Going on a healthy diet doesn’t really have to be expensive. You just have to be wise and creative in preparing meals that can satisfy your healthy diet. With a good plan and good choice of food, you can keep up with your diet while keeping up with your budget. Here is a list of different healthy meals that are cheap enough to cost less than 2 dollars per serving.
Great for: Casseroles, salads, soups and stews, and more. Lentils are the most user-friendly of the beans because they cook quickly without pre-soaking. Generally you just need to cover 1 cup of lentils with 3 cups of water or broth and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
What’s a serving? 1/4 cup dried lentils.
Price per serving: 10 cents. You can buy a 16-ounce bag for $1.29. Each 16-ounce bag makes about 13 servings of lentils (if 1/4 cup dry is a serving). That small bag of lentils is deceiving because the lentils are dried, but once cooked, you will see the value.
Nutrition info per serving: 120 calories, 10 grams protein, and 11 grams fiber.
100% Whole-Wheat Bread and pasta
Great for: Hot and cold sandwiches, bread stuffing, bread pudding, and breakfast strata.
What’s a serving? 2 slices. Labels usually list a serving as 1 slice of bread (about 28 grams per slice), but for our purposes, we’ll use the amount you’d use to make a sandwich.
Price per serving: About 18 cents. You can get a 22-ounce loaf of store-brand whole-wheat bread for about $1.99 (on sale). Each loaf has about 22 slices, or 11 servings of 2 slices each.
Nutrition info per serving (2 slices): About 120 calories, 6 grams protein, and 3 grams fiber.
For the pasta
Great for: Hot and cold pasta dishes.
What’s a serving? 2 ounces of dried pasta. A serving for most people translates into about 2 ounces of dried pasta, which means you get about 7 servings in the typical box or bag of dried pasta.
Price per serving? About 24 cents. You can get a 13- to 16-ounce box or bag of store-brand dried pasta for about $1.69.
Nutrition info per serving: About 200 calories, 7 grams protein, and 6 grams fiber.
Great for: Side dishes, rice salads, fried rice, casseroles, soups, and stews.
What’s a serving? 1/4 cup dry rice.
Price per serving: 18 cents. A 1-pound bag costs about $1.75 and contains 10 servings.
Nutrition info per serving: 170 calories, 2 grams fiber, and 4 grams protein.
Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Great for: A quick snack, parfaits made with fruit and granola, and smoothies.
What’s a serving? Most individual servings come in 6-ounce or 8-ounce containers. You can save money by buying a larger container of Greek yogurt and then taking your 6- or 8-ounce portion from it.
Price per serving: Individual servings (6- to 8-ounce containers) cost about 89 cents each and sometimes less when found on sale.
Nutrition info per serving (for a 6-ounce serving of honey vanilla): 150 calories, 0 grams fiber, and 14 grams protein..
Frozen vegetables enable you to save more money as these vegetables can simply be store in the fridge and can just be pulled out anytime. Though fresh vegetables are much preferred, frozen vegetable could be more convenient especially for those who have busy schedules and seldom go to the market.
Great for: Side dishes, casseroles, and stews.
What’s a serving? 1 cup.
Price per serving: Around 25 cents. Frozen vegetables come in 12-ounce to 24-ounce bags that cost anywhere from $1.75 to $2.25 and contain 6-8 cups, depending on the vegetable and the size of the bag. At one national store, you can buy a bag of frozen organic green beans for $1.79. A bag of petite peas will cost you $1.19, and a 10-ounce box of frozen chopped spinach costs $1.19.
Nutrition info per serving: A 1-cup serving of frozen mixed vegetables (classic mix) has 82 calories, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 115% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 8% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium.