Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eating Healthy Food Doesn't Have to be Expensive

Often I hear and read comments like these:
A bag of Cheetos is cheaper than a bag of apples; unhealthy processed foods are more prevalent (and less expensive) than whole foods
I hear people use these as excuses for choosing the less-healthy foods to fill up on.

I would like to offer a few random examples of inexpensive, healthy, and (very important) delicious foods. They may require a little extra time. But often that just requires a little planning ahead.

Bake fresh whole-wheat bread for less than $1 for a 1 pound loaf. It tastes better than anything you can buy in the grocery store, it is more nutritious, and it is satisfying. Freeze whatever you can't use right away. When you thaw it out, it will be as good as fresh. Well, almost. Yes, it requires some up-front costs, like a grain mill and grain. But those are obstacles that can be overcome. (I'll address them in a future post.)

Last week I made Split Pea Soup. Delicious, nutritious, and very inexpensive. I made about a gallon of soup for less than $5. That's 16 cups of soup. That's 31 cents per cup:
$2 for 2 lb. split peas, 38 cents for 2 oz. of ham, and I'm being generous when I figure about $2.50 for a few ribs of celery, a couple of carrots, an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, a couple of teaspoons of thyme, a little freshly-ground pepper, and a little salt. I happened to have a quart of home made chicken broth in the freezer, so I used it in place of some of the water.
When my kids were little, I was a stay-at-home-mom, and I always tried to start the day with a hearty breakfast--things like pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs and toast. Add a glass of milk and seasonal fruit (apple slices, orange slices) or canned fruit (those were the days of home made applesauce and home canned peaches!) and it's a pretty inexpensive meal. Breakfast doesn't have to be eaten in the morning either. It can make a quick, inexpensive supper.

Speaking of breakfast, a bowl of oatmeal costs a lot less than a bowl of any cereal from a box. And it's more nutritious and more filling.

As I said, these are just random examples, but I don't believe you have to choose between eating cheap and eating healthy. You do need to be judicious in your choices, and you need to be willing to cook more from scratch and use fewer prepared foods. But some people--like me--think that's a better way to eat anyway!

What are your inexpensive healthy food choices?


  1. I like to incorporate leftover vegetables, cooked meat or chicken, and wilting lettuce in fried rice. This is inexpensive because it's using up leftovers, including the brown rice (I always make twice as much as needed, just for this purpose).

    1. Great idea, Cindy. I never thought of using lettuce until the SU student from China who is living with the Dippolds cooked it in a dish. It was delicious!