need help finding cheap healthy food

  • Hi, everybody. I was just wondering if any of you out there have good ideas on buying healthy but not blowing your budget. I really don't have much money to spend per month on groceries, and as of lately I have been spending around 50-60$ every week, but at this point all of my money goes to that (I only have 70$ to my name every week). My problem is I don't want to just get by on cheap, bad foods even if they are in my calorie range (1500-1600 a day). It just seems that even with me spending that much I don't seem to have much left at the end of each week, so there is a day or too that I don't have healthy foods around. So yeah just looking for suggestions on what all you out there do. Thanks so much
  • Healthy, Affordable, Cholesterol-free And Delicious!
    Veganism on a Budget

    Budget Plan #1
    Here is a weekly meal plan that will be followed by a grocery list, approximate costs, and recipes.

    This meal plan is based on three meals per day for two people.

    Day 1
    Breakfast granola, soy milk, banana
    Lunch grilled "cheez" sandwiches
    Dinner lentil loaf, mashed potatoes/gravy, organic greens salad
    Day 2
    Breakfast potato pancakes, whole grain toast, o.j.
    Lunch leftover lentil loaf and gravy
    Dinner organic greens salad, with broccoli, raw sunflower seeds, tomatoes, red onion, and lemon-olive oil dressing
    Day 3
    Breakfast scrambled tofu, o.j.
    Lunch leftover salad, black bean soup, corn bread, salsa
    Dinner homemade pizza
    Day 4
    Breakfast granola, soy milk, banana
    Lunch leftover pizza
    Dinner blackeyed peas, sesame kale, roasted sweet potatoes, corn bread
    Day 5
    Breakfast granola, soy milk
    Lunch broccoli stir fry and brown rice
    Dinner blackeyed pea burgers on whole grain bread, leftover roasted sweet potatoes
    Day 6
    Breakfast corn cakes, salsa, o.j.
    Lunch organic greens salad, tofu salad sandwiches
    Dinner zucchini linguini marinara, organic greens salad
    Day 7
    Breakfast granola, soy milk
    Lunch leftover zucchini linguini marinara
    Dinner lentil soup, cornbread, organic greens salad

    Shopping List

    Essentials Bulk Produce
    two liters soy milk, (one plain/unsweetened; one vanilla) ($3.50)
    one load whole grain bread ($2.00)
    one 1 lb. package linguini ($1.00)
    two 4 oz. cans tomoat paste ($1.50)
    one 22 oz. can diced or pureed tomotoes ($2.00)
    *olive oil ($6.00)
    *toasted sesame oil ($3.00)
    one gallon orance juice ($3.00)
    *one 5 lb. bag self-rising white corn meal ($2.00)
    two 1 lb. packages firm tofu ($3.00)
    *tamari ($2.50)
    *yellow mustard ($1.00)
    2 14 oz. cans black beans ($2.00)
    one bag frozen fruit ($2.00)
    at least 4 packages baking yeast ($1.00)
    *non-hydrogenated margarine (e.g. Earth Balance) ($2.50)
    salsa ($2.00)
    2 lbs. granola ($2.50)
    1/4 lb. nutritional yeast ($1.50)
    1 lb. green lentils ($1.00)
    garlic powder ($0.25)
    onion powder ($0.25)
    dried basil ($1.00)
    cumin ($0.50)
    1 lb. whole grain flour ($0.30)
    1 lb. brown rice ($1.00)
    1 lb. oats ($0.70)
    1 cup raw sunflower seeds ($0.50)
    1 lb. blackeyed peas ($1.00)
    sesame seeds ($1.00)
    4 bananas ($1.00)
    5 lbs. potatoes ($2.50)
    4 sweet potatoes ($2.00)
    2 lbs. broccoli ($3.00)
    1 bunch kale ($1.00)
    2 bunches romaine ($2.00)
    1/2 lb. mushrooms ($1.00)
    1 large red onion ($0.50)
    1 large tomato ($0.50)
    2 lemons ($0.50)
    3 large zucchini squash ($1.50)
    1 bulb garlic ($0.50)
    1 small ginger ($1.00)

    *items that will last more than one week

    Total estimated cost: $68.00 , or $33.50 per person.

    grilled cheez sandwiches

    1 cup nutritional yeast
    1 tablespoon yellow mustard
    1 tablespoon white flour
    1 cup unsweetened soy milk
    1 tsp. onion powder
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. salt

    put all dry ingredients in sauce pan, turn on medium heat
    add mustard
    and soy milk, stirring until thick and bubbly

    lemon-olive oil dressing

    1/2 cup olive oil
    juice of 2 lemons and lemon pulp
    salt and pepper
    1 clove of minced garlic

    mix all ingredients together and toss into salad.

    scrambled tofu

    1 lb. firm or extra firm tofu
    1/2 cup chopped onions
    2 tablespoons tamari
    1 tsp. garlic powder or 2 cloves minced
    1 cup chopped veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, and spinach are all good)

    mash tofu, leaving some chunks
    fry everything together in olive oil until tofu is browned.

    black bean soup

    2 14 oz. cans black beans
    1 chopped red bell pepper
    1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    salt and pepper

    saute onion, red pepper, and onion.
    add beans, tomatoes and spices and simmer 20 min.

    corn bread

    2 cups self-rising white corn meal (martha white is a good brand)
    2 cups unsweetened soy milk
    1/4 cup vegetable oil

    to make a really good corn bread, a 9" cast iron skillet works best. if you don't have one, any 9"x9" or 9" baking pan will work

    stir corn meal and soy milk together. it should be a thick batter.
    put oil in pan and spread evenly on bottom.
    add batter and bake at 400 for 20 min.
    corn bread should begolden brown on top.

    homemade pizza

    2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 tablespoon baking yeast
    1 cup warm water (90*-110*)
    1 tsp. sugar or other sweetener
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup olive oil.

    mix 1 cup flour with the yeast and sweetener.
    add water and whisk.
    let sit for 10 min.
    add salt, oil, and remaining flour (gradually) until dough forms.
    dough should not be sticky-if it is, add a little more flour.
    form dough into ball and let sit 20 min. in a towel-covered bowl in warm spot.
    roll or press out until the size of your pan (13x9" or round pizza pan).
    onto well-oiled pan, place crust.
    *this crust recipe can also be used to make yummy breadsticks or calzones.

    1 small can tomato paste
    1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
    1 cup water
    3 cloves minced garlic
    1/4 cup basil
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. oregano

    mix all ingredients well.
    spread thick layer of sauce on crust. if there is any left over, use it to dip the crust edges in.

    cheezy topping:
    1 lb. tofu, mashed well
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    juice of 1 lemon
    1 tsp. salt

    mix all together and use it to top the pizza.
    *add any chopped veggies you like. veggie pepperoni, gimme lean "sausage", or bbq seitan are also good additions.

    cook your pizza:
    cover pan with foil and bake at 350 for 20 min.
    remove foil and bake at 400 15 more minutes.
    crust should be brown on bottom and veggies cooked.

    blackeyed peas

    1 lb. dry blackeyed peas, soaked overnight (use plenty of water in a large pot)
    salt and pepper

    drain soaked peas in colander and rinse.
    fill pot with at least 2 qts. water.
    add peas and bring to a boil.
    reduce heat to medium and cook for about 3 hrs., adding more water if necessary.
    peas should be soft.

    roasted sweet potatoes

    3 lg. sweet potatoes, washed and cut into chunks.

    spread potatoes evenly onto baking sheet and brush or drizzle with olive oil.
    sprinkle with salt and bake at 400 about 25-30 min. until potatoes are browned.

    sesame kale

    one large bunch kale, washed and stemmed.

    cut kale into thin strips and saute in 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil.
    add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and a little tamari. yum-yum!
  • You can save even more money by using beans and legumes from bulk bins instead of buying canned ones. Buy larger sizes of staple foods that you'll use regularly and split up max-packs with a friend to save! GOOD LUCK!
  • Grocery costs vary a lot place to place and I don't know what sort of diet you're on, so I'll just try to give general advice. First, look at sale flyers. I buy lots of fruit and veggies, but mostly what's on sale. So lately we've had lots of apples, bananas, pears and even some strawberries for fruit. Veggies have been green pepper, radish, green onion, leaf lettuce, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, onions, zuchinni, broccoli. With that I've made green soup, curried vegtables (served with brown basmati), big salads, and a big pot of veggie soup. At different times of year, I end up eating different foods and I plan my meals by what's on sale rather than deciding what I want to eat and then going into the store.

    Use beans (canned or dried) or lentils or tvp instead of meat. Veggie chili is cheap to make and can be frozen in individual servings. Lentil soup is cheap and easy and ditto on the freezing. Bean burritos are filling and good. Spices and herbs are key there to making food good.

    We eat a lot of yogurt (among other things) at my house, so when it's on sale, I buy a lot of it so that I don't end up paying more for the same product later in the month when we run out. After watching sales flyers for a while, you get to know how often different items go on sale, so you know how much to buy at one time.
  • thanks soo much for the help, yeah I am not on any certain diet just watching what i eat, only whole grains, lean meats, and lots of fruits and veggies. One of my biggest problems is that I own my own business so I leave my house at 7:30am to go to the gym then I have mabye 45 minutes at home before I go to work, and then i am only home for a couple of hours before I go to sleep, so that is a big problme too because i don't really have a lot of time to prep or cook. oh and i forgot to add that I live in montana, so sometimes fresh produce isn't always very cheap.
  • One thing I do is to look for sales on high dollar items (like meat) then buy in bulk and freeze it. The other day I bought 8lbs of boneless chicken at half the price it would normally cost. Then I split it all into serving sizes appropriate for a meal for me and my fiancee and froze them. I do that with bread as well. Since I never eat an entire loaf before it goes moldy, I freeze half into individual portions. You can reuse freezer bags that were NOT used to store meat. Putting bread in the fridge also keeps it fresh and unmoldy longer.

    Long grain rice, Whole wheat cuscous, whole wheat pasta, tabouli, these things usually cost around a dollar and are not only cheap and healthy, they're easy to prepare. If you're eating alone, only make what you need for your meal and store the rest in an air-tight container. Or make the whole box and eat the rest as leftovers. Or freeze the leftovers for an easy meal later.

    Ask around about local farmers markets or direct sellers of fruits and veggies. Lots of people have gardens and sell their veggies out of their yard at a fraction of the cost of what you can get it in the store. The quality and taste are generally better as well.

    Aside from that, I know sweet potatos are very inexpensive and are good for you, and low in fat and cals. Roasted, they usually don't need any sort of seasoning, so they're pretty much the cheapest thing you can eat.