To get the most bang for your mealtime buck, follow these five key strategies for making healthy dinners on the cheap:
1. Plan ahead to use one night’s leftovers in the next night’s meal. Leftover meat can be a perfect addition to soups, salads, fajitas, or stir fries. Extra veggies can add interest to a salad or omelet.
2. Buy foods in bulk if it’s cheaper, and divvy into smaller portions.
3. Do the work yourself. Pre-sliced, pre-marinated, and pre-cooked foods almost always cost more.
4. Use your freezer. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a budget-friendly way to incorporate out of season produce. Freeze fresh produce when it’s in season for use later.
5. Shop around. Compare prices at local farmer’s markets, ethnic stores, and discount warehouses.
3 meals for less than $3 per person that don’t compromise on nutrition or taste:
For less than the price of an US Weekly magazine, each of these meals provide the protein equivalent of 5-6 ounces of meat, at least one vegetable or salad, and 1-2 servings of starch.
Flank steak soft tacos with a side of broccoli
Flank steak (four ounces) grilled with salt and pepper $1.00
Two La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious High Fiber, Low Carb tortillas $0.89
Diced tomato $0.25
2 tbsp plain low-fat Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream) $0.21
1 cup of broccoli florets, steamed or roasted $0.55
Chicken Parmesan over whole wheat penne with mixed greens salad