Good Eating On A Budget

  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 26, 2012 9:58 PM GMT
    Hey, Three adults to feed on $160/week. Suggestions welcome on eating healthy on this budget. I am looking to lose a lot of weight.
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    Dec 26, 2012 10:22 PM GMT
    Go to the supermarket check-out and notice how the mexican women are buying a heaping cart full of food for the same price as the small sack of junk food that most of the single guys are buying.

    There are different ways to do it. Lots of fresh vegetables, complex carbs, and relatively inexpensive protein sources.

    Avoid rip-offs like anything labeled "natural," "organic," or similar magical-thinking nonsense, except in the rare cases when there isn't any identical less expensive alternative.
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    Dec 26, 2012 10:56 PM GMT
    If you haven't already, learn to cook. Then you can buy veggies and meats, and cook your own meals. That's the healthiest (and cheapest) way to eat.
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    Dec 26, 2012 10:59 PM GMT
    Eggs from Costco by the gross.
    Farmers markets at the end of the day.
  • KJayasuriya

    Posts: 1253

    Dec 26, 2012 11:08 PM GMT
    I was going to say the same thing. Farmers Markets are awesome. The prices are very affordable and I believe everything is organic. icon_smile.gif
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    Dec 27, 2012 12:25 AM GMT
    Crockpots are wonderful and really difficult to mess up. Once I discovered regular oats cooked in a rice cooker, that has been my breakfast of choice for years now.

    Thanks to the midwest drought over the summer, Beef prices are still hovering north of $5 a pound. Chicken is most likely the least expensive protein available.


    Energy cost concerns drove me to do more with my Microwave oven besides warm things up. Recently discovered I could boil brown rice in the microwave without the special "microwave pasta maker" (oval-shaped plastic container). Just never had the courage to set the time longer than 10 minutes.


    Costco sells ground beef at $3.50 a pound. Stew meat scraps sell for $5 a pound. I found the 50 cents a pound discount on the scrap meat not worth the effort to trim the fat off of the smaller pieces compared to a regular cut of meat.

    Also, check out the grocery offerings at Target (and, if you must, WalMart...) In the end, not everything at Costco is a screaming buy unless you compare it to a regular grocery store...

  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 27, 2012 12:27 AM GMT
    fruits and veggies are super cheap. don't buy any pre-made meals. if you don't know how to cook, invest in a crock pot ad george forman grill
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    Dec 27, 2012 12:38 AM GMT
    Here in San Francisco, in the Latino groceries, the fruit and veggies are like half the price of the supermarkets. If you have those in your area, check them out. Also the meat is much cheaper but not great quality. It's the kind that would be good for stews and stuff.

    Btw. I can feed myself a whole week on one pot of stew!
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    Dec 27, 2012 12:41 AM GMT
    $160 a week is totally doable, you just have to cook in bulk. Big pots of stews and soups are your best bet for buck bang because they tend to feed a few people for a few days lunch and dinner. I usually cook up two different dishes Sunday night and make it through the week just fine. It's usually too much for me and I wind up taking in some for my coworkers. Load 'em up with your favorite veggies and some chicken and you are good to go! Just stay away from dining out and you should be fine!
  • mmmship

    Posts: 152

    Dec 27, 2012 12:52 AM GMT
    Are u a coupon person? Do u check out circulars? Groupon? Amazonlocal? Even eBay can be a good revenue to save money. Almost everytime I go to the supermarket, I would fill my cart up with on sale items ONLY. never fall into the trap of buying something at regular price just because u saved on something else. And if u want something, use ur phone to check if u can purchase that item online for cheaper (including shipping).

    How much do u pay for ur utilities? There are many ways to save money on that too! Since u say that $160 is ok with u, maybe you wanna check to see how else u can save on ur utilities..
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    Dec 27, 2012 2:07 AM GMT

    Why not replace some of the meat components of your dishes with lentils and chickpeas etc??

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    Dec 27, 2012 2:21 AM GMT
    Fruits and Veggies are def not cheap in NYC! lol
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    Dec 27, 2012 2:31 AM GMT
    I never pay more than 50c /lb for produce. Every supermarket always has a few seasonal fruits and veggies (one or two at the lease) at that price or less (it's orange season so they're 33-44c/lb. Depending on the degree you wish to invest in cooking processes you can save lots of money on that. I just made a huge loaf of bread from scratch off of 3 1/2 cups of flour, some salt, honey and water (and yeast).
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Dec 27, 2012 3:08 AM GMT
    You can really save with some coupons, but it drives me crazy watching them all. I keep an eye out for the circulars from the two groceries that I normally shop: Kroger and Food Lion. I also have their discount cards and they really do help. If you buy canned or frozen veggies, look for the store brands, You are getting the nutritional equivalent and saving. Store $0.67 and Del Monte $1.09 recently.

    Costco is worth it if you know how to shop, but be careful. You really need to know prices. Compare quality, too. We recently bought a special on an eight-pack of Barilla pasta that made it as cheap as the cheapo store brand and it is a lot better stuff. Also bought some nice thick steaks. they broil much, much better than thin ones. Actually about the same price per pound as the thin grocery ones, so we just broil one for the two of us and cut it in half.

    If you have a freezer, use it. Turkey is cheap now, already frozen and can be great in February.



    .
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    Dec 27, 2012 4:46 AM GMT
    tanlejos said
    Why not replace some of the meat components of your dishes with lentils and chickpeas etc??

    Because lentils and chickpeas only enhance the flavor of meat...not replace it.
  • mmmship

    Posts: 152

    Dec 27, 2012 2:07 PM GMT
    Wait the sec. Every supermarket has different prices. You really really need to and should seriously talk to the ladies who know what they are doing. Ask the experts! Dont be that "typical" straight guy who refuses to ask question. Socialize with them and learn something new.
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:15 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidGo to the supermarket check-out and notice how the mexican women are buying a heaping cart full of food for the same price as the small sack of junk food that most of the single guys are buying.

    There are different ways to do it. Lots of fresh vegetables, complex carbs, and relatively inexpensive protein sources.

    Avoid rip-offs like anything labeled "natural," "organic," or similar magical-thinking nonsense, except in the rare cases when there isn't any identical less expensive alternative.


    Common sense and doable. Thanks.
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:17 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidIf you haven't already, learn to cook. Then you can buy veggies and meats, and cook your own meals. That's the healthiest (and cheapest) way to eat.


    Sounds like a good New Year's resolution. I have more time now and so should be able to learn a quick meal plan or two. Thanks for the advice.
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:18 PM GMT
    GAMRican saidEggs from Costco by the gross.
    Farmers markets at the end of the day.


    We do have a Costco,but membership prices are up. I like the idea of a farmers market. I think we might have one here in Hesperia. I will have to check online. Thanks for the help.
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:23 PM GMT
    RobertF64 saidCrockpots are wonderful and really difficult to mess up. Once I discovered regular oats cooked in a rice cooker, that has been my breakfast of choice for years now.

    Thanks to the midwest drought over the summer, Beef prices are still hovering north of $5 a pound. Chicken is most likely the least expensive protein available.


    Energy cost concerns drove me to do more with my Microwave oven besides warm things up. Recently discovered I could boil brown rice in the microwave without the special "microwave pasta maker" (oval-shaped plastic container). Just never had the courage to set the time longer than 10 minutes.


    Costco sells ground beef at $3.50 a pound. Stew meat scraps sell for $5 a pound. I found the 50 cents a pound discount on the scrap meat not worth the effort to trim the fat off of the smaller pieces compared to a regular cut of meat.

    Also, check out the grocery offerings at Target (and, if you must, WalMart...) In the end, not everything at Costco is a screaming buy unless you compare it to a regular grocery store...



    We have a crock pot. Somebody is always home so combine that with learning a few recipes could be a winner. Got an email, did not know there are grocery deal blogs out for my area. So will be checking that out weekly. Should save some time looking through ads. Thanks for the input.
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:26 PM GMT
    calibro saidfruits and veggies are super cheap. don't buy any pre-made meals. if you don't know how to cook, invest in a crock pot ad george forman grill


    Got both, now I need to use them. Time management is a concern, but am on vacation now and will play with cooking. Thanks -- nice pic. by the way. Woof!
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:31 PM GMT
    Roguewave saidHere in San Francisco, in the Latino groceries, the fruit and veggies are like half the price of the supermarkets. If you have those in your area, check them out. Also the meat is much cheaper but not great quality. It's the kind that would be good for stews and stuff.

    Btw. I can feed myself a whole week on one pot of stew!


    We do have a couple here in Hesperia -- Vallarta and Cardino's. They are real supermarkets. Just checked our local blogger for ad comparison's but they do not list these. But I can sure check their two weekly ads easily.

    Thanks for the help.

    BTW - Got an Irish Pub Cookbook for Christmas -- lots of veggie, cheap meat and stew recipes.

  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:33 PM GMT
    Apex0111 said$160 a week is totally doable, you just have to cook in bulk. Big pots of stews and soups are your best bet for buck bang because they tend to feed a few people for a few days lunch and dinner. I usually cook up two different dishes Sunday night and make it through the week just fine. It's usually too much for me and I wind up taking in some for my coworkers. Load 'em up with your favorite veggies and some chicken and you are good to go! Just stay away from dining out and you should be fine!


    Great advice, and it sounds great as it does get chilly up here in the desert in winter. Nice way to spend a Saturday or Sunday pm.
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:43 PM GMT
    mmmship saidAre u a coupon person? Do u check out circulars? Groupon? Amazonlocal? Even eBay can be a good revenue to save money. Almost everytime I go to the supermarket, I would fill my cart up with on sale items ONLY. never fall into the trap of buying something at regular price just because u saved on something else. And if u want something, use ur phone to check if u can purchase that item online for cheaper (including shipping).

    How much do u pay for ur utilities? There are many ways to save money on that too! Since u say that $160 is ok with u, maybe you wanna check to see how else u can save on ur utilities..


    Thanks. Will check out the utilities, but have someone sick at home and need to keep it comfortable. Looking into saving for an swamp cooler (evaporative cooler) as I live in the high desert and it only gets in the low 100's in summer. Friends say I could cut my electricity use in half.

    I do coupon to stretch the budget and I generally save about 30%. Now, as I am committed to eating better, I am looking for match ups for healthy foods too. Just checked a healthy couponer blog and sure enough there are deals, not as many as the crappy stuff, but still great deals. I think I need to get a freezer to store meat.
  • Alki

    Posts: 92

    Dec 27, 2012 3:46 PM GMT
    tanlejos said
    Why not replace some of the meat components of your dishes with lentils and chickpeas etc??



    I have eaten these. Will add them to a recipe. The challenge is accepted.