General Diet Plans and Questions - Super Cheap Healthy Foods?

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03-18-2008, 05:41 PM
Okay guys,

I am a super duper poor college student! To me, it is just as cheap to eat double cheese burgers for one dollar than to go to the store and buy stuff. And, if things are in my refrigerator I tend to eat it all!

So, does anyone have any suggestions for cheap healthy food? I've already thought of cottage cheese, rice cakes, fruit, veggies, and peanut butter. But I really hate cottage cheese and peanut butter, so I would prefer not to eat them that often. I feel like when I make myself eat things I don't like I'm more apt to binge!

I just want cheap stuff I can grab and go because I'm always so super busy!! Any ideas?


03-18-2008, 06:08 PM
How about hummus?

Do you like other nut butters? You don't have to eat pb if you don't like it. Sunflower seed butter is fairly inexpensive. Almond butter is a bit pricey though.

You could eat yogurt instead of cottage cheese. It has the same amount of protein, plus more calcium! Also, you could get lowfat mozzerella sticks or other portioned low fat cheeses.

Canned beans are great to have around too. You can throw some onto salads or make a quick soup or chili.

If you have time you should check out the cookbooks in your local library. There is a "starving college student" series of cook books that have quick cheap healthy recipes.

get fit in ky
03-18-2008, 06:39 PM
I used Recipes for a Small Planet during the hippie days at college. My soon-to-be-husband and I had no money ($5 one week to eat off of). I made garbanzo bean (chickpea) stuffed cabbage leaves in tomato sauce...not bad really, healthy and filling. I was a vegetarian for financial reasons, not for health or social consciousness. To this day, we eat alot of vegetarian meals, but now for the other reasons!

We joined a food co-op in those days and I'd buy lots of dried beans and whole wheat products. Some did require longer prep times, but that was before microwaves! I used a crockpot alot in was the first Christmas present my husband bought me...his relatives thought we were weird!

03-18-2008, 07:05 PM
You're going to have a pretty hard time finding stuff that is healthy, cheap, and doesn't require cooking...because the labor of other people to cook it for you costs money! That's why a dried bean costs less than a canned bean, which costs less than a prepared bean salad. So if your goal is reducing costs to those below the double cheeseburger price, you're probably going to have to do some cooking.

Luckily, there are lots of ways to take healthy, cheap foods and easily prepare them, even if it does take some time and planning. Do you have a crockpot? It might be your new best friend. You can cook countless soups, stews, and main courses from dried beans (and you don't get much cheaper than dried beans). Red beans and rice, lentil soups, black bean soups...all made from cheaper veggies (carrots and celery and onion are all usually inexpensive), dried beans (which are ALWAYS cheap), and chicken broth. Sometimes I add some kind of sausage (just a few ounces, so a package goes a long way). Cheap, filling, and really tasty!

It takes creativity (and some time watching the grocery store sale ads for specials on lean proteins) but you can absolutely eat cheaper than fast food, and so much better. You just have to make the investment of time.

03-18-2008, 07:52 PM
Just to add to mandalinn82's wonderful post, I like to cook several pounds of dried beans at a time in my crockpot and then freeze them in 2 cup increments. That way I can just pull a baggie out the night before I need it instead of opening a can.

03-18-2008, 08:08 PM
Such good ideas! Thank you all so much!!! When I get paid in 2 weeks I'll go to the grocery store and load up on beans : )

03-19-2008, 09:00 AM
I can get tuna 2/$1 sometimes and sardines cheaper than that. Both fabulous foods.

03-19-2008, 09:11 AM
I buy lot's of dried beans. I love chickpeas and lentils because they are so versatile. I use the chickpeas for hummus, to throw in salad, in recipes...etc. Red lentils are my favorite for soup and side dishes. I think beans are the cheapest most nutritious food. Keep us posted.

03-19-2008, 05:36 PM
I come from a very German - read meat and potatoes - family. We never had beans unless we were eating chili. I really don't know what to do with them. Where can I find how to use this food. I have been told to just sprinkle them here and there, but.....would like to know ideas to use them for suppers with the boys. My boys don't really like a lot of soups, but I have tried a couple.

03-19-2008, 05:59 PM
Here's a link to a bunch of bean recipes:

This site is also great if you are trying to save $$$.

03-19-2008, 08:16 PM
Cheap breakfast food = oatmeal (NOT the instant, just the plain kind in a can)

03-19-2008, 09:45 PM
Here's a link to a bunch of bean recipes:

This site is also great if you are trying to save $$$.


03-20-2008, 12:19 AM
I made tons of hummus today and it is absolutely DELICIOUS!

I also made some couscous and steamed some veggies (fresh broccoli, spinich, carrots, califlower)

I only ended up spending about 15 dollars at the grocery store and have food for a week!

Thanks for all the suggestions, it helped a ton!