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TINA71268 Posts: 365
5/8/13 10:40 A

Bags of dried beans are so cheap and versatile. Full of fiber and protein, and yummy when cooked with some olive oil, garlic, etc. Great for soups, too.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
5/7/13 1:43 P

shop around and buy in season

ANARIE Posts: 13,200
5/7/13 12:06 P

One thing I think you're seeing in the replies is that you can always "think outside the box" and eat a more solid meal for breakfast. The American tradition of eating sweets and high-fat foods like bacon and biscuits, etc for breakfast actually started in the very early 20th century when one of our biggest public health issues was UNDERweight young people. Since that's not a problem anymore, think about other types of filling but low-calorie foods for breakfast. Soup is a good example-- it's a very common breakfast in other parts of the world, and it's a way to get some veggie servings first thing in the morning. Breakfast is also a good time to eat beans because you have all day to digest them-- less chance of the tummy issues some people get from beans. And if you start with dried, they're about the cheapest food you can get. Set up your slow-cooker at bedtime and you'll have perfectly-cooked beans all hot and ready for breakfast. (Canned beans are pretty cheap, too.) Make bean soup, or bean tacos with a little cheese or egg, or any of the wonderful Indian split-pea dishes (dal). Those have the added benefit of great antioxidants from the spices. Potatoes are cheap, too, sometimes as little as 10 cents a pound if you watch for a sale. A small microwave-baked potato with cottage cheese and your favorite seasonings is a great, fast meal with about the same calories as a bowl of cereal.

And if none of those things trips your trigger, plain oatmeal is practically free-- generic in a carton is 75 cents to a dollar a pound, and if you have a place that sells it in bulk, it sometimes goes on sale for 50 cents a pound. It's really good cooked with fruit, and you can use the fruit that's just a little too ripe to eat plain.

EBSHORT222 Posts: 486
5/7/13 9:51 A

For a mid afternoon pick me up, I do a banana burrito. I slice a large banana in half and put it on a low carb high fiber whole wheat tortilla with 1 TBS of natural peanut butter, then roll it up and put it in the fridge in the morning. By 3 o'clock it's cold and ready to go.

Edited by: EBSHORT222 at: 5/7/2013 (09:51)
5/7/13 9:32 A

Eggs, eggs, eggs! At about 20 cents a piece (at my market), they provide tons of nutrition on the dollar.

Another option for less costly fish, fruits and vegetables is ethnic markets. We have some Asian and Indian markets near us and the cost difference for fish and produce is significant. The fish may not be the haddock you're used to, but they'll work with you to find something you'd like. Also, in many other cultures people shop daily, so the produce is just about ready to eat. Don't stock up expecting it to last for a week. Just buy a couple of days' worth. Another benefit of the Asian markets is variety. I like trying the different types of produce than what's carried in my regular market.

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
5/7/13 9:08 A

you may also want to check out the farmers markets. The fruit and veggies are in season and not as expensive. I usually find our farmers markets cheaper than walmart, aldi, and meijer.

CARRIENIGN SparkPoints: (101,272)
Fitness Minutes: (85,633)
Posts: 493
5/7/13 4:09 A

I eat a lot of Greek yogurt, eggs, and tuna. I also buy chicken breasts in big quantities, which usually saves some money, too.

Do not waste your money on things like 100 calorie packs or other individual serving type packaging. Buy the large package of whatever it is you like and divide it yourself. It's crazy how much they inflate those types of products.

MARLENA31392 SparkPoints: (1,369)
Fitness Minutes: (1,311)
Posts: 12
5/6/13 10:46 P

thank you that was very helpful

MARLENA31392 SparkPoints: (1,369)
Fitness Minutes: (1,311)
Posts: 12
5/6/13 10:29 P

Thanks. Love the breakfast ideas.

KYLAR_STERN SparkPoints: (22,234)
Fitness Minutes: (23,806)
Posts: 1,053
5/6/13 8:30 P

Cheapest, quickest, healthiest breakfast: 2-3 eggs, 1/4 cup quick oats, splash of skim milk, seasonings or salsa to taste. Pop it in a microwave for 1:30-2 minutes on high and have it with a glass of milk or fruit. Step this up and think of it as an omelette in a bowl by adding diced onions, peppers, pre-cooked sausage, cheese... any thing you want or have sitting in the fridge.

A very cheap but healthy and filling lunch would be tuna salad. 12 oz can of tuna drained with half a can on beans and cut up 3 stalks celery and add a little of the light mayo made with olive oil to it with a bunch of dill weed and mix well. That makes two servings so I'll throw half in the fridge for next day (even quicker now) and add this to spinach or romaine salad.

Or you could ditch the beans and have it between two slices of 100% whole wheat toast for your carb.

BLOOGRL SparkPoints: (10,382)
Fitness Minutes: (2,093)
Posts: 381
5/6/13 8:19 P

For breakfast, I like to stick with light cereals. Either Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies, both with skim milk. (I'll drink any kind of milk, but this is lowest calorie and I just buy the cheapest store-brand milk). I've found that the same size large box of cereal is 1.20 cheaper at Target (regular price) than at my local Pick 'n Save. I also for lunch, enjoy lean pockets (these two cheap at Walmart). Careful not to eat a lot of them, although they're good caloric-wise, they're frozen, so obviously sodium-filled.

If I want some crunchings....goldfish (most flavors even, unless you're aiming for carb-conscious, not just calorie conscious) is low calorie. Also, so is fat free or even reduced fat Pringles. You could also get those pretty reasonable at Walmart...just make sure you're eating the serving sizes. You can usually get 15-16 pringles per serving and the goldfish is a 51 piece serving size (lol Idk why it's that extra "1" but it is). Anyway...those are some of the things I like snacking on. Otherwise I'm a huge fan of oranges for a snack as well.

I know that dinner time is your "family time" but...try to toss in a vegetable in every meal. They're very low in calorie most of the time and help fill you up. Also remember: the greener, the better. :) I go for the canned veggies, even though they're not AS good for you as fresh veggies...they're still really low in caloric-intake and MUCH cheaper than buying fresh. I'd head out to Walmart if I were you to shop or Aldis if there is one near you. It all depends on those taste buds

ELENGIL Posts: 957
5/6/13 6:40 P

"cheap" is going to depend on where you shop and what you want to eat.

I prefer eggs for breakfast. If you need more than just eggs, eggs or chicken wrapped in a tortilla with some avocado, salsa, and lettuce can be great for breakfast or lunch - but it depends on whether those ingredients are cheap where you're at. An omelet with lots of veggies is good for breakfast, too.

You can make faux taco salad using shredded or chopped lettuce, topped with refried beans and rice, onion, tomato and cheese. Wrap in a tortilla to be more portable if you need.

Rice and veggies makes a good stir fry; add some fish, chicken, or scrambled egg for some extra protein.

Refried beans and corn tortilla can be a good snack, or air popped popcorn, or even just some sliced veggies.

Tear kale up into bite-sized pieces, toss with a little olive oil and salt or pepper or other seasoning you enjoy, then bake on a cookie sheet for a very light snack.

Apple or other fruit with some cheese or nut butter can be a snack or light meal.

Ways to keep costs down can vary, but some good tips are buy bulk if you can for things that won't go bad. Buy frozen veggies if you can because they will keep. Buy fresh veggies on sale or in season when the price is low. Buy bulk instead of packaged if you have access to a grocery store with a good bulk selection. Spices and tea are very cheap this way, too! Where you can, make things instead of buying prepared items, which cost more due to prep and packaging.

Ultimately it comes down to what is cheap in your area and what you'd enjoy eating.

MARLENA31392 SparkPoints: (1,369)
Fitness Minutes: (1,311)
Posts: 12
5/6/13 6:24 P

Thanks will check them out. im a broke college student to:)

HUNNA13 Posts: 180
5/6/13 6:20 P

If you have an Aldi nearby you can buy a lot of fruits, veggies, and meat/dairy there for SUPER cheap. (broke college student advice!)

MARLENA31392 SparkPoints: (1,369)
Fitness Minutes: (1,311)
Posts: 12
5/6/13 6:12 P

I need some ideas for some healthy cheap food for breakfast lunch and snacks. I'm on a budget and have to buy food for my family and me. I still want to eat whatever my family has for dinner that is our time together. So I have to watch my calories during the day.

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