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Cheap healthy meals?

Many of us have found that food plays a large part in our physical and mental health. Some of us struggle with our relationship with food. What are you eating (or not eating) these days?

Cheap healthy meals?

Postby After » Feb 13, 2013 11:00 pm

Let's start a running list of inexpensive recipes for a healthy diet!!!!!!

Black or red beans and brown rice is a great breakfast, though not paleo, and about the cheapest food in the world. Sometimes I eat beans and rice with just organic butter on them, and sometimes I heat up the cooked beans with some canned tomatoes and taco spices: big pinches of ancho and chipotle chiles, garlic powder, paprika and cilantro; and then small pinches of salt and cayenne. I never really measure how much.

Soups! Making soup extends meat so you end up eating less of the priciest food. It's also a good way to trick yourself into eating veggies. I just simmer a couple of chicken breasts with onions, onion powder, salt, pepper, poultry spices and Rosemary until the water turns into broth (about an hour), then I shred up the chicken and throw it back in the pot, and add chopped broccoli, kale and spinach and heat it up to a boil for five minutes. Sometimes if I remember I throw a few unmeasured handfuls of brown rice in the pot when I throw in the raw chicken, or sometimes I add brown rice noodles for the last several minutes. Then I throw Parmesan cheese on it before serving.

If you're okay with eggs, adding spinach to scrambled eggs is another good way to get vegetables down.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby _ » Feb 14, 2013 12:14 am

Just wanted to mention that BPA is in cans as well with some brands not doing that though like Eden. That stuff is supposed to be pretty bad so i hope you don't get too many canned foods.

Yeah i've been eating a lot of fish recently because I discovered that the mercury isn't an issue as long as the selenium content is higher than the mercury. interesting stuff.

Avocados you don't need to buy organic because the peel protects it against pesticides and it's also not that heavily sprayed I believe. Always good to consult the list of the dirty dozen for pesticides and just buy those organic to save money

what about raw broccoli??? I think it's delicious with some olive oil poured onto it... quick and easy.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby After » Feb 14, 2013 12:24 am

I know about the BPA issue, so I mostly buy frozen or jarred vegetables. But I keep some canned tomato paste in the house for my bean recipe and hope that by not consuming very much I'm not hurting myself.

I didn't think of avacados-- but yeah, you can buy the cheap non-organic versions of anything with a thick rind or shell if you need to, because you can wash it before slicing.

Paleo fudge isn't very cheap, but it's so full of protein you could eat it in place of a meat meal, and in that way it's cheap, cheaper than a bunch of meat. I can't find the recipe with the measurements, but basically you just measure out a large blob of almond butter and a blob a third that size of coconut or other healthy light-tasting oil, then add honey, cocoa powder, and vanilla or peppermint extract to taste and mix it until it looks and tastes like fudge. Then stick it in the freezer for an hour or two to turn it fudge texture, or just eat it soft right away. Makes a good snack after going for a run.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby chiaroscuro » Feb 14, 2013 1:52 am

You can get tomato paste in glass jars! Bionaturae is the brand they carry at my local food co-op -- it's organic too. Last time it was on sale I bought all they had.

This page has some good substitutes for carby things, some aren't too expensive to make: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-substitute/#axzz2KqKuVzy7.

Kale chips are super easy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/kale-chips-recipe-baked_n_2398474.html#slide=1513223

Massaged kale salad... my friend makes a great one with sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and goat cheese, everyone loves it.

To sneak more greens in you can put them in smoothies (my favorite used to be greens, avocado, banana, walnuts, cucumber). Or make pesto! I love arugula pesto.

Frittatas! Easy, delicious, primal, and even if you use fancy-pants farm-fresh free-range eggs (which taste a million times better and are healthier too) costs less than $5 to make.

Kimchee fried rice with eggs...

Root vegetable lasagna... easier if you have a mandolin and can slice them very thin to be like noodles.

I don't know if nettles grow where you live, but if you can find them in a safe (non-sprayed) area they're free to harvest yourself, and basically a super-food.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby After » Feb 14, 2013 2:01 am

I love frittatas, and so does Rosie (my seventeen-month-old)! But her favorite vegetable is roasted Nori seaweed. She eats it like "normal" kids eat chips.

I also like to make mini-pizzas on top of a thin eggplant slice or an upside-down portobello mushroom.

I'm not officially primal or officially anything; I just know from experience that natural whole things make me feel well and processed things don't. I'm still trying to kick the Gatorade habit-- after withdrawing from lithium I suddenly had a major problem with getting enough electrolytes, and it has not gone away all these years later. Nothing natural seems to be enough; I need to guzzle at least one pack of Gatorade a day, and infant Pedialyte on very bad days. I can't drink coconut water because MCP's severely allergic to coconut and can't even have it in the house in case of accidents, and just eating bananas or something isn't enough.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby chiaroscuro » Feb 14, 2013 2:23 am

Yikes... Gatorade is full of awful... have you tried water kefir?

I'm not officially anything either, it's just something I generally shoot for because like you I've noticed it makes me feel better. It used to be easier to eat mostly primal but now that gluten-free is catching on and you can buy bread, bagels, cakes, cookies, pies, cinnamon buns etc I've been slipping bigtime. :(

Also I've developed issues with nuts, which rules out a lot of paleo goodies...
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby fightforroses » Feb 14, 2013 2:35 am

oh, yeah, I always wind up getting the lemon-lime gatorade in the summertime. should probably stop that but drinking it feels soooo good when i've been sweating like a mofo.

tahini is good, i want to make kale chips with that as a partial coating, it's really really good on pasta, which, i've been sticking to just rice noodles to avoid wheat.

homemade sauerkraut, can't get enough of, good thing cabbage is the cheapest possible vegetable, and it's really good with slices of avocados on the side.

i've been eating fish again and using canned tuna and salmon in a lot of things. i try to always stay stocked up too on those bags of clementines, they're like candy and a lot easier/less messy than regular oranges. :-)
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby MyBigTakeOver » Feb 14, 2013 2:38 am

Water kefir is freaking awesome!!! I think there are some extra grains (the culture) in the freezer!

Also, a good blender is worth it's weight in gold in a thrifty kitchen. Almond milk that is just almonds. Fresh ground cumin seeds. Calcium+rich tahini made with itty+bitty+bun+toppers.

<Have you ever tasted watermelon juice?!>

Homeade almond and oat flours for baking?
Homeade hummus?
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby After » Feb 14, 2013 2:39 am

I'll have to look up water kefir... I'm going to try just having water with Emergen-C and both regular salt and potassium salt (which is sold as low-sodium salt substitute) mixed in very strong.

As it is now, I make myself a packet of Gatorade and keep drinking it until it tastes salty (it doesn't at first, it only tastes sweet and I keep guzzling) and then suddenly my head clears and I don't feel dizzy. If I have no electrolyte supplementation I act totally irrational, I can't sleep at all and I just generally feel like crap. My theory is that after 12 years on lithium, my body just got used to expelling salt at a huge rate in order to stay alive. Now it's still learning to keep salt in some quantity.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby sandpiper » Aug 05, 2014 8:35 pm

I just found out about this really cool resource...

It's Leanne Brown's _Good and Cheap_ Cookbook which shows you how to eat on a $4 a day food stamp budget!

Free PDF of her cookbook can be found here...

http://www.leannebrown.ca/cookbooks

Leanne did a kickstarter that raised $144,681 in order help to fund more printed copies so that she can get Good and Cheap into the hands of people who don't have computers or who wouldn't otherwise see it.

She is going to donate or sell her cookbook at a massive discount to organizations that support low-income families on SNAP.

The book is coming out in September, but the PDF is already available, and there are some amazing recipes!!!

What's the book like?

Just download a free PDF and take a look for yourself! But since you asked, it's 132 pages (so far!) of beautifully designed and photographed recipes that fit into a $4/day budget — without seeming like it. This is good food that happens to be inexpensive.

If you downloaded the book when it first when viral, grab a new copy: the earlier version was just a draft, but the final version of Good and Cheap has been edited and redesigned throughout.

Where'd this come from?

I created this cookbook as the capstone project for my master's degree in Food Studies at NYU. I wanted to make something that not only summed up the work I had done during my studies, but also had a useful life outside of academia.

It bothered me that so many ideas for fixing the food system leave out the poor: it seemed like they didn't have a voice in the food movement. I wanted to create a resource that would promote the joy of cooking and show just how delicious and inspiring a cheap meal can be if you cook it yourself.

Even though Food Stamps help millions of people across the United States every day, benefits were reduced in November despite rising food prices. It's more important than ever to make the most of what you have with savvy shopping techniques and skillful cooking. That's Good and Cheap.


ENJOY!!!
Last edited by sandpiper on Aug 05, 2014 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby Dan2013 » Aug 05, 2014 8:40 pm

Very cool, sandpiper! Thanks for the post and the link. Making me hungry ("hunger is the best sauce"). What a great idea that cookbook is.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby sandpiper » Aug 06, 2014 8:49 am

I thought so too, Dan!
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby vivaanedwardd » Jun 10, 2015 9:26 am

1. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals
2. Eat Eggs For Breakfast
3. Drink Coffee (Preferably Black)
4. Drink Green Tea
5. Cook With Coconut Oil
6. Take a Glucomannan Supplement
7. Cut Back on Added Sugar
8. Eat Less Refined Carbs
9. Go on a Low Carb Diet
10. Exercise Portion Control or Count Calories
11. Do Aerobic Exercise
12. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
13. Get Good Sleep
14. Don’t Drink Calories, Including Sugary Soda and Fruit Juices
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby Arcadius » Jul 19, 2015 11:32 am

This thread has tonnes of wonderful advice, if I were to add my own I would say eat fruits with the seasons to make it even cheaper -> this is especially useful in reducing budgets!
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby _ » Oct 26, 2015 4:00 pm

Bump,

I've recently been having tomato juice every day which has been somewhat helpful for my well being. I often get distracted and like to just have something reasonably healthy to just reach for and have. There might be better options but V8 is what I have. This article talks about it. Basically, the fiber is pureed out of it which is important, but it seems to me that as long as you're also having fresh vegetables it shouldn't be much of a problem. There could also be ingredients in V8 or other brands that are hidden in some way and are unhealthy though. Like the supposedly "100 percent orange juice" out there that actually has sugar in it but they use deceptive tactics in order to qualify as listing it as 100 percent oranges or what not...

http://www.livestrong.com/article/40920 ... d-for-you/

More about the nutrional value. (Freshly made being far superiour i'm sure)

"Eating tomatoes can reduce your stress levels. Daily consumption of tomatoes increased vitamin C in the blood and decreased biomarkers for oxidative stress. The best effects occurred when patients ate gazpacho, a vegetable soup that also includes garlic and cucumbers. After just one week of eating gazpacho every day, study participants showed a 25% increase in vitamin C levels."

http://www.newhealthguide.org/Tomato-Ju ... efits.html
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby yellowrose » Oct 26, 2015 10:11 pm

Hi Gerald,

That is interesting about Tomatoes.

Yeah I sometimes wonder about these 100% juices.

Today I had limited cash so I bought basil.for my ragu. I also bought myself a Vita Coco coconut water drink and A a bottle of Coppela cloudy apple juice. Ideally I would eat more fruit. Recently I tried Asian pears and also persimmons which are both lovely.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby naomibardo » Nov 25, 2015 4:23 pm

I think noodle soups are cheap healthy and versatile,you can put all sorts of different things in them once you've got your basic stock base.
heres one I saw on youtube https://youtu.be/GXP_YbWQu2A

and another https://youtu.be/BcMtdDdREmY
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby naomibardo » Jun 10, 2016 5:12 am

If spending "minutes" in the kitchen preparing healthy food is too much hassle,then I would say priorities are completely wrong or something is way out of quilter that needs addressing.Even at my busiest with work and study and other things I would find time to prepare healthy food of some description unless I am completely depressed or dysfunctional in some other way and unable or unmotivated to do so.Sometimes loneliness can drive me to eat out more often just as a way of being in social contact but the cost to do so often would be prohibitive and I can eat much better for the price if I buy the food to cook at home.
I think any attempt to share affordable,easy to prepare healthy food should not be dismissed so easily and saying that life is always too busy is a cop out.There maybe times when our schedules are just too hectic but to say you know all the facts and then just dismiss them is not helpful when people are trying to offer advice on how to integrate a healthy diet in a hectic busy lifestyle or a lifestyle that through illness or lack of adequate motivation for self care is just not helpful.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby FLAMING ATTACK B0T » Jun 10, 2016 7:13 pm

naomibardo wrote:If spending "minutes" in the kitchen preparing healthy food is too much hassle,then I would say priorities are completely wrong or something is way out of quilter that needs addressing.

The title of the thread was "cheap healthy meals". I don't know about wherever you live but cheap and healthy with what the grocery stores offer around here require quite a lot of time in the kitchen, including planning the night before to soak or thaw something most of the time. Anything in the health food aisle in my grocery store is overpriced product for yuppies. The only things I get in that section are "treats" like tahini, coconut milk, one or two other things when I can spare it. I can't buy meat unless it's marked down. Even the low end, mass produced cheese is usually too expensive because I miss the sales most of the time but I buy it anyway. Fresh produce is absurdly expensive, as almost all of it is shipped in. So it's beans and either rice or corn meal with about 2/3 of every meal and then lots of eggs otherwise. I buy produce in mass when it's on sale, chop it and freeze it.

There are bulk stores on the other side of town and in the suburbs which require about half a day if you don't own a car. The "health food" store downtown is completely out of the question unless you're rich. Even the so-called farmer's market, which happens once a week for only half the year, is ridiculed by many as a place only accessible to trendy people with money. The proper farmer's markets disappeared about 15 years ago. There is no such thing as a co-op here either. There is a CSA though but it's "family" sized. The baskets are too big and expensive for a single person though it was nice when I lived with six people. They also don't deliver like the ones in the states do, you have to pick it up.

I fill my pockets with anything that isn't nailed down at cafes and food court counters, especially butter packets. Even my toilet paper is "borrowed" but that's for another thread. Real butter for free though, can't beat that. NOT fucking margarine either, bless you Tim Hortons. I spend a lot of time working on food though, so if I had kids and a job like most people my age I don't think I could manage it unless it was a really good job. Or maybe if I didn't live in a place which is nominally first world but just barely. A lot of families are just leaving this place though.
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Re: Cheap healthy meals?

Postby maamyyrä » Jun 20, 2016 12:36 pm

not sure how this derailed into a moral discussion. it's completely inappropriate.

"Anything in the health food aisle in my grocery store is overpriced product for yuppies."

that's not necessarily true. i mean, what are "health foods"? certainly not the things that are marketed that way. one of the best things one can eat is pure oats, no sugar, nothing. and it is the cheapest thing in the market. also any vegetables bought fresh (and yes, some time of year imported) is cheaper than any sort of convenience products.

my problem is more the lack of skill. there has never been any feminist revolution. if there had been, then housekeeping would still be regarded as a skill to learn like any other still, and men would do it. not the improvised diy housekeeping. but the real learnt skill housekeeping that used to exist. don't get me wrong, i am glad it is not anymore the only job available for women. but it is the one huge thing that shows how there hasn't truly been any equality. otherwise both men and women would be trained to do proper cooking and housekeeping.

the "health" thing still depends on someone's personal philosophy. you can watch documentaries (not to mention read books) backed up by experts that advocate completely opposite things. so i guess, all one can do is to try to make ends meet and avoid the convenience foods and functional foods horror. (and act out odd food beliefs with whatever food congregation you subscribe to if it makes you happy.)
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