 P

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Simple snacks: peanut butter crackers--mom put peanut butter between two saltines; graham crackers and milk; apples or carrots

Milk, saltine crackers, bread and butter (margarine) were always on hand.

I agree with the chili for a great budget stretcher! We ate that a lot, too.



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3/22/14 4:40 P

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and bananas!
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3/22/14 4:39 P

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Growing up, our family budget was tight. I remember:
Simple breakfasts: Cereal and milk, oatmeal, every kind of egg--fried, scrambled, over-easy, soft-boiled, hard-boiled
I've learned to sweeten and cool oatmeal with refrigerated applesauce (natural/no sugar added)
Simple lunches: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup; tuna salad sandwiches (with cheese was a real treat); peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter and mayonnaise (actually Miracle Whip) sandwiches--eeww now, but my favorite then; carrot sticks and celery sticks and apples on the side, grapes were a treat
Family dinner: 1/4 of the plate was meat/main dish, 1/4 of the plate was starch (usually potatoes or corn) 1 or two canned vegetables made up the rest of the plate
Lots of canned vegetables, bought in bulk on sale--my sister and I took turns getting to "choose the vegetable(s) for dinner"
Frequent potatoes--baked, mashed, scalloped
Breakfast for dinner about once a week--usually pancakes or French toast
Beef roast one night, roast beef sandwiches the next, stew the following day (a lot like the chicken sequence described earlier)
AND ... if we didn't like what was served, we could eat bread and butter. Mom bought loaves of bread from the day-old store and froze them, thawing out what we needed as we went along.
Hope something's useful there, and you have time to gather tips from this board that work for you!



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NEARLYNINA's Photo NEARLYNINA Posts: 40
3/22/14 3:39 P

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So my previous comment was MASSIVE, but I didn't include any actual meal ideas yet so I'll put them here! These are things I eat pretty regularly/ate as a child.

Suppers:

Shepard's pie (easy three base ingredient meal = ground beef, mashed potatoes, creamed corn). This is not that difficult to make and easy to save for leftovers that you can mix up to soften and then reheat in the microwave. I just recently stopped peeling my potatoes and while that makes it a bit more work to mash they are more nutritious that way and actually way tastier. Besides that little extra mashing to get them smooth will work out your arm muscles! emoticon I keep any extra veggies on the side rather than "hiding" them inside the pie itself. Kid's aren't stupid they know they're in there!

Spaghetti (another 3 base ingredient meal = sauce, pasta, protein) I grew up eating this with ground beef, but you can get creative and substitute ground turkey (I personally HATE it), tofu (I find the texture of firm tofu to be off putting so I like to use soft and mix it into the sauce as it heats up which makes it practically unnoticeable), cottage cheese (I LOVE this and now that I think of it am definitely having it for supper tonight), spicy Italian sausage with the casing peeled off and mushed up in the sauce. I've had homemade sauce with beans in it once and it was AMAZING but never got a recipe.

Chili! There are plenty of recipes out there to make it from scratch, but you can also use the spice packets available at the store and pasta sauce. I'd definitely suggest adding yellow pepper into it and lots of beans (I use chick peas and either kidney or black beans). Can be made vegan, or with ground beef, turkey or with a sausage with the casing taken off.

Soups! Vegetable soup, chicken/turkey soup, beef stew, lentil soup, black bean soup, squash soup, etc etc. I start off any type of soup I make with cooking up garlic, onions (red are pricier but so much more delicious), and mushrooms with a bit of olive oil which makes a delicious base that I can then add the water/bouillon cube to. I don't like a lot of salt, so I use much less bouillon than directed, sot the base helps to keep it flavourful.

Eggs are fabulous and can be eaten many different ways. My favorite way is to scramble mine in a pan with veggies, black beans, and a bit of cheese and then wrap them in a pita with a bit of salsa. Mmmm! Just last night I was making this and realized I was out of cheese and added in some about a tablespoon of cottage cheese and it was delicious!

Pita pizzas
These are easy and cheap to make and fun for kids to help with. All you need are small 6inch pitas then put sauce on them (or salsa for a spicy kick!) layer some mushrooms over the sauce (I also add a small minced garlic clove), then put the cheese (go crazy with the kinds, my favorite is some feta sprinkled on top of mozzarella when it goes on sale), and then you can go crazy with the veggie toppings: coloured peppers, red onion chopped small, more mushrooms, bits of leftover chicken or other meat, pineapple if you're into that.

Grains and veggies with protein: pick whatever you want and mix it with some other thing! Chicken and rice and veggies or lentils and quinoa and veggies or... My favouriite to make is quinoa with black beans, shrimp cooked with lemon juice and butter (I use a little $2 bag), tomato sauce heated up with an entire bag of spinach, and veggies galore. This lasts forever and is delicious warm or cold.

Lunches:

Tuna with chopped green pepper is delicious and economical/healthy. Another option is green apple. I don't particularly like this, but my youngest sister loves it!

Bean dip or hummus.

Chickpea spread! Take a can of chick peas (if you use canned you'll want to peel of the skins as they tend to harden I've found) or cooked ones and mash them or put them through the blender/processor. Mix in some mayonnaise to your preferred level of moistness and a bit of yellow mustard to taste. This is tangy and delicious and is even greater if you take baby carrots and finely grate them and layer them on top of the spread in a sandwich. My whole family loved this when I was a kid.

Salad. Forget the sad wilted iceberg. Green leaves with cucumber, peppers, carrots, radish, etc and beans (I love chickpeas best in salad), whole grain bowties and a chopped boiled egg. Now that's a salad!

Breakfast:

Forget the cold cereal! Oatmeal all the way. It's much healthier and cheaper and more filling. When I was a kid we'd have oatmeal in our bowls with milk, crushed walnuts, chopped green apples, and on special occasions maple syrup (real of course!). Now that I'm older I've come to love putting frozen bananas (I chop and freeze them myself) or berries (I like how it cools down the oatmeal), walnuts and wheat germ in.

Yogurt with delicious things added in is also a good option as are good old eggs.




The hardest thing for the soul to do is to stand up to its own weakness - Habib Ali Al Jifri

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any - Alice Walker



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LULUBELLE65's Photo LULUBELLE65 SparkPoints: (27,678)
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3/22/14 3:14 P

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The majority of the world lives on beans and rice. Different countries prepare them different ways, but lentils, black beans, and other pulses appear along with rice as the staple diet in South and Central America, India, etc. They are cheap, high protein and can be made all sorts of ways. If your son doesn't like the texture of lentils, try putting them in the blender to make dal, or thin them out to make lentil soup. Veggie chili is also an option.

Eggs are another high protein meal that is cheap and nutritious. You can make scrambled eggs, or find bread on sale and make an egg casserole or french toast. When I was a kid we had breakfast for dinner at least once a week because it was fast, cheap and kid-friendly.

On sale fruits can be frozen for smoothies.

Oatmeal is a great, inexpensive breakfast--much better for you than sugar cereal, and so much cheaper.

As someone else said, shop where the immigrants shop. There is bound to be a supermercado around, or an Asian grocery, and the prices are almost always better.

If you have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you with only one definite piece of information: french-fried potatoes are out. ~~Jean Kerr

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~~Anais Nin

Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks. ~~Marilyn Wann


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ANARIE's Photo ANARIE Posts: 12,462
3/22/14 2:40 P



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Google the name of your county and the words "cooperative extension service." Cooperative extension is a service of large public universities where they share information about agriculture and home economics, including nutrition science, with the general public. Any university that got land from the state in the 1930s has a couple of extension advisers. They give all sorts of programs and print booklets about exactly the kind of things you're looking for. They also have cooking and gardening classes, and they sponsor the 4-H clubs, which your son can join when he turns 7.

Also look for afterschool programs from the Y or Boys and Girls Club and so on. A six-year-old is old enough to start learning simple food preparation and basic nutrition. Both of your lives will be easier if he has some involvement and control in what he eats, at least for snacks. Then, if he doesn't like something you made, you can tell him, "Okay. You can make yourself a sandwich or scramble an egg. Just remember to wash your dishes." If you don't keep anything in the house that you don't want him to eat, he'll be fine. After about the third time, you'll see that he'll start to be much more willing to try what you made to save himself the work, but he'll still have the freedom and independence to take care of himself if he sincerely doesn't like the main meal. It's a win-win situation-- you'll end the battles at the dinner table without becoming a short-order cook, and it's good for a child's self-esteem and even his math and reading skills!



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NEARLYNINA's Photo NEARLYNINA Posts: 40
3/22/14 2:17 P

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A lot of this comes down to food knowledge and shopping skills which are horribly absent in common knowledge these days. Healthy food being more expensive is a misconception a lot of the time that comes from shady advertising and our lack of food awareness. Often "healthy" prepared meals or things like that are way pricier. Organic fruit and veggie foods, whole wheat pastas and breads, and fancy yogurts can be incredibly expensive, but are these actually good for us? And if so are there cheaper alternatives? A lot of this type of stuff is usually highly processed, additive filled junk that has a "healthy" buzz word added in. Words like probiotic, organic, multigrain, natural or whatever the superfood of the month is are often just misleading labels (food labeling standards are incredibly low which help companies fool consumers) that allow companies to raise the price of their products dramatically while not actually providing healthier food.

But don't despair! There are plenty of tricks you can use to beat the system and get nutritious and delicious foods for cheap. However, this is going to necessitate that you do your homework.

Perhaps the most important tip: Whole foods! Whole foods are something that many people don't have that much experience with anymore because we're so used to prepackaged prepared meals, semi-prepared meals, etc. Why do we buy prepackaged seasoned rice? Or pre-grated cheese? Or pre-chopped salad mixes? Because they're easier sure, but is that tiny modicum of ease really worth the bumped up price and lack of freshness? What other things do we buy like frozen french fries (including the fancy "healthy" sweet potato slices), pasta sauces, etc that can be made ourselves for much cheaper?

So, you definitely want to stock up on your basic staples: whole grain rice, pasta, grains (like quinoa or couscous etc), BEANS (buy dry and then soak them overnight in hot water and boil the next day. This can be done on the weekend etc and then frozen in small batches for smaller meals), veggies and fruits etc.

Think big: Why do we buy pre-chopped beef cubes for a stew? Buy a whole beef slice and chop it yourself (hint: kitchen scissors are great for cutting up raw meat just make sure you clean them well after). Buy an entire chicken instead of chicken parts (Where I live I can get 2 whole chickens for $10-12) and roast it in a pan and eat it with veggies and potatoes etc the first night. The next day you can tear off thin strips and have it in a sandwich or salad or just about anything. That night you can cook some rice and veggies and tear up the chicken into bits and put some soy sauce on and voila chicken and rice. The next day with the leftovers (including all the darker/stringier meats you wouldn't necessarily enjoy otherwise (don't forget to pick off all the meat on the bottom of the carcass)) you can make a hearty chicken soup with red potatoes (don't peel them!), turnip, cabbage, carrots, rice, onions, garlic, kale, green beans, and whatever else you have lying around.

Sales: Sale shopping is your friend if possibly a bit time consuming. For this to work it's important to know your prices! Oftentimes in the flyers there are OMG HUGE SALE advertisements that aren't actually sales/good prices, so you need to know how much you can expect to get something for (oftentimes certain grocers are cheaper than others or have certain things cheaper than others, but not other things). Generally I have one store where I get my basics/the majority of my groceries where they are the cheapest and then a few other places where I scan the flyers to check for legit sales. I usually also have rules based on prices. I won't buy cheese for more than $1 per 100g for example unless I can't find any on sale anywhere and can't wait for a sale. Tuna I won't buy for more than $1 a can and if I can find it cheaper I stock up.

Smaller stores: Often times the smaller the store the better the deal you can get, but be careful sometimes the opposite is true. In general canned and boxed goods will tend to run more expensive unless they have a sale, but produce, non-brand name and bulk items will be cheaper. In my experience you want to shop where the immigrants in your area shop not where the fancy health conscience shoppers do (funnily enough they often sell the exact same things, just with the prices jacked up in the fancy stores because most health craze items are just things that regular poor people have been eating forever i.e. quinoa, natural yogurt). There are generally (although depending where you live obviously) stores run by immigrant families/that cater to immigrant families. These can be a gold mine of cheaper food options and are more likely to have bulk options. One shop where I live literally has huge garbage bins filled with bulk beans, rice, popcorn kernels, etc that are way cheaper than anywhere else. The yogurt I buy is from a Canadian Arabic brand and is just natural plain yogurt (one ingredient!). I get my bread from a kosher bakery $2 a loaf instead of of $4 for processed and basically white bread with added fancyness but not whole grain nutrients.

Discounted items: The main big name grocery place near me I rarely shop at unless I need something like canned corn which is pricier everywhere else or they have a sale except for when I go looking through their discount racks (generally these are in the produce/bakery sections, but often there are meats as well). I get a lot of things that I would never buy full price there like different coloured peppers or the occasional baked pastry for 30-50% off that maybe expire in a few days or are a little wrinkled or bruised up. Oftentimes there are really old/ banged up bananas that I wouldn't eat regularly (I like my bananas slightly green still), but which are perfect for homemade banana bread.

They sell food there?: I actually buy a lot of my food at my local pharmaprix (shoppers drug mart for those outside Quebec). Eggs are almost always on sale there, as well as tuna, crackers, pasta, pasta sauce, chocolate milk (protein and a treat in one!), cottage cheese, sour cream, regular cheese, etc. What are some places near you that might sell food on the cheap? If you're Canadian or have one near by Dollarama's have some really cheap options as well. I get vegetable crackers there and they have a great multigrain bread there as well, raisin bread, pickles, mustard, and I just saw some salsa there that I'd like to try.

The hardest thing for the soul to do is to stand up to its own weakness - Habib Ali Al Jifri

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any - Alice Walker



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3/22/14 11:36 A

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Eggs
Well-drained canned vegetables (a lot of places right now have sales on canned veggies because its canned vegetable month)

Shop the circulars

Also, remember that it can take several attempts before young kids will like new foods so be persistent about it. Your son will eat whatever is in front of him if he is hungry so stick to planned meal times and have healthy snacks available.

www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=the
_10_commandments_of_healthy_eating_for
_parents


Finally, at 6 he's old enough to help you with basic meal prep like mixing things, or helping you measure. Cooking is a great way to teach skills like fractions and following directions.



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MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (7,112)
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3/22/14 11:25 A

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homemade soups
eggs
kale
chicken
produce sales
frozen veggie sales
bananas
tuna


I would use starches as a last filler if needed as they are very cheap: rice, beans, pasta, corn, potatoes oatmeal, etc.

sample meals:
B: 2 eggs
L: homemade vegetable soup, tuna salad
D: grilled chicken, cole slaw, green beans

Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 3/24/2014 (10:13)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16


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ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,759
3/22/14 11:22 A

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Eggs, rice, pasta - dress them all up with lots of vegetables.

KLONG0515 SparkPoints: (4,361)
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3/22/14 10:36 A

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im a single mom to two kids and on a very strict budget...anyone know of any healthy cheap meals. healthy food is seriously expensive these days and i need stuff that is yummy and not gross looking...with a 6 year old who is starting to use his sight for his appetite now its hard to find new stuff he will like. my one year old is like a garbage disposal and will eat anything but also need to it be kinda child friendly...easy to eat chew....thank you!!!!!

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