Any tips for making cheap and healthy meals?

I'm in college and ordered take out for most of the semester, so my New Years resolution is to eat as healthy as possible. Being cheap would be a bonus.

Any suggestions or links to point me in the right direction?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Alright, I've actually got a TON of experience in this.
    Due to certain medical conditions, everything I eat is home cooked, and 90% of it is organic. It's actually a lot cheaper than when we could get bags of frozen food and prepackaged stuff. You end up going to the store more often, but if you do it right you can get away with only actually cooking a few times a week, rather than every day. So my diet consistes of mostly chicken, turkey, and beef for meat, and carrots, broccoli, leeks, and potatoes for vegetables. It's pretty limited, and obviously you can use way more than me, but even with what I can eat, we make a lot of different things. The trick is to cook in cycles so you don't throw out stuff. Make food that will give you leftovers for 4 days (about how long you should keep food in the fridge before tossing it). What we do is pick two or three things we want to eat that weeks and alternate. Like this week is burgers and fries, and breaded chicken with veggies and potato wedges. So we made enough of each for 4 days and for lunch and super we alternate. We also save everything to use later. The grease from the burgers is frozen for gravy later. The crust of the bread is frozen for breaded chicken later. Bones from turkey and chicken and saved for stew, or we use the broth to cook rice in for extra flavour. It really depends on how healthy you want to go. Like we are pretty extreme. Anything with preservatives or artificial colours, etc is a big NO.
    But in the long run cooking organic and healthy is actually cheaper for us. And, it's made it really easy to keep my weight the same. Again, certain medical conditions limit my mobility. I haven't really been able to do much physical activity for 3 years. And I eat big portions for my size (I'm about 5'4), plus, I eat bread EVERYDAY. Like french toast is my breakfast every morning with a shit tone of syrup. Plus every week I eat breaded chicken, burgers (so I eat the buns too). So lots of carbs, but with an all natural diet and no sugar other than the syrup and some cane sugar in the bread and buns, my weight has stayed consistently at around 120.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Every Sunday I do meal prep for the week, I'll make lunch and dinner for mon/tue/wed and box up thurs and Friday and freeze it. I choose three meals and buy in bulk then we can choose on that day what to eat.
    I only freeze certain meals as others don't do as well.
    Bulk foods like lasagne, curries, satay chicken, savoury mince freeze well and can be stretched further with grated vegetables in the sauces.
    Grilled meat with sweet potato mash and steamed greens will last a few days in the fridge and reheat well

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What Guys Said 13

  • Blend a steamed chicken breast with some juices for morning = healthy as f

    Eat some normal food and some salad for lunch.

    Get something that are not so greasy or too much fat, you can find them easily

    Example:
    5 small potatoes (about 400g),
    scrubbed and cut into wedges,
    1 onion, halved and sliced,
    2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped,
    ½ tsp dried oregano or ½ tbsp chopped fresh oregano,
    2 tbsp olive oil,
    ½ lemon, cut into wedges,
    2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges,
    2 fresh skinless pollock fillets (about 200g),
    small handful parsley, roughly chopped

    Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Tip the potatoes, onion, garlic, oregano and olive oil into a roasting tin, season, then mix together with your hands to coat everything in the oil. Roast for 15 mins, turn everything over and bake for 15 mins more

    Add the lemon and tomatoes, and roast for 10 mins, then top with the fish fillets and cook for 10 mins more. Serve with parsley scattered over.

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  • How about a middle ground?

    The problem with take out is not that it is unhealthy (although it can be), it is that it costs you 5 to 10x more than you can make for yourself.

    When I was in grad school, my food budget was $8/week (About $14.75 today, although many groceries have become cheaper in relative terms).

    When you shop, buy what is on sale AND is a good value compared to alternatives. You need calories, protein, and vitamins. Find what is the best value for each. When a fruit is in season and cheap, buy a lot. slice it and freeze it. Use beans, rice, and potatoes for your staples. Use a variety of spices and cook in different ways.

    Don't worry too much about eating "healthy" at your age, as long as you are not overweight, you can eat anything. It becomes a challenge as you get older, but not for most 18 year olds.

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  • Buy good quality meat and thin slice it. Soak it in a marinade and flash fry it up. Throw that on top of romaine lettuce and top with bacon, salt and pepper.
    Add tomatoes, other veggies suitable to taste.

    Drink with tea and a touch your favorite fruity syrup [sweet flavor covered here]

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    • FYI, this is MUCH cheaper than takeout and much healthier.
      Play around with beef, chicken, pork tenderloin, maybe even lamb.
      Sauces can be Korean BBQ, Indian, italian spices and basalmic vingar, hell even lemon and pepper will work.
      You can also try adding various cheeses to it.
      But the flavor of the meat + spices changes the salad.
      And if you want starch then instead of salad drop that on top of rice, paste noodles or with spiced red potatoes.

  • you can supplement your diet with roasted soy, it's cheap and effective protein, and should be really cheap too

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  • take out isn't that expensive, especially in girly portions.

    just eat lots of 6" subway sandwiches.

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  • Shop at dollar tree.

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  • Buy lots of ready to microwave steam, frozen vegetables. Have that with every single meal.

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  • beans and rice. no butter.

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  • Boil your food instead of frying it. Stay off sugary drinks.

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  • Soup - morning, noon and night

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  • Buy organic food in bulk at wholesale stores.

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    • I'm not sure what to buy though.

      I google it and they don't tell me how to make it into an actual meal

    • Quinoa, Alfalfa Sprouts, Probiotics, Veggie Burgers, Vegetables, etc.

  • get tons of ramen and a water heater

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  • Cereal. Even the sugary ones have many vitamins and very few calories. Like 110 calories usually. Even with the little bit of milk (which has more vitamins) it ends up like a 200 calorie meal.
    Cottage cheese, and saltine crackers or Ritz crackers are good for a snack instead of candy or chips too.

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What Girls Said 5

  • Chicken. Chicken. Chicken.

    Chicken is your best friend while eating healthy on a budget. Chicken, canned/frozen vegetables, frozen fruits and stores such as ALDI.

    I used to buy a weeks worth of food for $24! That's insane. I got chicken, fruits and vegetables. Sit down and calculate how much you can spend on food in a week and stay within that budget. You can do it.

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  • Buy a crock pot (or ask santa to visit the sale aisle) and start cooking in bulk. You can make a ton of super easy and cheap recipes with cheap cuts of meat that will last you several days.

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  • My bruv and I live on huge pots of veg curry. Get ingredients from local Indian supermarkets at about one quarter of normal cost.

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  • try rolled oats! Which is only known as overnight oats.. Add chia seeds, milk and oats soak overnight. And when you going to eat, you can simply add some nuts and fruits! it tastes good!

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  • i have some whole grain cereal/nuts with sugarfree/fatfree yogurt or almond milk in the morning everyday 😊😊

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