Can Anyone Offer Cheap Eating Tips?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 15, 2008 9:13 PM GMT
    Hey, so this is the first time I've started a thread since joining. I'm in a bit of a predicament. I am in grad school, and money is tight. I've been losing weight, because I don't have the resources to buy lots of food each week. I don't even fit my size 28 pants anymore, so this is getting a bit ridiculous.

    I wanted to know if you guys had any tips on food items I could get on the cheap that are healthy for you and will keep my weight stable.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Mike icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 15, 2008 9:14 PM GMT
    Oh and I already do Ramen, so don't say that please, haha.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 15, 2008 9:15 PM GMT
    Rice is cheap, eat that instead of wheat based pasta or bread. If you have a freezer handy, buying chicken in the family pack size is normally a better value. Frozen bagged vegetables are usually a decent price.
  • D972

    Posts: 125

    Oct 15, 2008 10:39 PM GMT
    Can you cook? If you can (and even if you can not -- learn) then here is a list of things that I find cheap in my local grocery store:

    Meats that are normally cheap:

    Turkey (ground)
    Tuna (chunk light)
    Pork depending on cut
    Fish - Porgies (though very bony)
    Ground chuck beef (fatty but you can drain the fat)
    Beef stew (though it takes forever to cook)
    Chicken (that has not been clean).
    Eggs

    Vegetables that are cheap

    Beans (good source of protien) - Buy dry, soak them for 2-3 hours throw out water and then cook them til done
    Corn (depending on season)
    Buy frozen vegetables,those are cheap you can reseal the bag and just microwave what you want.

    Cheap starches ----
    Rice is not so cheap these days, but a little goes a long way
    Potatoes are normally cheap
    Yams somewhat cheap
    Pasta -- not the brand name kinds, but the bagged ones that come from italy or wherever else. I've seen sales that have them 2-3 for 1 dollar, or something similar. When you see them stack up. Ronzoni or Barilla is totally overated.

    Make omelets, and mix them with vegetables and left over meats, whatever you can find. You might surprise yourself what you can create. They are quick and easy I find.

    Look out for sales at your local supermarket, take advantage of them. With 1lb of ground meat and whatever bargain pasta sauce, I could normally make 3-4 meals out it back in college. You can even make your own pasta sauce with some ketchup, tomato sauce, onions, and whatever other vegetable you have (add a little sugar for tartness).

    Mostly remember, this (the predicament) is just for a little while. Certainly been there done that. Keep your head up and look out for sales. Its generally cheaper to cook than to buy. look on the internet to find recipes that are simple that use the ingredients you have ;)
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    Oct 15, 2008 11:04 PM GMT
    Potatoes are cheap sources of carbs, as already mentioned. And a baked potato is very easy to microwave, quicker and more energy efficient than a conventional oven, as I learned from instructions on a potato bag:

    1. Wash

    2. Puncture the skin in a few places with a fork.

    3. Wrap in a white paper towel (preferably without printed designs, which can cause the paper to scorch)

    4. Microwave on high anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on size and number. You'll have to experiment to learn your microwave's power. Pause at mid-point and turn the potato(es) over.

    5. Remove hot (hot, hot, hot!) and immediately wrap tightly in aluminum foil, let rest for 5-10 minutes.

    Eat!
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    Oct 15, 2008 11:15 PM GMT
    I made this suggestion to another RJ member, before realizing that he lived in the UK... DUH! But in Virginia, check out your local supermarket, or Sam's Club, Costco, or similar, that now often carry rotisserie-cooked whole chickens for about $6, hot and ready to eat.

    If you have a frig large enough, you can keep it a couple days and get maybe 3 or 4 meals out of it, and chicken is great protein. They're surprisingly inexpensive for all you get, saves you the hassle of cooking it yourself (leftovers from the frig can be micro'ed if you prefer it warm), don't taste half bad, and chicken goes with most veggies. And makes sandwiches you can take to campus, so you don't have to spend money at the cafeteria.
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    Oct 16, 2008 2:55 AM GMT
    Thanks, guys! I'm going to take all this advice to my supermarket!

    I really appreciate your posts.
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    Oct 16, 2008 5:00 AM GMT
    Hey...I understand your budget concerns but try to avoid ramen....loaded with saturated fat and sodium.....why don't you substitute it for a whole grain as your carb base...such as oatmeal.....and be open minded....it's not just for breakfast icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 16, 2008 5:54 AM GMT
    Quick, cheap, and good for you: Here's a great meal that my grandmother made often for her kids and grandkids. Good hearty Italian immigrant fare (simplified for the 15-minute cook):

    Pasta Fagioli

    Heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium heat... probably about 1/4 cup. Slice up a couple of cloves of garlic and cook the garlic in the olive oil. Just as the garlic begins to turn to a golden hue, pour 2 cans of cannelini beans into the pot--the beans with their liquid. Simmer.

    Boil up pasta in a separate pot. I like to use Medium Shells or my favorite for this dish is Chiocciole, which may not be easy to find in many places. Cook the pasta till al dente in salted water. Drain, then combine the pasta with the beans and olive oil sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle a bit of raw olive oil on top.

    That's probably all of about $3.00 and 10 or 15 minutes for a really satisfying meal, and you'll have leftovers, too, for lunch the next day. Best with champagne or vinho verde... but that adds to your bill!
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    Oct 16, 2008 3:51 PM GMT
    Do you have any friends/family that have a Costco membership, or similar type bulk store? Best things I buy there are cottage cheese, eggs, chicken breasts, ground turkey, apples, etc. If you have a freezer, as someone else mentioned, buy in bulk and freeze.

    If you're going to your local supermarket, shop around the outside edges of the store, as that's where the healthier products tend to be (meats, veggies, dairy, etc).

    One thing I've found that is great for making wraps or whatever, are LaTortilla Factory low carb/high fiber/protein whole wheat tortilla's. They taste pretty damn good, are great for you and low in cal. and are pretty cheap too.

    Try cooking brown rice with chicken broth instead of Ramen, it's much better for you and will taste about the same. As others have said, lots of veggies, frozen or fresh depending on how fast you would eat them, russet potatoes (just read an article that says that russets are more nutrient dense than baby reds, etc). I always keep a tub of the organic greens handy, $4 at Costco and it'll last you a week or so, toss in some fresh broccoli or whatever and you have a healthy and filling salad.

    Basically just learn to shop smartly, avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, try not to buy/eat anything "white" (bread, rice, etc). You may pay a bit more, but it will also satisfy your hunger and sate you for longer than something cheaper.

    Good luck!
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    Oct 16, 2008 10:24 PM GMT
    Even cheaper than going to the supermarket is the "Meal Deals" that these big super markets that sever food have going on. . I went to Whole foods@ around 8:00pm after working out and got a big box of food ..Meat with 2 sides for $5.99 . i went in there to buy something to prepare but there is no way i can buy that much food for that price.
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    Oct 16, 2008 10:34 PM GMT
    walmart
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    Oct 16, 2008 10:42 PM GMT
    TheIStrat saidI don't even fit my size 28 pants anymore, so this is getting a bit ridiculous.

    Oh, you're such a bitch! icon_twisted.gif
  • groundcombat

    Posts: 945

    Oct 16, 2008 10:50 PM GMT
    $5 footlongs.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Oct 16, 2008 10:58 PM GMT
    Buy from the bulk sections of the supermarket if you can find them. QFC/Kroger has them and so do a number of other places. Be willing to give up a little on quality when looking for meats (unless you have dietary restrictions).

    Stock the freezer with frozen foods and find a friend that has a Costco membership.
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    Oct 16, 2008 11:03 PM GMT
    When I was in college, I ate Ramen noodles all the time. It was cheaper than the college dining plan and I was broke. I mean really broke. LOL. I don't eat Ramen noodles anymore.

    However, Progresso soups are pretty good and go on sale a lot, so you could pick those up. Also, fresh produce is good for you and a little comfort food (in moderation of course) is cheap and makes you happy. Of course, if you can cook, that's even better. I cannot boil water and last year I set the stove on fire! (Not kidding).

    I wish you the best of luck and an abundant table! ;-) Daniel
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    Oct 16, 2008 11:18 PM GMT
    I second the suggestions to buy whole chickens, not only are they cheaper, but when you fabricate them you can keep the bones and make chicken stock, which included with veg trimmings makes a great soup base. throw in some frozen veggies and pasta or rice and you have a week of meals, from water and waste
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    Oct 16, 2008 11:34 PM GMT
    buy in bulk eg. I buy a 10kg sack of rice each time. That lasts me a few months. I get my chicken from a poultry processing and slaughter place. They supply to most of the supermarkets around here and I pay 50% of what the supermarket charges. Eggs, tuna, pasta(non-gourmet) and usually from Italy(the home of pasta, so should be better than anything else). Buy fruit and veg that are in season, again from markets rather than supermarkets; or get frozen. Keep a lookout for specials when you're out shopping.

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    Oct 16, 2008 11:35 PM GMT
    Money is really tight right now because I'm between jobs, so I'm saving everywhere possible. I'm not especially clever in the kitchen, but for what it's worth, here's what I've been doing:

    Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
    I use low-fat cheese that I buy on sale, cheap whole wheat bread (even though the more expensive "no high-fructose corn syrup" variety is my preference), and "Brummel and Brown" spread. I sprinkle green onion and sesame seeds on the bread -- and sometimes basil or tarragon -- before grilling. The sesame seeds and green onion add lots of flavor. Great with tomato soup which isn't real expensive either.

    Oatmeal Pancakes
    I've found a couple of recipes on this site, and they're great:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/299070/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 16, 2008 11:46 PM GMT
    Oatmeal!
    and yeah, check out the oatmeal thread here on RJ, Dean_pdx has already posted the link just above this one. icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 16, 2008 11:47 PM GMT
    look at the local supermarket ads (usually found in the store if you miss it in the paper) and then you'll know what's the good sale item but you can fix fresh spinach (drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper, a little balsamic vinegar if you have some) just heat in a pan til it cooks down and my supermarket has a "reduced" meat section that always has a dozen packages of various things. Usually 30 - 50% off. There are always seasonal fruits and veggies on sale, so add a meat selection (hamburger patty fried (lean of course) or 1/2 breast of chicken cooked). Grocery store is usually much cheaper than eating out and often you have left overs. Spaghetti is an example, Hunts cans are always 10 for 10 around here...a buck a can, that's enough sauce for at least 3 meals and the spaghetti or other pasta, just see what one is on sale. Meal made right there for only a couple of bucks... inexpensive whole wheat bread with some smart balance, parmesan cheese and garlic powder and your meal is complete. Add a glass of 2 buck chuck and you're now gourmet! Bon Appetite!
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    Oct 16, 2008 11:56 PM GMT
    I always buy the 3 lb bags of frozen chicken breasts at Walmart.There are usually 6 large chicken breasts in each pack for about 6.00. You can buy a hamburger press for about 1.49 as well and then buy family style packages of Lean ground beef for relatively cheap to bring the cost down to about .90 for a good sized burger.On Sundays , you can usually find these hamburger packs at 2 for one at your local grocery.Or you can buy a can of black beans and a can of diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions for about a 1.50, cook them together alone or over rice for a tasty meal..
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    Oct 17, 2008 12:01 AM GMT
    Also. Look for supermarket openings. They have great deals and free food for the first week they are open. Omelets are a super suggestion.
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    Oct 17, 2008 12:11 AM GMT
    I have already accepted I will never have a 28 waist again, but the thought is nice.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 17, 2008 12:48 AM GMT
    Two words:

    TACO BELL

    Or, if you don't like that...

    99-Cent Store.