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Low cost healthy meals thread.

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by KagamineLen, Sep 12, 2021.

  1. KagamineLen

    KagamineLen Video game and movie addict. V.I.P Member

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    I have decided to start making healthier choices in my life, so I have decided to stop eating so many unhealthy things and change my lifestyle to what I want it to be.

    I just made beans and brown rice with frozen vegetables, canned chipotles and a little bit of shredded cheddar on top. It actually is incredibly yummy, I had to be careful not to eat too much of it just now. The chipotles added most of the flavor.

    I also have started eating more salads with this low fat yogurt based dressing that is only 40 calories per two tablespoon serving. It costs more than other dressings, but it is worth it.

    What are some low cost healthy meal ideas that you engage in?
     
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  2. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That sounds like a good meal. Are there certain things related to health that you're trying to improve (e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, weight)?
     
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  3. KagamineLen

    KagamineLen Video game and movie addict. V.I.P Member

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    I basically am trying to lose my belly fat, mainly. All of the fat on my body is located in my belly, which is extremely unhealthy.
     
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  4. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I hear you. I find that using a calorie counting app really helps me to establish a weight loss goal and then stick to it. While some people dislike tracking and entering the things they eat I find it interesting and I like the detail.

    Low cost healthy meal items:

    Cabbage. There are so many things you can do with it and it keeps for a long time. It fills you up. It's tasty if you sautee it on fairly low heat for a fairly long time until tender. Canned tuna is also healthy if consumed once in awhile. Actually, both are low calorie and good together. You can make a large amount of sauteed cabbage, tuna and mac and cheese. The cabbage has negligible calories as does the tuna.
     
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  5. Yeshuasdaughter

    Yeshuasdaughter You know, that one lady we met that one time. V.I.P Member

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    Salad!

    Make a bed of rice. Cover it with a nice hearty salad, and some freshly grilled chicken on top of that. My favorite kind of salad to make.
     
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  6. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Be patient. I knew a guy who lost his belly but was left with skin folds. It takes time for the skin to tighten up. Up to a year.

    Anything that fills you up like nuke a sweet potato, then load up with vegan meat or beans and seasoning. I use popcorn seasoning, low in calories. I have taco cheese right now. I mix it with plain nonfat yogurt, tastes like rich sour cream. Taco seasoning packets, buy those and sprinkle what you need on your beans. I use the little coffee creamers to flavor plain yogurt. Take yogurt high in protein with bananas and blend and pour in juice or milk and blend. This will fill you up for sometime. Bulk up on cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, these are filling and will satisfy the psychological feeling of needing to feel full. Finally- popcorn. Lower in calories, good for fiber, but find fat free microwave or low fat bag for Friday nite movies with a low calorie seltzer so popular right now. Good luck☺ Let us know what works for you.
     
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  7. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    belly fat is usually carbs, so I'd cut down on them. which leaves you with meat/veg. Booze weight drops away pretty quick, once you start shedding it.

    Chicken is pretty cheap, chicken soup, chicken curry, whatever.
     
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  8. Yeshuasdaughter

    Yeshuasdaughter You know, that one lady we met that one time. V.I.P Member

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    Another easy recipe is "Enchilada Rice".

    Put rice in a pot with enough water to cook it with. Chop up a couple of chicken breasts into the pot. Add lots of veggies, the more the merrier. Boil it all together until the rice and the chicken are done, adding more water as needed.

    Stir in a small can of enchilada sauce, and any other seasonings to round out the flavor. You can either serve it like that, or stuff tortillas with it for burritos or tacos.
     
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  9. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I find it's the exercise alongside that is also very beneficial. Getting out and walking, cycling swimming etc. Lifts my mood and helps me be determined, plus is just plain interesting in taking me out and about.

    Outdoor work of any kind too. Get an allotment if available?
     
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  10. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There are a lot if great recipes on YouTube. Vegan / vegetarian recipes will often be cheap and healthy. But be aware you may need to take b vitamins if you go all veg as bs are primarily found in meat, certain seafoods and eggs. Bs are nessisary for good health!

    My go to for cheap, filling and healthy: eggs.
     
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  11. Gerald Wilgus

    Gerald Wilgus Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy making stir fries. Lots of veggies a little meat and for starch use rice noodles. With type II Diabetis, I watch the glycemic index. Beans are great. The carbs are bound to protein so they are released slowly. I found that aged rice reduces its index, so love Gallo Pinto for breakfast; Make a sofrito of onions, celery and green pepper, add the rice and sautee, then the black beans. Season with Salsa Lizano or Worchestershire sauce and heat until it starts to dry. I love hash browns, and found that the freeze-dried Idaho Spuds from Costco is tasty and does not spike my blood sugar. Last A1c was 5.6!
     
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  12. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Bring to boil a whole chicken* with 2 qts water, an onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, a few peppercorns & a couple of dashes of salt & pepper.

    ... watch the pot: when it comes to a boil, turn heat down to simmer. Let it bubble for 45 minutes. Throw out the veggies cuz they were in there for flavor.

    Carefully remove chicken onto a big plate or platter. Cool and then take all the meat off the bones with your hands.

    The broth is “liquid gold” and can be used for a soup by adding your favorite veggies in large or small quantities, and gently cooking with as much of the chicken meat as you want to add back in. In winter for heartiness you can also add a half of a can of white beans.
    Herbs can be added at this point if you want more flavor. Thyme is good with chicken, also a very small pinch of sage or rosemary.

    Or: save the broth and use it to make rice or pilaf instead of water. Lots of protein and other nutrients in the broth.

    All the rest of the meat can be frozen or refrigerated for other meal creations that call for cooked chicken. :) I usually get 4 more meals out of just 1 large chicken.

    * Organic & preferably pasture raised chicken.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
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  13. LadyS

    LadyS Work in Progess

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    I'm vegetarian so most of my recipes are meatless, but I am assuming it's easy to add in meat whereever possible. Or meatless meats in the frozen section, but that's more personal preference.

    I love a good taco salad with black beans and homemade avocado dressing, and grilled (meatless) chicken with taco seasoning or couscous salads with mixed veggies, with olive oil and lemon juice. Another favorite are zucchini boats, just gut them and fill them up with preferred filling and bake them. This is the one I like: Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats - Making Thyme for Health. We also do lite stir fries with brown rice with lots of veggies. Substituting white rice for brown is always better.

    I don't know how much you snack, but I know cutting down on snacking could help, or replacing with healthier snacks between meals, like nuts and fruit.
     
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  14. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    One habit to try,...and this is highly encouraged by top-level athletes,...is planning ahead and having a "meal prep" day.

    I don't know about you, but I don't think about food until I am hungry,...then I scrounge around the kitchen to find something I can eat within the next 5 minutes. I don't like cooking or preparing meals. So, unless my we have leftovers from the day before,...it's usually some bad combination of whatever I can find in the moment.

    When we had kids in the house, my wife would plan ahead, spend a Sunday or Saturday cooking up some sort of meat, rice, veggies,...whatever,...and put them into single serving containers in the refrigerator. We could take them to work, school, and for me,...I didn't have to prepare anything. Throw it in the microwave for a minute or so and ready to eat. It helped a lot with keeping me on track with eating right.
     
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  15. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    ^ This is great advice because it's so versatile. I haven't purchased store bought broth in a very long time because I make my own the same way. Not only is the chicken meat good for soups, but after it's de-boned it can also be used cold in chicken salad to have some variety. A single chicken cooked like this can make many meals (incorporated into entrees, broth for soups, cold dishes, etc).

    The only thing, and @watersprite mentions it as well, I personally don't buy non-organic chicken. Sadly, organic chicken is very expensive. I raise my own chickens for meat and even with that and feeding them exclusively organic feed the final cost to me (not including the time) is about $13 per bird; most of that is in feed costs (about $3.20 for a chick from a hatchery).

    When you think about it though, an organic chicken in the store at $20 can yield probably 5-6 meals or more so the cost is still lower than buying food at restaurants or fast food joints.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
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  16. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Excellent advice. I always make enough for 6 meals. 2 portions (me and husband) for now. Portion and freeze the remainder. I can usually stock us up for two weeks with just cooking dinner three days one week.
     
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  17. Martha Ferris

    Martha Ferris Seeking answers

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    I had to change my diet as I aged. I used to eat everything, loved junk food, then the pounds started to pile on after menopause and I developed high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
    My diet is very simple and essentially the same. In the morning I have oatmeal with stevia, cinnamon, ground flax and blueberries.
    At lunch I have a lot of veges. In the summer they are fresh from my garden: kale, swiss chard, carrots, peppers, tomatoes all in a salad. I also have a stick of celergy. I have one scramble egg. Then I eat one slice of toast with peanut butter and (my treat) jelly. Then I eat a fruit pop another treat but at 45 calories it is my cheat and a banana. For snacking I eat Triscuits less than ten a day, walnuts and raisins in limited amounts because also high in calories.
    I don't eat red meat. For dinner I have fish three times a week (salmon or tuna) and have turkey the rest of the time with more vegetables. Sometimes I have pasta but not often to which I add lots of veges with tomato sauce. Sometimes I make myself a vegetable pizza for a treat. We must have our treats.
    It is important that you eat not only for weight loss but for health. Lots of vegetables. Extra virgin olive oil. Limited salt. Use herbs instead. Get rid of processed foods. Limit canned food because it is high is salt.
    I make my own bread in my bread machine. I don't like whole wheat bread but I add a little whole wheat flour to my white bread. I love fruit but it can also add on the calories so I am careful with how much I eat.
    I know it sounds boring but the advantage for me is that I don't have to think about what I am going to eat I already know and shop accordingly. I am not real interested in the eating experience. If I have to eat then I make it as easy as possible while still being healthy. But oh those tables full of baked goods at the supermarket! The cases full of ice cream! I just sigh and walk on. Sigh (again).
    My one "sin" is chocolate covered marshmallows but I can only get them around the holidays so that is when I splurge. I buy those made with dark chocolate rather than milk because they are "healthier" due to the dark chocolate. Little tricks I play on myself to make my "sin" not so bad.
     
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  18. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Cooking is a passion of mine and I've enjoyed the challenge of cooking healthy tasty food on as little a budget as possible. It's great to exchange ideas about recipes, etc but going hand it hand with that I think it's also useful to talk about cooking equipment that helps in making low cost meals.

    In my opinion one of the most useful kitchen tools is a small pressure cooker. I've been using one for over twenty years and it's so versatile that I think everyone should own one. With a pressure cooker you can not only cook soups, make incredible broths and cook dried legumes and meats, but you can use the pot for regular cooking as well. As a matter of fact I'm steaming two fresh cobs of sweet corn in mine right now with the pressure regular off.
     
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  19. KagamineLen

    KagamineLen Video game and movie addict. V.I.P Member

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    I have decided that one of the foods I will be cutting back on is my homemade tacos. Mainly because I tend to drown them in melted cheese, sour cream and guacamole. Maybe I should figure out a way to make healthier tacos than that instead.

    I also have come to the conclusion that most of my belly comes from excessive beer consumption. I can easily drink a 12-pack of IPAs in an afternoon and not have a hangover the next morning. I seriously need to cut that out of my life at this point.
     
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  20. Yeshuasdaughter

    Yeshuasdaughter You know, that one lady we met that one time. V.I.P Member

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    Tacos can be very healthy. Instead of frying the corn tortillas, microwave or grill them for soft tacos. How about instead of the cheese, add more guacamole, and some lovely salsa? And plain, nonfat yogurt can replace sour cream. They have identical taste and texture.
     
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