Eating healthy on a budget has been a topic many of my readers are interested in learning about. My diet consists of plant-based foods and it has helped maintain my weight loss and clear up my severe acne problems. I’ve lost over 60 pounds with a healthy diet and moderate exercise.
I’m a college student and a full-time blogger, while simultaneously trying to hit a goal of $10,000 in my savings account. You can read about how I’m saving so much as a student here.
I spend about $5-$7 on food daily. When I was overweight, I was spending anywhere from $20+ on food daily, especially since processed, high sugary foods are addictive, which lead me to eat more and more. I was tired and moody, depressed, and life didn’t really feel all that enjoyable. Eating healthy foods drastically changed my life.
1. FRUIT (BANANAS, APPLES, ORANGES OR IN SEASON FRUIT).
Fruits, such as bananas, oranges, and apples are usually inexpensive year round. Bananas can be great by themselves or mixed into smoothies or oatmeal. I even like making ice cream with frozen bananas, peanut butter and dark chocolate on top. Simple, quick and easy delicious snack that is also healthy.
Tip: Stay away from prepackaged fruit at all costs. It’s overpriced and marked up simply for the convenience of being sliced.
2. RICE AND OATMEAL.
I usually buy a large container of oatmeal for about $3.00. This will last me a month or more, depending on if I use it for other recipes as well. I love making oatmeal every morning and I also enjoy making oatmeal cookies. A simple and quick recipe would be mixing together oatmeal, banana, cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, and drops of Hazelnut. The riper the banana, the better.
Related: If you want to save money and time, try out $5 Meal Plan and they’ll send you monthly meal plans with shopping lists, recipes, and more attached. Eating healthy on a budget has never been easier with meal plans getting sent straight to your inbox.
3. STIR FRY – MY GO-TO MEAL
Frozen vegetables at the store for 2 people range anywhere from $2-$5. Mix in some chopped tofu, beans, rice, legumes for added protein. I also add in an Asian sauce, which varies from General Tso sauce to one of Annie’s dressings.
Investing in a spiralizer is a great way to eat more veggies and create healthier meals. Making healthy pasta at home is easier than ever.
4. VEGETABLES SUCH AS KALE, BROCCOLI, CUCUMBERS, AND MORE.
Vegetables such as broccoli and carrots are usually always fairly inexpensive. These vegetables can be used in soups as well. Vegetable broth is inexpensive and soup can go a long way, and be very filling when filled with many vegetables and beans. Although store bought soups can be cheap, I would definitely recommend staying away from them as they are usually filled with sodium and other processed ingredients.
Tip: Use Ibotta to save money on healthy foods at the store. Get $10 just for signing up here.
Nuts such as peanuts are very cheap, and although peanut butter is pretty inexpensive as it is, it’s also not a bad idea to make your own peanut butter. I’d stay away from more expensive nuts, like almonds and cashews. All you have to do is dump a good amount of peanuts into a food processor and blend it. Take breaks between blending and stir the mixture and blend again.
Related: I highly recommend checking out the 14-Day Lean Clean meal plan if you are trying to lose weight or get healthier. The book is filled with tons of useful information (over 200 pages worth!). The foods and recipes included in this book are very affordable and is backed by scientific studies to help you lose weight.
6. HUMMUS AND VEGETABLES.
Hummus is my go-to when I want a filling snack in a pinch. I’ve even made my own hummus, which I plan on sharing on my blog. Hummus is by far the easiest food to make and only needs 3 or 4 ingredients to prepare. I blend a can of garbanzo beans, add lemon juice, salt, and have homemade hummus for a fraction of the cost at the store.
Tip: If you buy workout gear often online, I encourage using Ebates. It’s extremely easy to use. All you do is find the store you regularly shop through Ebates, and then you shop. It’s that easy and you’ll get cash back on all of your purchases. Get $10 for signing up here.
7. BEANS (KIDNEY, BLACK, ETC.)
Beans are relatively cheap and can be put in many meals. They can be used as a substitute in certain meals or as a side. They are delicious too! I use beans often when I’m in a hurry to make food.
A simple recipe for me includes: 1 cup black beans | 1 cup corn | handful of spinach | half avocado | salsa | hot sauce | 1 tortilla
You can get 1 pound of veggie pasta for under $1.50, tomato sauce for under $3, and add mushrooms, spinach, and other vegetables to create a cheap meal that is both fillings and has a lot of nutrients.
Potatoes are one of the cheapest foods in the world, and although many people are afraid of them, they shouldn’t be. I eat potatoes daily to sustain my 60-pound weight loss. You can turn them into fries, make loaded sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes cut them up into stir fry’s and so much more. If you’re still afraid of fries, I recommend reading The Starch Solution.
10. NUTRITIONAL YEAST
If you’re trying to cut out cheese, nutritional yeast is the way to go. It’s packed with B12, and is great on soups, sandwiches, popcorn, pasta, rice, and everything! Seriously, I have yet to meet someone who isn’t a fan of nutritional yeast.