eat well on a budget

Healthy Breakfast on a Budget

Those of us who live and are one the lower end of the income spectrum know eating healthy can be incredibly difficult. I do my best to feed my family of 7 on about $100 a week, and most of the time I’m successful. (Sometimes I do go over a little out of necessity.)

One way I’ve learned to cut costs is to find cheap healthy food that I can rotate through during the week. You don’t need to eat crepes or fancy omlettes or fresh berry smoothies in the morning to eat with good nutrition. So, here are some simple breakfasts I rotate through with my kids that are healthy and cheap:

Breakfast 1: 
Oatmeal with berries
2 strips turkey bacon

Breakfast 2:
2 hard boiled eggs
1 slice whole wheat toast

Breakfast 3: 
2 scrambled eggs
oatmeal with banana slices

Grocery list:
Great Value old fashioned oats: $1.60
Frozen berries (12 oz): $3.90
Oscar Meyer turkey bacon: $3
18 eggs GV brand: $2.50
Whole Wheat bread: $2

TOTAL: $14.30 (with estimated tax around 10%)

Okay, so I know $14 seems like a lot here, but it really isn’t when you break it down. The old fashioned oats will give you 13 servings. If you are using oatmeal 4 times a week, that container will give you roughly 4 weeks of breakfast. FOR $1.60!! (There are certified gluten free oats available for around $3 too, if you need to be gluten free.)

The frozen berries will also give you up to 12 servings (three weeks if you eat it with your oatmeal, because let’s face it, OATMEAL IS DISGUSTING PLAIN).

The turkey bacon will not only give you two strips 2-3 times a week, but you can use it with other meals. (BLTs anyone??? You’ve got everything but lettuce and tomatoes and those will only be another $4 and they’ll last more than one meal too!)

And the 18 eggs? If you eat two eggs once a day you’ll get 9 days of meals with these. 

And if you only have $15 to your name? You can eat these for EVERY meal and you’re good for at least a week. You don’t need to buy more than you will actually eat. It will help curb binge eating, you’ll have everything you need, and it will help lower the waste of food (seriously, how much food do you think goes bad sitting on the grocery store shelves??).

I know eating healthy when you don’t have money for a lot can be intimidating, but I promise its not impossible. I hope this helps anyone looking for some help!

*Please keep in mind this is for one person. You can figure out servings for bigger families and the cost will adjust a little bit. Make sure you’re feeding your children properly and not giving them a ton more calories than they need and you’ll be able to help combat childhood obesity too. If you live in a fresh food desert check out canned food! Low sodium and “packed in water” options are available and can be as beneficial as fresh fruits. I personally LOVE canned peaches. (: 

Things I Bought to Save Money

That sounds counter-intuitive, but part of saving money is shopping with intention. I’m not talking about just intending to go shopping and then spending money; I mean thinking purchases through, evaluating if the short term cost would have long term benefits. 

To make it on this list, the items had A) be used for something I would have spent money on anyway and B) had to see somewhat regular use. No one-time only products here. 

I saved up for every one of these, but they were worth it. 

1) A mini-washing machine. This is sometimes known as a camping washing machine or countertop washing machine. It’s as small as the name implies. They cost anywhere from 20 to 50+. Ebay has a ton of them with different functions and sizes. 

Why I bought it when I’m broke af: I live in an apartment with no washer/dryer hookups. There is a laundromat across the street and a few units in my apartment building, but to wash and dry one load of laundry I paid 3.50 (I often had more than one) and had to compete with a lot of other people for space. 

How it worked out: The thing paid for itself within two months. I had it for two years before it finally conked out and I had to buy another. 

2) A clothes drying rack. Mine cost 7 euro. Your cost may vary.

Why: Goes along with the mini washing machine. I hang up the wash in front of the radiator in the winter (it’s going anyway) or outside in the summer. Saves a ton in a very short period of time, and will last you for years. 

3) A ton of baking soda/vinegar

Why: Baking soda/vinegar are great for lot of reasons. Have a clogged drain? These work. Need to scrub your counters? These work. Accidentally left your clothes wet too long? Vinegar. Want shiny hair? Vinegar. Want to make a mug cake? Well, of course you’ll need baking soda. You can also find instructions online toward turning baking soda into washing soda and making your own laundry detergent, but that’s another post. 

4) A hot water bottle. You don’t actually have to buy one. Filling up a two liter with hot (not boiling, just hot) water works just as well. 

Turn down the heat to save costs, night or day. Before you get in bed, heat up the water, put it in the bottle, and be toasty. During the day I have an old blanket I sewed in half that I toss the bottle into the bottom of. 

5) A bike. Obviously this depends on where you live, but having to commute every day without a car was hard. A bike fixed that and is extremely low-maintenance. Buy used. 

6) The cheapest yoga mat I could find. I think it was 7 Euro three years ago. I’ll admit I got very lucky with that. There are a lot of videos online these days. I highly recommend anything from FitnessBlender, which is high quality and no cost to you. Working out at home (yoga for me was a game-changer in this chaotic budget life) even for five minutes a day reduces stress and saves gym fees. You don’t need a mat if you have a carpet, but the core message is the same: work out at home, not the gym. 

7) A Neti pot. This thing isn’t actually called neti, but it’s the same principle: you wash out your sinuses to prevent infections. I’m prone to that kind of thing seasonally, and being pretty regular with it has saved me money, misery, and time by eliminating doctor’s visits. Make you own saline solution with very simple recipes online. Nothing complicated about it. 

8) Gardening supplies. This can get very costly if you don’t keep an eye on it. However, a simple balcony garden in the spring, summer, and fall can supplement your food budget for months. Add a few flowers for fun and herbs for taste if you can afford it. Starting from seeds is the cheapest route. Using seeds from fruits and veggies you’ve already purchased and sorted is the cheapest. Gardening as also been proven to lower stress levels significantly. No room? A couple of plants on a window or in a tiny patch of earth you find is equally good. 

9) Good scissors.  Watch youtube and go on pinterest to find out how to cut your own hair. Man or woman, a good hair cutting utensil will pay for itself within one or two uses. Just keep the cuts relatively basic. If you aren’t able to do your own or don’t trust your hands to be steady, enlist somebody’s help. It just takes a few minutes. 

10) A mini-oven. Ignore this if you have a full-sized one, but I didn’t. I was also eating out a lot, which doesn’t work well when you’re on a budget. By learning how to bake my own bread, cake with few ingredients, lasagna, and other recipes, that 40 Euro investment ended up saving me hundreds last year, and in fact varied my diet greatly. Roast chicken. Yum. 

What have you bought to save yourself money? 

When I was a student, I struggled to balance the lazy student meal and and healthy lifestyle. I think this is one of the reasons why my weight was up and down for three years. Since graduation almost two years ago, however, learning more about food has taught me not only how to create great recipes, but I learned some nice tricks for lazy day meals when I am either not in the mood for something fancy, or my funds are at their ultimate all time low.

Keep reading

Easy Ways To Eat Vegan On A Budget

As someone who’s been vegetarian for almost half my life, and plant-based for more than a year now, there are two questions I am constantly being asked: A, where do you get your protein from? and B, isn’t it expensive?

The first question is something so commonly asked that it almost feels like a joke at this point (for the record, your answer is here and the second is that it’s often cheaper to buy only plant-based foods. Meat is expensive. Hell, growing meat is expensive. And while that’s not to say that you should just toss all your pork chops and take up the PETA flag (seriously, I would like to think I’m the least vegan-y vegan I know, and won’t begrudge you your bacon), throwing a vegetarian meal into your food rotation every once in a while can cut costs and make you feel like you’re being healthy. Do it right, and you can even shop at Whole Foods without blowing your budget every time. I promise.

Buy frozen. Unless the food doesn’t freeze well (think tomatoes, avocadoes, or really, anything that isn’t offered in your grocery’s freezer section) or there is a preparation method that requires you to use fresh produce, there really is no reason why you can’t load up on vegetables that have been prepped, washed, bagged, and frozen. They retain most of their nutritional value in the process, you’re not paying astronomically more when something is out of season, and you don’t have to worry about finishing something before it goes bad. Not needing to throw away fruits and vegetables just because they’ve expired before you could use them can save you a load of money with each shopping trip.

Make those frozen vegetables the base of every meal. Plate things on top of broccoli or spinach, or tap into your inner basic and load it on top of kale. Adding vegetables to recipes is often a really easy way to stretch both portion sizes and the number of portions themselves, so you could cook once and make it last all week. (In the winter, I like to mix a can of chili with lots of broccoli, both to make it healthier, and because when was the last time anyone was ever satisfied by the serving amount listed on a can of chili? Never, that’s when.)

Avoid mock meat. You don’t need veggie burgers and chick’n strips to be a proper vegetarian. Really. (And fake cheese is usually just sad and gross.) If you miss the flavor of those foods, by all means, have them, but they’re typically made from a lot of processed soy product and aren’t that great for you. Also, they’re really, really expensive for their serving size. You’re better off using beans, tempeh, and seitan, which are all more filling for their price, and leaving the soy dogs for special occasions. (Or make your own bean patties, which won’t taste anything like hamburger meat, but still taste really good. This one only takes 10 ingredients.

Buy the store brand when you can. Look, I’m not going to say that you need to buy Whole Foods’ brand of chocolate creme cookies when Oreos are clearly superior (and yes, they’re both vegan) but within reason, aim for the house stuff. Staples like canned goods and grains are often just as good as something with a fancier label. Trader Joe’s almost sells their label exclusively if you need proof that sometimes having five brands yell at you to buy their kind of pasta sauce is really overwhelming.

Bring your lunch to work. Bougie chopped salads aren’t cheap. Neither are juices, or foods from specialty restaurants, or whatever amalgamation of chips and trail mix and an apple and more chips that you patch together at the corner store. It’s far easier, far cheaper, and far healthier to take the extra time to cobble together a quick lunch from things in your fridge. Lately, I’ve been spiralizing zucchini, tossing it with some kale, and adding a sweet potato and roasted garbanzo beans for a really filling and easy solution, but play around and find what works for you.

Snacks, too. Because to get hungry is to be human, and you don’t need to shill out $7 at the coffee shop every afternoon for a soy latte and a mediocre bagel.

Say no to pricey supplements. You don’t need them. If your diet is varied enough and you’re not just throwing back french fries and calling it a vegetable, you’re probably doing pretty well with just a multivitamin (grab one with iron if you’re worried about that). As for protein powder? Sure, look into it if you really want to, but there are also alternatives like hulled hemp seeds that have way more protein and less fake shit than your run-of-the-mill tub’o’gainz.

Constantly try new things. You don’t know it’s not for you until you see if it is. Swap corn tortillas for your sandwich bread (you typically use less, and they’re often more nutritious. Try out a new vegetable that’s on sale, or mix up whatever fruit you usually put into your morning smoothie. Read cooking blogs, search Pinterest, and actually make the things you find. Just because you’re cutting out one or more food groups doesn’t mean your food needs to get boring. In fact, if you like a challenge, that’s when things wind up getting most interesting.

Ella Ceron is social media editor at New York Magazine’s The Cut. She is on Twitter and Instagram.

The Broke Girl’s Guide To Healthy Eating

Yes, it’s true that health food can be staggeringly expensive — especially if it’s something trendy, like raw almonds or cold-pressed green juice. But, eating well and staying on a budget don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The secret is to plan ahead and choose staples you can cook with all week long. These foods — like canned beans, for example — aren’t necessarily flashy, but are still packed with nutrients. Click through for 14 affordable and healthy items you should always have on your grocery list. They’ll run you about $60 total, and you’ll use them to whip up countless good-for-you meals and snacks.


What they cost: About $3-$7 per dozen, depending on whether you choose organic, cage-free, etc.

Why they’re healthy: Ounce for ounce, an egg is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It contains all nine essential amino acids and is rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium, and vitamins A, B12, B2, and B5. One egg contains 113 mg of choline, a nutrient that’s critical for healthy brain function. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that can help protect your vision. Almost all of these nutrients are found in the yolk, so eat the whole egg!

How to cook with them: ”Eggs are incredibly versatile,” says Amelia Winslow, nutritionist, chef, and founder of Eating Made Easy. They’re not just for breakfast, either. “You can put an egg on just about anything, from sautéed veggies to rice and beans, and turn your dish into a complete, balanced meal.”

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Make a Southwestern omelet with salsa and diced avocado.

Canned Fish, Such As Tuna & Salmon

What it costs:About $2-$5 for a can of tuna and about $4-$5 for a can of salmon. All the experts we spoke to suggest you look for BPA-free cans and choose wild-caught salmon if you can afford it.

Why it’s healthy: Canned tuna and salmon are excellent sources of vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. (So are other varieties of canned fish, like sardines and anchovies — but they can be more of an acquired taste.) And, salmon is one of the best food sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that’s crucial for our immune function, bone health,and mental health. “Buying canned fish is a great way to get quality fish without having to spend a fortune,” say Hayley Mason and Bill Staley, founders of Primal Palate and authors ofMake It Paleo 2. Additionally, Winslow says, “canned salmon is among the ‘freshest’ fish you can buy, because it’s canned immediately after being caught, as opposed to being frozen and thawed before reaching your table.”

How to cook with it:Don’t worry about removing the bones if there are any — unlike the bones in fresh fish, which can pose a choking hazard, these bones are softer as a result of the canning process. And, canned fish bones are a terrific source of dietary calcium. Make tuna or salmon burgers in a food processor: Combine the fish with a little olive oil or mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, and the seasonings of your choice, then pan-sear the patties until golden brown on both sides. For a quick, easy lunch, simply add the fish (right out of the can) to a salad with a little olive oil and lemon juice, suggests Mason.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Make a kale and apple salad, top with canned fish, and dress with olive oil and lemon juice.


What they cost: About $.88-$2 each. Unless you live in Southern California, avocados can be a bit of a splurge. But, this is one food you don’t have to buy organic — which can save you some money, say Mason and Staley. “Avocados top the ‘Clean Fifteen’ list of foods with the least amount of pesticide residues,” explains Mason.

Why they’re healthy: Avos contain healthy fat and protein, and they’re packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. In fact, they have more potassium than a banana, and high doses of vitamins C, E, K, B6, and folate.

How to cook with them: You can add avocado to just about anything, like sandwiches, eggs, dips, and even frosting or brownies. For an on-the-go snack, just grab an avocado and a pinch of sea salt, suggest Mason and Staley — it’s essentially a mini meal all on its own.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Stir together canned tuna or salmon with garbanzo beans, a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and top with avocado for a different take on white bean salad.


What they cost: $2.69-$4.29 for a canister or bag (usually between 18-22 oz)

Why they’re healthy: One of oats’ standout qualities is that they contain beta glucans, compounds that slow the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body. This helps keep your blood sugar levels steady and could be the reason why oats seem to keep people fuller longer than most other cereals. Just one half cup of oats contains a generous dose of folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc as well more than 100% of the recommended daily dose of manganese — a mineral necessary for strong bones and healthy skin.

How to cook with them:You don’t have to eat oats Oliver Twist-style. You can blend them into smoothies, soak them overnight with berries, or combine them with your Greek yogurt. As far as rolled versus steel-cut verses quick, nutritionally they’re all about equal; the only difference is texture and cook time, so pick your preference.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Combine oats, Greek yogurt, and frozen berries in a blender for a high-protein, high-fiber, low-sugar smoothie that will keep you going all morning.

Greek Yogurt

What it costs:About $1.25-$2 per small tub

Why it’s healthy: Greek yogurt packs up to three times the protein of regular yogurt, and many brands also contain beneficial bacteria that aid digestion. Go ahead and buy the full-fat kind instead of fat-free — full-fat dairy has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and a lower incidence of weight gain, and it also helps your body absorb nutrients better.

How to cook with it: Winslow recommends buying plain, so you can control the amount of sugar that’s added to it. This also means you can use the yogurt in savory dishes — it’s great in marinades, dressings, and dips, and you can also use it instead of heavy cream, mayonnaise, or sour cream. And, of course, it’s delicious for breakfast — including smoothies.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Make a protein-packed hummus by blending garbanzo beans with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Use as a sandwich spread or dip (try it paired with homemade kale chips).

Frozen Mixed Berries

What they cost:About $3-$4 per bag (typically 8-12 oz). Winslow recommends splurging for organic if you can, since berries are often on the “Dirty Dozen" list of produce with high amounts of pesticide residues.

Why they’re healthy: Berries are low in sugar, high in fiber, and one of the best food sources of antioxidants. But, if you can’t get to a farmer’s market, frozen fruits might be your next best bet, as research has shown that frozen produce often contains more nutrients than what’s found in the refrigerator case. This is because frozen produce is processed shortly after it’s picked, while fresh sometimes travels hundreds of miles before it ends up on a supermarket shelf — and during that time, its vitamins and antioxidants start to degrade.

How to cook with them: Mason and Staley use frozen berries in smoothies, while Winslow says you can blend them with olive oil and vinegar to make your own fruity salad dressing.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Thaw the berries and mix with Greek yogurt; use as a topping on oatmeal, pancakes, or granola.

Sweet Potatoes

What they cost:About $1.29 per lb

Why they’re healthy: Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin C, B6, and potassium, plus nearly 400% our RDV of vitamin A. Carotenoids, the compounds that give the potatoes their orange color, are powerful antioxidants that can help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity in addition to protecting against aging.

How to cook with them: Mason and Staley like to dice up sweet potatoes for breakfast home fries. They’re also delicious roasted (try them topped with toasted nuts or pomegranate seeds). Or, you can simply bake them (a shortcut: Pierce the skin a few times and microwave on high for 5-8 minutes) and eat with your favorite toppings.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Cut sweet potatoes into small cubes and sauté with ground beef and kale. If you have them on hand, add spices like cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, and cumin to turn it into a curry. (Curry powder works great, too.)

Ground Beef

What it costs: About $6-$7 per 1lb package

Why it’s healthy: Beef — and red meat in general — has significantly more B12, iron, and zinc than white meat. And, it can often be the best choice for those on a budget, say Mason and Staley. This is because meat from ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, etc.) is made up of about equal parts saturated and monounsaturated fat, and only a small amount of polyunsaturated fat (which can be inflammatory). Unlike pork and poultry, the ratio of these fats stays relatively constant no matter what the animal eats. So, red meat can be a better choice for people who can’t afford pasture-raised or grass-fed meats.

How to cook with it: Ground beef can be more susceptible to bacterial contamination (the germs get mixed into the meat as it’s chopped up), so use a meat thermometer when cooking and make sure the temperature hits 160 degrees. One pound can make up to four meals, says Mason, who uses ground beef to make meatloaf, chili, stuffed peppers, and stir-frys.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Brown the beef in a frying pan, then add lentils and frozen veggies and season with a sprinkling of dried sage, turmeric, sea salt, black pepper, and fresh thyme.

Related: Pinch Those Pennies: 8 Superfoods Under $1 Per Serving


What it costs: About $3.49 per bunch of organic kale. Winslow recommends you always buy organic, since conventional kale tends to be heavily sprayed with harsh pesticides.

Why it’s healthy: Ah, the vegetable everyone loves. Or loves to hate. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, the fact is, kale didn’t get all that hype for no reason. One cup, chopped, has 206% our RDV of vitamin A, 134% vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of our vitamin K. Kale also contains glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that may protect against cancer and help our bodies detoxify. And, this stuff will last! Kale is much tougher than other leafy greens, so it won’t go bad as quickly, say Staley and Mason.

How to cook with it:Kale stands up to dressings without getting soggy — in fact, many culinary pros actually recommend dressing your kale ahead of time for better flavor. So, you can make kale salad on a Sunday and still be eating good on Tuesday. Homemade kale chips are also super-easy to make (roast pieces in a single layer in the oven) and will satisfy a potato chip craving — just check your teeth when you’re done.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Sauté kale and garbanzo beans with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then top with Greek yogurt. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with a little more salt and pepper.

Frozen Vegetable Medley

What it costs: About $3 -$3.50 per package (typically 10-12 oz)

Why it’s healthy: Like frozen berries, frozen veggies often contain more nutrients than produce that has been shipped long distances or left to refrigerate for an extended period of time. And, you don’t have to worry about them going bad, which is a waste of money, say Mason and Staley. Like all veggies, the frozen kind will bump up the amount of fiber and vitamins in a meal.

How to cook with it: You can add frozen veggies to just about any dish that could use more produce. Because they have a soft texture, frozen veggies are best in cooked dishes like stir frys, pastas, casseroles, and soups.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Make a stir fry with the veggies and ground beef and top with a fried egg.

Green Apples

What they cost:About $5 for a 4-pack of organic, which is recommended, since conventional apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Those chemicals tend to collect on the apples’ skin — which is also where most of the nutrients are concentrated.

Why they’re healthy: Low in sugar and high in soluble fiber, green apples help fill you up and stabilize blood sugar levels. As an added bonus, they can also save you from bad breath. That’s because the tartness in the apple stimulates saliva, which helps to break down bacteria in your mouth.

How to cook with them:The flavor of a green apple can be used from breakfast to dinner. Green apples are great in juices and smoothies, and they’re also delicious sliced into salads. Or, try sautéing or roasting them and serving with chicken.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Chop up an apple and mix it with kale and lentils. Toss with a dressing made from vinegar (preferably apple cider), olive oil, Dijon mustard, and honey.

Garbanzo Beans

What they cost:About $2-$2.50 per 15oz can. Look for a brand that’s BPA-free, like Eden Organic.

Why they’re healthy: One cup contains 15g of protein and a whopping 12g of fiber, not to mention iron, magnesium, potassium, and more than 70% of our RDV of folate.

How to cook with them:“Toss them into salads, blend them with olive oil and lemon juice to make a hummus-like dip, or add them to soups,” suggests Winslow. “You can even turn them into a crunchy, salty snack: Just coat them with a little olive oil and salt and roast at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.”

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Make chickpea fritters by blitzing together one can of garbanzo beans (drained), one egg, ½ cup flour, an onion, and garlic in a food processor. Shape into patties and fry in a skillet. Top with Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

By Grace McCalmon


When Leanne Brown moved to New York from Canada to earn a master’s in food studies at New York University, she couldn’t help noticing that Americans on a tight budget were eating a lot of processed foods heavy in carbs.

“It really bothered me,” she says. “The 47 million people on food stamps — and that’s a big chunk of the population — don’t have the same choices everyone else does.”

Brown guessed that she could help people in SNAP, the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, find ways to cook filling, nourishing and flavorful meals. So she set out to write a cookbook full of recipes anyone could make on a budget of just $4 a day.

The result is Good and Cheap, which is free online and has been downloaded over 700,000 times.

Cheap Eats: A Cookbook For Eating Well On A Food Stamp Budget

  • Aries: If you want adventure and don't mind occasionally breaking the law.
  • Taurus: If you want to eat well and stay at nice hotels even if you're on a budget.
  • Gemini: If you want to practice a new language and are down for anything.
  • Cancer: If you want to be taken care of and want to visit museums.
  • Leo: If you want to go on adventures but sleep in the mornings.
  • Virgo: If you want to stick to a schedule and need help finding places to visit.
  • Libra: If you want to get into places that are usually restricted and want to go high-end luxury shopping.
  • Scorpio: If you want to go on ghost tours and are genuinely interested in history.
  • Sagittarius: If you want to meet new people and do crazy things like sky-diving or hang-gliding.
  • Capricorn: If you want to feel like you're traveling alone but you still need help making plans.
  • Aquarius: If you want a personal tour guide and do exhilarating activities.
  • Pisces: If you want to go clubbing at night and sleep in the mornings.
tips for people on ebt/food stamps

I can’t recommend ENOUGH getting a Costco or other wholesale warehouse store membership, or finding a friend who has one who can take you there. It’s $55/year for a basic membership at Costco.  

I get $194/month in food stamps in WA. Today, I spent $175 at Costco and got: 25lb bag of rice, 6lb frozen peaches, 3lb frozen berries, 3lb fresh spinach, 6 red bell peppers, 52 packs of instant oatmeal, 64 oz of plain yogurt, a dozen bagels, a dozen english muffins, 12 cans of green beans, 12 cans of black beans, two 64oz containers of salsa, 2lbs of mozzarella cheese, a huge box of Bisquick, a dozen roma tomatoes, apple sauce, fruit leathers, a huge bag of decaf coffee, and 8 pounds of frozen chicken… 

Just saying! You can eat healthy and well on a shoestring budget if you budget right. I obviously have some other, perishable things to purchase (like milk and eggs) but hey, I have $13 left over. Sky’s the limit. Anyway, that’s my experience! have a good day!

Sharing an online cookbook link!

I don’t know if you’ve posted about “Good and Cheap” before, but it is a fantastic-looking cookbook available for free online as a PDF. Here is an NPR article about it, and the article includes the link to the PDF. A lot of the recipes are pretty simple, very adaptable, all fairly healthy and also, cheap.

anonymous asked:

I want to eat healthy but I always find it easier (and cheaper) to eat out. Any advice for a student who's on a budget? And best ways to bring a lunch to school?

As a college student myself, eating well on a budget is my PRIORITY! I think I got my cost down to $9-11 per day for 3 meals + snacks that were ALL healthy.

Eat healthy for $10 per day:

  • Oatmeal for breakfast (buy plain oats in bulk and you can get it down to like less than 50 cents for ½ cup of oats) and you can use toppings that cost around $1 (banana + walnuts + cinnamon is my go to) BREAKFAST COST: $2.
  • Morning snack: celery and almond butter. Buy the generic brand of almond butter without sugar in bulk to bring the cost down. I use about 1tbsp for my celery, and my grocery store sells a pack of 12 stalks of celery for like $3 for all of them, so today’s MORNING SNACK COST: $2
  • Spinach salad with fruit for lunch. Spinach is about $4 for the organic kind I get, but the box is huge and I use about ¼ of the box for my salad. I also throw in some strawberries and some raspberry organic dressing I got from whole foods. One $6 bottle of dressing lasts me a year since I only use a tiny bit for my salads. I also toss in almond slices, around $3 for an entire container of unsalted, and I only use 1/10th of that container for my salads. You can add feta cheese if you want, but I usually don’t. LUNCH COST: $2
  • Grapefruit and pistachios for afternoon snack. Grapefruit at my grocery store is $1 for two! Add a handful of pistachios for some protein. Pistachios at the cheap grocery store by me cost about $4 for a huge bag. I only eat about ¼ of that bag per snack, usually less. AFTERNOON SNACK COST: $1.50
  • Black bean veggie wraps. 1 whole wheat tortilla, ¼ can of black beans, cheese (optional), 1 avocado (optional), any leftover veggies you have in the fridge. This meal is the most expensive, but if you buy in bulk and shop at the right places you can get it down to… DINNER: $3.00


My estimations change a bit due to what I can/cannot buy in bulk and the price of the produce in my area, what’s on sale, and what I have coupons for.

But $10 for homecooked meals will actually go MUCH FURTHER than going out to eat.

$10 will buy you two footlong subs at subway, not including tax. That’s two not-so-healthy meals. $20 will buy you Chinese takeout for one meal. Not healthy and expensive.

Check out the article I wrote on how to shop for groceries on a budget!

Also, I wrote an article on the 7 best healthy school lunches!