What is it about food budgeting that can be so surprising? When hunger strikes and you’re in a hurry (and really, who isn’t?), sometimes it’s way too easy to run out and grab a burger or get some ready-to-eat food at the grocery store (and you know what they say about shopping when you’re hungry). Even the value menu’s at our favourite fast food restaurants seem cheap, but the reality is those $1.89 burgers add up quick (on your budget and your waist-line).
These are by no means complicated or expensive, so if you’re alright with eating simply for a while, watch your bank account get a bit fatter, while you don’t 🙂
Fish Fillet and A Glorious Green Veggie
Roast, grill, fry or sear your fish and boil or bake your broccoli, green beans or peas. Season as desired. See? We told you this would be simple.
When it comes to cost, fish like haddock and talapia are a cheap alternative. A 6 pack of talapia is approximately $7.99 and you’ll get 3-6 meals out of it, depending on how hungry you are! Frozen veggies are generally going to be cheaper than fresh, especially in the winter time. Any other time, seek out a farmer’s market or a food share – you’ll be feasting on scrumptious greens before you know it.
If you’re feeling daring, sprinkle some of your favourite cheese or grill with butter – remember though, the calories add up fast and so will the dollars spent on cheese.
Chicken With Any Frozen Vegetable
Whether you want them breaded or naked, chicken strips with green beans, carrots, corn, peas – whatever – will make for a delicious and filling meal.
Some ideas for seasoning naked chicken breasts/strips include lemon juice and your herb of choice, olive oil and basil and curry and peanut oil. Match your veggie appropriately to the marinade!
This one doesn’t need much explaining. Soups are nutritious and very cheap to produce. Here’s a list of soups you might consider trying:
- Chicken broth with green beans and rice
- Barely & Bean
- Carrot and Ginger
- Cream of Broccoli
Cost – Under $5; you can even afford to go organic when it comes to soup. If you don’t open them, they’ll keep for a long time! If you’re concerned about not getting your protein, here’s a tip – add a scoop of plain whey protein powder. It will make your soup nice and thick, too!
Eggs are a cheap and nutritious pack of protein. Good news is they’re so versatile, you can make them a different way any day of the week. Additions to your omelet, scramble or hard-boiled can be sliced peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese; food that can all be cooked in to, or eaten raw. A dozen eggs cost approximately $3. If you want to go organic/free range, cheapest we’ve found them is $4.39 (Loblaws). Still, that’s a dozen eggs for under $5, so per meal you’re looking at cents on the dollar.
-Also consider getting large poultry items. Sure, a whole chicken might seem like a lot at first, but consider how much meat is on a bird and you can also boil down the bones to create healthy stock, great for other recipes.
-Check out local food-share programs. You might be stuck with the same mixture of veggies over the winter time, but you’d be getting highly nutritious (often organic) veggies.
-On the note of local food-share programs, research local “farm animal” shares for milk products and meat products. Some farmers have a buy in program where you can literally buy a cow, a pig – whatever you desire – or half of one. Make sure you have enough freezer space to store all the meat, though!
-If you have the room, it’s worth investing in a freezer. Before the seasons change, buy up those half price frozen veggies and use them as needed. Who wants to pay $6 for a bag of green beans?! This also goes for fruit. At the end of every summer, big grocers generally have their enormous bags of frozen fruit for ridiculously cheap. Take advantage of this and you’ll have weeks and weeks of healthy breakfast smoothies.
Found a great deal on a buy-in, food share or just have a lot of company coming over? Fill out an application with GoDay.ca to cover this short term financial need!