100 lb. Club - Broke and trying to eat healthy

View Full Version : Broke and trying to eat healthy

01-16-2008, 09:59 AM
Ok. So I am completely broke. I usually spend about 250 every 2 weeks on groceries. Well since Christmas I am broke. So I am going to the grocery store every friday and getting the bare necessities. Milk, bread, eggs, yogurt. I dont have the money to buy alot of fruits and veggies. Does anyone have any ideas that would help me make it through until I get my taxes back?


01-16-2008, 10:08 AM
Oh man....I can relate. I've been in your shoes too many times to count. Eating healthy can be expensive. How about frozen veggies? They are relatively inexpensive. How about some peas/beans/lentils? These are great sources of protein. You could pick up a bag of these and make a big pot that can be eaten for several meals.

Hope the financial worries ease for you soon. :hug:

01-16-2008, 10:10 AM
Maybe a jar of all natural applesauce for some fruit. Usually you can get a store brand for not too much money.

01-16-2008, 10:13 AM
Totally relate myself....I'm trying to feed enough for 6 people everyday, and it ain't easy with our limited budget. Basically, I try to fix meals that ensures leftovers, like a big pot of chili, or chicken chili to be healthier, casseroles, etc. I make sure to put some veggies in these, so it does get stretched out over the next few days. As for fruits, same deal there. I tend to buy frozen because sometimes there's a deal on these. Hang in there!

01-16-2008, 10:19 AM
Do you eat beans? Do you eat rice? Those are fairly cheap if you buy them in bulk.

Is there anything in your pantry that you can use?

Depending on your family size, $250 for 2 weeks seems like a lot of money for groceries but I know depending on your family size (and metabolisms), it may not go far.

01-16-2008, 10:23 AM
I feel ya on the budget. We have found a cheap store like Save a lot and we have to buy the frozen stuff right now. The veggies are pretty good. We have been trying to make everything in the crock pot, it makes it taste so much better like a veggie soup. We put in a couple bags of mixed veggie and 1 can of tomato sauce and it is pretty good and last a couple of days.

01-16-2008, 10:27 AM
I don't know your plan, but there are lots of inexpensive low-cal foods. I love brown rice, and frequently use it as the main part of my meal. I know that potatoes tend to be vilified, but I love them with some spices, and they're low-cal and tend to be inexpensive. My sister recommended that I try a high-protein shake. At first, I rejected the idea because a large container of it costs about $14. But when I looked at it and realized that there are about 25 servings per container, I conceded that spending about 55 cents per meal - about the same price as a small container of yogurt - was doable for me, and I have actually found that half a recommended serving really fills me up because of the high protein amount, pushing the net price down even further. (I have always been opposed to drinking my calories, but I was very surprised by how full I am, and if I make it fairly thick, it feels like I'm having a small meal.) Tuna is a major part of my meal plan, and that's fairly cheap. I also like bran flakes (though they do have too much sugar generally, and they're too highly processed) and oatmeal, and each of these are pretty cheap.

Of course, vegetables are very important, and I really like to use fruit as a source of fiber and nutrients. I know that kiwi (which I LOVE) and pears are cheaper now than they were in the summer, so I rely pretty heavily on those. Carrots and celery are usually very reasonable if you're willing to wash, peel,and cut your own. There are always canned and frozen options, too (though I'd personally have to be starving before I'd eat most canned foods). It really is a matter of just investing some time to find some inexpensive options.

I don't know what you need for your kids, but I frequently skip the milk, since it tends to be so expensive and I'm not a big fan of hormones and antibodies for either me or my children. And bread tends to be nutritionally deficient, even if you get whole-grain, and the cheaper stuff is rarely whole grain. Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, though, and I love my yogurt.

It's a challenge to do this at all, let alone to do it with a restricted budget. I know you'll find ways to make it work, though!

01-16-2008, 10:27 AM
I am feeding a family of 5 on $250 every 2 weeks. Also that $250 includes a trip to BJ's also. So it seems like alot but it really isnt. I wish I was able to spend less. LOL.... But that isnt going to happen. I buy frozen veggies but I never thought about buying frozen fruit. Thanks alot.

Chelavon: that veggie soup is an awesome idea. Thanks.....

01-16-2008, 10:30 AM
I am feeding a family of 5 on $250 every 2 weeks.

Yes, $250.00 every two weeks for a family of 5 is not extravagant. Families are expensive.

01-16-2008, 10:59 AM
Oh I have a Costco membership and I buy most of my food there.

Frozen veggies, frozen fruit, fresh veggies, fresh fruit, rice, etc.

Also, do you happen to have an asian market near you? You can often get a lot of stuff there cheap, especially fruits and veggies.

01-16-2008, 11:10 AM
Farmer's markets can also be cheaper than grocery stores for fresh produce, since it's mostly in season. My sister bought about 10 lbs of zucchini for $2 and we ate it for weeks, it seems like. That and a giant bag of beans with rice lasted for quite a while. The trick with buying bulk food is finding a cool dry place to put it so it won't go bad while you're using it up...

01-16-2008, 11:17 AM
If you do want to buy some fresh veggies, then try a Farmer's Market. They are usually much less expensive than a grocery store. I bought the fixings for a very healthy vegetable soup almost two weeks ago, and I still have soup left. I've been having it for lunch everyday, and I've also had it for dinner twice in the last two weeks. I'll bake up one of those frozen dinner rolls to go with it. Counting a couple purchases at the grocery store (veggie broth, kidney beans), it probably cost me about $20 to make a pot of it that fed me lunch for 8 days and dinner for 2. I doubled up on both dinner portions, so it could feed you lunch for 12 days or dinner for 6. It's filling and tastes wonderful. Plus, you get your daily veggies in for 130 calories a bowl.

If you're interested, here's the link (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=59614) to the recipe. It will probably cost you more if you buy the veggies at the grocery store, not the Farmer's Market.

I also buy things in bulk at Costco so I don't have to buy them every time I go to the store. My boyfriend and I both eat healthy on about $60 a week - which is $30 a person. Some weeks it is a little more, some weeks a little less.

01-16-2008, 11:20 AM
Oatmeal for breakfast is very inexpensive. I buy the store brand and cook it in the microwave. It's less than $2.00 for a huge container that will last a couple of weeks, even with several folks eating it several times a week. Also dried beans are nutritious, much lower in sodium than canned, and very inexpensive. Good fiber and protein. I personally would concentrate on spending my money on vegetables, and proteins (eggs and whatever meat you can find on sale), and a cheap whole grain like a big bag of brown rice. I know fruit is great, but my opinion is that I could do without it easier for a couple of weeks than the other stuff.

01-16-2008, 11:29 AM
It's not farmer's market season around here, but if it is where you live, here's a good tip from someone whose family sells at market: try to show up at the farmer's market about a half hour before closing, not earlier in the day. A lot of farmers will be willing to give you great deals on the produce that's left at the end of the day so that they don't have to haul it back to their farms and/or find a buyer. Yeah, you don't get as much choice, but the price is often way beyond right.

During the peak of zucchini season, many growers will gladly *give* away their zucchinis rather than have them go to waste. Don't be afraid to ask (politely)!


01-16-2008, 01:05 PM
It's cheapest right now in winter to base our diets on cheap stuff. Dry beans (there are so many kinds... I get dry chickpeas and make hummus), lentils, split peas, brown rice, wild rice. I find the winter squashes are relatively cheap as well so we eat them every week (butternut, acorn, etc).

If you check the sales and buy just the produce that's on sale, in bulk, it helps. I buy only the meats that are on sale for the week. Stock up on canned goods when they go one sale: tuna, low sodium soups, fruits canned in juice, and lots of canned tomatoes. When ground beef goes on sale for $1/pound I buy a ton and freeze in in 2 lb packages. Just rinse the beef in hot water after cooking and it takes a lot of the fat out.

Oatmeal is cheap so I have that for breakfast a lot.

01-16-2008, 03:19 PM
I would also suggest a farmers market! I went to one the other day and got 8 banana's, huge bag of broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, 1 cucumbers, bag of potatoes, bag of beans and 7 apples for 10 dollars! Well, 10.53. I am NOT buying produce from the grocery store anymore - such a waste of money! Definitely seek one out!

Really look for sales - sometimes it's easier to do all your shopping in one place, but you can definitely find deals which can save you a TON of money. Canned fruit is on of my fav's - always choose packed in water.


01-16-2008, 03:37 PM
Do you have a Trader Joe's near you? I know there food is really fairly priced at high quality. For example..their Chicken chilli is enough for two if not three and it is $2.69 a can. I know I had a heaping bag and my bill was a little over $29.00..and that included salmon and trail mix nuts & seeds, bagged spinach and tomatos, 6 cans chilli, Veggie Patch Juice.

01-16-2008, 03:55 PM
I agree that Trader Joes is a great place for inexpensive and healthy food. Also, markets like Sprouts...They have locally grown produce for very low prices. I am always shocked at how little I spend for as much produce as I walk away with. Also, they both have hormone free meat, milk, dairy products, organic products, etc. Definitely worth looking at.

01-16-2008, 04:04 PM
Any of you old timers remember the thread from a while back from a young college girl that only had $10 a week for groceries and she wanted to know what she could buy that was healthy for that amount of money? I did a search but could not find it!

01-16-2008, 04:12 PM
I saw that you go to BJs. Bananas there are usually really cheap (33 cents a pound or so). Apples are also an inexpensive fruit. Pineapples are usually inexpensive at BJs as well. I also buy blocks of cheese there (there is a Cabot 75% light that they usually carry) and then I shred it myself if I need shredded cheese. The big tubs of yogurt (1 lb?) are really cheap at BJs too. only 2 or 3 bucks each but I think they are usually just the plain variety. You can add fruit or berries (fresh or frozen) to the yogurt to flavor it. Fiber one bars are also super-cheap at BJs. I usually use coupons on those, too.

Carrots are really good as an inexpensive snack vegetable. As far as other fresh vegetables, I usually buy what is on sale at the supermarket that week.

I do buy frozen fruit, but I don't find it to be more of a bargain money-wise over fresh, but I like that frozen lasts longer.

I would also suggest bulk grains (bags of brown rice, etc).

I shop for meat when it is on sale ONLY. For instance, one week chicken tenderloins are on sale for $1.99/lb. I will buy 3-4 pounds that week, but no other meat. The next week pork chops will be on sale and sausage, and I will buy that and nothing else as far as meat. I always end up with a steady, varying supply in my freezer.

I make my own bread and rolls (the cheapest all-natural bread you can get!), but you would need a bread maker for that :)

01-16-2008, 04:16 PM
I remember the thread, but can't find it. Did find this one, though, which spells out my suggestions more clearly than I can type again right now!


01-16-2008, 04:24 PM
I remember the thread too...but ALSO can't remember who posted it...arrgh!

01-17-2008, 12:23 AM
I like this site: http://healthy.hillbillyhousewife.com/index.htm

There are links across the top for Recipes and Dieting on a Budget. I also like the Tightwad Gazette for cheap recipes. You should be able to get that book at the library.

Also, if you want to spend about $2 per month, there's a great site for financial management: www.debtproofliving.com On the discussion groups there are daily threads about what's cooking and there are lots of "What food can you buy with $25 per week" type threads. I've been a member for 5+ years and it's what keeps our finances under control.

01-17-2008, 01:34 AM
Be sure to try the froze veggies they are not to bad. I'm not sure about fruit my husband and I like fresh fruits.

01-17-2008, 09:13 AM
I am feeding a family of 5 on $250 every 2 weeks. Also that $250 includes a trip to BJ's also. So it seems like alot but it really isnt. I wish I was able to spend less. LOL.... But that isnt going to happen. I buy frozen veggies but I never thought about buying frozen fruit. Thanks alot.

Chelavon: that veggie soup is an awesome idea. Thanks.....

Your Welcome! My family loves the veggie soup, and it goes a long way. We have it as a meal the first night, then the second night we just have 1/2 a bowl with a sandwich!

01-17-2008, 11:14 AM
Check out http://www.couponmom.com/ She also has a book. Do you have an Aldis by you? They usually have great deals, just bring a quarter to get a cart! Also, this doesn't make a huge impact but some places will take 5 cents off of your bill for every bag you bring in for your groceries. I have a bunch of canvas bags that I use. Save money and some plastic! I feel your pain, it is far more expensive to eat healthy (in the short run, at least.)

01-17-2008, 11:41 AM
Brown rice, chicken broth, lean meat, frozen veggies can make a nice stir-fry.
Oatmeal is a GREAT filling and inexpensive breakfast.
Potatoes are your friend (within reason)
Lean ground beef: shepherd's pie (mashed potatoes, frozen veggies, prep. mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, s&p), chili, lean burgers, soup