If you’re anything like me, you spent way too much on holiday gifts for your friends and family, and looking at your bank account gives you heart palpitations. You still gotta eat! So here’s my go-to foods to keep you full and out of bankruptcy.
Apples, bananas, and cantaloupe are some of the best budget foods. They’re nutrient dense, high in fiber, and usually less than a dollar per pound. When I want an easy and cheap snack, I go for apples! 100% apple juice is also the cheapest juice!
Potatoes are the most versatile vegetable on the planet. Name one thing potatoes can’t do, I’ll wait. They keep for a long time and are super filling. I love to make a mix of normal and sweet potato fries, smother those babies in some cheddar and you got yourself a meal! I also like to add carrots to my lasagna, pasta sauce, and chili. It adds great flavor and color. You can get a pound of carrots for about $1! Zucchini takes the cake when it comes to the cheapest vegetable, and you can put it in just about everything.
The frozen section is hit and miss in terms of budgeting. If you are tight on cash, steer clear of any pre-made meals. Go for frozen vegetables instead! I add frozen peas to casseroles and use frozen spinach for my artichoke dip. mmmmmm
Do not underestimate the canned food section! Remember to go for the store brand, I promise it all tastes the same. You can make pasta sauce, tomato soup, and pizza sauce from tomato paste. It’s about 50 cents a can, and it needs water, salt, herbs and sugar to be up to par with the jar stuff, but if you already have those things at home it’s a steal. Canned tomatoes, corn, and beans are perfect for soup and are so cheap!
White rice and dry pasta are easy to prepare and can make a sad struggle meal super filling.
Chicken breast and eggs are the cheapest proteins. I buy a large pack of chicken breasts and store half in the freezer for later. I add eggs to ramen either soft boiled or to make an egg drop broth. I also love to put a fried egg on top of roasted veggies, or just hard-boil them for a quick and portable breakfast.
Pro-Tip: Pay close attention to the per ounce and per item prices. Sometimes an item is cheaper overall, but not cheaper per item. I always go for items with a lower per ounce or per item price; the total may be larger, but you are getting more product for your dollar!
Of course It’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while, get some pricey ice cream, make yourself a steak, buy some fancy olives. Remember to only buy foods you will actually eat. A huge money pit is your wasted food. So if you aren’t realistically going to eat it, don’t buy it!
These guidelines have helped me so many times to get out of a financial pinch and still be able to make balanced meals for myself. I hope these tips are helpful for you. Happy shopping!
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Written by Lucie Sullivan on Dec 29, 2020