Author Topic: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals  (Read 6958 times)

brian313313

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Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« on: March 01, 2017, 02:59:20 PM »
Hi,

My wife and I have really started attacking our grocery budget. It's by far our highest budget item. We went from $800 January to under $550 this month. I still feel like we can go further. One thing that has helped is we started tracking every item bought. We realized how expensive seafood is and dropped that except for special occasions. I figure we need about 180 meals/month for two. If we can get them below $2 each on average, we should be under $400 for food. That will really help the savings. We have also started calculating the cost per meal. Not all meals are done yet, but we're adding them as we go.

The problem is I eat low-carb and generally healthy. I can't eat rice or really any simple carbs nor can I have dairy due to food allergies. I need to eat roughly 2700 calories/day to maintain weight. (I do exercise regularly so maybe a little more) Veggies are low-calorie but high-nutrition. Meat is high-calorie but low-nutrition (as far as micronutrients go). Some of the meals I eat are quite expensive, even making them at home. A salad in the 800 calorie range is running about $4-5 if you add all the ingredients.

Here's my average breakfast: (Sub-800 calorie)
3 eggs - 0.43
Smoothie -
Spinach - 1.00
Mint - 0.50
Avocado - .65

10am snack-Nuts - 0.50

Total: 3.08

Here's a lunch salad: (About 800 calories)
Lettuce - 0.50
Bacon - 0.50
Eggs - 0.60
Chicken 0.85
Avocado - 0.65
Green Onion - 0.25
Dressing:
Lemon Juice - .50
Garlic - 0.10
Olive Oil - 0.25

Total: 4.20

Dinner ends up being soups, stews, chilis, or meat & veggie. We're in $2 average meal range on this and end up with higher calorie because I skip or go light on the veggies later in the day.


I love the idea of $100/person/month I've read but that's even lower at about $1/meal. If I could get it that low I could practically retire at the end of this year. Does anyone have any ideas for getting nutritious food for less? Anything sub-$2 would be great given my dietary restrictions.

Thanks.

rebecca527

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2017, 03:06:20 PM »
My first thought was that if you're determined to not eat any grains, this will be tricky - is that what you meant by not eating "simple carbs"? I ask because technically, whole grains are complex carbs, not simple carbs ("simple carbohydrates" basically means sugar): http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html. And in terms of macronutrients, vegetables are carbs, so clearly your goal isn't to eliminate carbs altogether. If you add healthy whole grains (brown rice, oats, etc) back into your diet, your low-cost options will expand dramatically.

Canned tuna and legumes are great for cheap protein (just don't eat tuna more than once a week or so if you're concerned about mercury).

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 03:23:04 PM »
My first thought was that if you're determined to not eat any grains, this will be tricky - is that what you meant by not eating "simple carbs"? I ask because technically, whole grains are complex carbs, not simple carbs ("simple carbohydrates" basically means sugar): http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html. And in terms of macronutrients, vegetables are carbs, so clearly your goal isn't to eliminate carbs altogether. If you add healthy whole grains (brown rice, oats, etc) back into your diet, your low-cost options will expand dramatically.

Canned tuna and legumes are great for cheap protein (just don't eat tuna more than once a week or so if you're concerned about mercury).

Grains in general don't work for me. Fruits either though I can tolerate berries. I'm not sure about legumes yet but I think they'll be fine as long as it's not too much at once. I had to really cut back a lot of foods a few months back because of intestinal issues and am slowly adding them back. Legumes are being added for March though. I'll have to pick up some dry beans at Costco for the weekend and make a big batch of chili.

With tuna, I'm not so worried about the mercury. It's not very cost-effective for calories though. It's about $1/can at Costco around here. At only 150 calories it ends up being more expensive.

Thanks.

rebecca527

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2017, 03:32:28 PM »
Best of luck with the legumes, anyway! If you can tolerate them, that would give you so many cheap, healthy meal options.

bigalsmith101

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 01:25:00 PM »
Thoughts:

3 eggs - 0.43
Smoothie -
Spinach - 1.00 (You're paying too much for spinach)
Mint - 0.50(You're paying too much for mint!)
Avocado - .65

Do you have other smoothie options that are cheaper?

10am snack-Nuts - 0.50

Total: 3.08

Here's a lunch salad: (About 800 calories)
Lettuce - 0.50
Bacon - 0.50 (Substitute something for bacon and lower your cost)
Eggs - 0.60 ( are you eating 4 more eggs at lunch? 7 a day? )
Chicken 0.85 (where do you live? Chicken is $1.99/lb where I live. Half a pound of chicken in your salad with 4 eggs?plus bacon?)
Avocado - 0.65
Green Onion - 0.25 (no way should this cost 25)
Dressing:
Lemon Juice - .50  (for real? buy that shit in bulk!)
Garlic - 0.10
Olive Oil - 0.25

Total: 4.20

Get those bean in the diet, if you can manage them, they will revolutionize your budget. You can't handle oats/oatmeal? What about peanut butter? That is a low cost, high calorie, moderate protein addition to smoothies.

I'm 6'6" and 225lbs, and average about 3200-4000 calories a day. My wife is 5'9 and fit. Together we spend about $300/month on food, but that includes oats, rice, milk and cheese, which helps on the caloric side. 

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Frankies Girl

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2017, 02:10:33 PM »
Do you have an Aldi in your area? They have much cheaper options on many things you buy as staples.

eggs - they have been as cheap as 59 a dozen (average is around 80 currently) taking your average, you're paying ~$1.72 a dozen? Wow, are they gold-plated?

Bagged spinach, green onions, along with most of their vegetables - all MUCH cheaper - but they may not stock all types all the time
Avocados are around 29 each usually.

Hell, even olive oil is way cheaper there and they started carrying the gallon olive oil lately but I don't know how much (bet it's still cheaper than what you pay). And they have lemon juice, spices, minced garlic in water or oil, or even fresh garlic in the produce section...

I scan sales papers for things we can't get at Aldi and stock up on them. Like Kroger had red peppers 2/$1 and Aldi rarely carries them. I bought 10 of them, cut them up and roasted them and we use them in salads, on main dishes, or as toppings for eggs (roasted red peppers are ridiculously easy to make and they freeze well too!)

I regularly buy Aldi's frozen boneless chicken breasts as our main protein source (Kirkwood ice glazed chicken breasts) - $5.99 for 3 pounds - this product rated A on Fooducate for no preservatives and overall a very healthy choice for protein. I cut them into strips, grill them up with a bit of olive oil and spices and use them in salads, in corn tortillas with some sauteed onion/peppers and cheese (but we love cheese), or topped with roasted red peppers, or eat with brown rice and beans (LOVE black beans, onion, brown rice and spices as a base for most meals).

The husband and I eat moderately low carb/high protein but we do include complex carbs like beans and brown rice a few times a week, and we definitely do like dairy. We eat like kings on $275 a month by shopping almost exclusively at Aldi. For the few items we can't get there, we go to Walmart or Kroger (and make sure to go where the sales are or do without). I've been thinking we are spending too much actually so trying to push that down to $250 or under...

bigalsmith101

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2017, 02:55:36 PM »
eggs - they have been as cheap as 59 a dozen (average is around 80 currently) taking your average, you're paying ~$1.72 a dozen? Wow, are they gold-plated?

Avocados are around 29 each usually.


The husband and I eat moderately low carb/high protein but we do include complex carbs like beans and brown rice a few times a week, and we definitely do like dairy. We eat like kings on $275 a month by shopping almost exclusively at

Eggs are about $1.29/dozen here on the west coast of Washington state, at cheap prices comparatively. It really depends on where you are located. Buying them in an 18pack can drive the cost down 10%, buying them 5dozen at a time in a case is about 85/dozen

Avocados are almost never less than about 79/each, or 2/$1 if you're lucky. 29 each is pretty much unheard of.

We too each like kings for $275-$300 and have had a month at $250 as well. Long lived the home cooked meal!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2017, 03:04:09 PM »
eggs - they have been as cheap as 59 a dozen (average is around 80 currently) taking your average, you're paying ~$1.72 a dozen? Wow, are they gold-plated?

Avocados are around 29 each usually.


The husband and I eat moderately low carb/high protein but we do include complex carbs like beans and brown rice a few times a week, and we definitely do like dairy. We eat like kings on $275 a month by shopping almost exclusively at

Eggs are about $1.29/dozen here on the west coast of Washington state, at cheap prices comparatively. It really depends on where you are located. Buying them in an 18pack can drive the cost down 10%, buying them 5dozen at a time in a case is about 85/dozen

Avocados are almost never less than about 79/each, or 2/$1 if you're lucky. 29 each is pretty much unheard of.

We too each like kings for $275-$300 and have had a month at $250 as well. Long lived the home cooked meal!

Agreed that the regional pricing may be more or less depending. But it is still reasonable to expect that cheaper pricing can be had by shopping at places like Aldi if available. And yes, cooking at home and cooking in bulk is the key. :)

backyardfeast

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2017, 03:28:00 PM »
Depending on where you live, some of the veggies you've listed can be quite expensive.  One secret to bringing your costs down is to make great food out of what's already cheap in your area.  Here avocados are hard to get for less than 1$ EACH and they can be as much as $2.50!  So we rarely eat them.  This time of year, most of my salads are based on cabbage, kale, carrots, onion (red, not green), the occasional bell pepper, sometimes turnip, celery, beets...get creative!  Almost everything tastes good with the right salad dressing.

Eg, my salad for lunch today was suy choi, celery, bell pepper, a can of mixed beans, and a chopped up orange.  A little unconventional, but very tasty!

On that note, what are your fat requirements?  Fat is where the calories are at, and in high-plant-based traditional diets, the focus is on veg + fat, with less protein.  Not suggesting you need to do this, but good quality olive oils and coconut oils will up those calorie counts on cheaper foods.

Last--Costco is the bomb for a lot of these proteins and veggies too.  Even their organics are affordable in large quantities, and don't forget about things like sundried tomatoes for lots of flavour and a little more fat.

Good luck!

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2017, 04:22:17 PM »
Thanks for the feedback and inspiration. If we can get the numbers as low as some of you it would be great. Once I can FIRE, I can put more effort into hunting bargains. My wife currently does most of that now as her full-time job. I try and help some but she doesn't like it because she says it makes her feel like she's not doing a good job. I'm life-long frugal though and she didn't start until we discovered MMM about two years ago. I was not on the MMM plan though. I just saved 15% and used the rest to take time off and worked about 7-8 months/year.

It may be that some of my prices were off. Some of the salad numbers represent 2 salads (like eggs & chicken) and others one (lettuce & bacon). I put a lot of greens in my morning smoothie because of how low-calorie they are.

I have been watching the Aldi advertisements for the store near me but haven't really seen anything interesting. I live in a relatively HCOL area and they are mostly pushing things that I don't eat because they're too expensive even on sale. For example, the eggs they're advertising are organic at 3.49/dozen. I will go there this weekend and just browse though. They probably have all the stuff you are mentioning but are just not advertising it. I live in a cheap condo in an expensive area. It's great for walk-ability but cheaper options tend not to be available as much. It's getting better though because the place is really building up.

I do eat fat for calories. Olive oil is great although coconut oil doesn't agree with me.

When Avocados are on sale for $1,they're usually starting to rot. I'll see what Aldis has. I do see they have 2 lbs lemons for 1.79.

I do eat peanut butter but only the pure kind. Smucker's natural or if the store makes their own and it's cheaper. Funny thing is that peanut butter is filling but peanuts are not for me.



cj25

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2017, 04:31:22 PM »
Why does everyone want their food budget so low?  Is your health really worry saving a few hundred bucks now compared to the medical bills later?  You only get one body.  Historically people have always spent most of their time and money on the food they eat.  I try to keep my food budget low, but without sacrificing quality.  Grass fed ground beef instead of steaks.  I buy lots of veggies from farms.  Pastured pork butt from a butcher. I try not to buy prepared items.  I will never get as low as some people around here, but I am just okay with that.  I can't do dairy, grains, nightshades or legumes either.  You can get good healthy calories from well raised animal fat, like pastured lard, pastured duck fat & grassfed butter.

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2017, 04:40:57 PM »
Here's a great chili recipe. If you subbed the chuck beef for ground beef, and subbed the canned beans for dried presoaked beans (I usually sub half of the kidney beans with some navy beans and black beans). I use sriracha for the hot sauce.

http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-chili-you-will-ever-taste-73166

Hot dish is a favorite among Midwestern folks. It's cheap and easy to throw together. Be warned though, potatoes feature prominently!

Hargrove

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2017, 04:43:36 PM »
Why does everyone want their food budget so low?  Is your health really worry saving a few hundred bucks now compared to the medical bills later?  You only get one body.  Historically people have always spent most of their time and money on the food they eat.  I try to keep my food budget low, but without sacrificing quality.  Grass fed ground beef instead of steaks.  I buy lots of veggies from farms.  Pastured pork butt from a butcher. I try not to buy prepared items.  I will never get as low as some people around here, but I am just okay with that.  I can't do dairy, grains, nightshades or legumes either.  You can get good healthy calories from well raised animal fat, like pastured lard, pastured duck fat & grassfed butter.

Food budgets tend to have a lot of fat. Ah ha ha.

Expensive food != quality food.

Red meat is basically bad for you but ok in moderation, so I'm not sure why your first item is expensive red meat. Farm-fresh vegetables are usually pretty cheap and really good for you. Pork butt not so much. Lard, duck fat, and butter are all significantly worse for you than olive oil.

prognastat

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2017, 04:59:41 PM »
Why does everyone want their food budget so low?  Is your health really worry saving a few hundred bucks now compared to the medical bills later?  You only get one body.  Historically people have always spent most of their time and money on the food they eat.  I try to keep my food budget low, but without sacrificing quality.  Grass fed ground beef instead of steaks.  I buy lots of veggies from farms.  Pastured pork butt from a butcher. I try not to buy prepared items.  I will never get as low as some people around here, but I am just okay with that.  I can't do dairy, grains, nightshades or legumes either.  You can get good healthy calories from well raised animal fat, like pastured lard, pastured duck fat & grassfed butter.

I don't think most are sacrificing their health for a few hundred bucks. I think most people are about optimizing their diet to be cost effective. Also probably the biggest health impact your diet can have is being overweight which I think most here are not advocating for consuming an excess in calories. Depending on level of activity and caloric intake the human body can handle quite a bit. An example is for example the Dutch eat a metric tonne of bread yet have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, however they are on average much less sedentary too so they can afford eating more carbs.

One thing I do very much attempt to leave out is sugars where I can since they are high in calories with no nutrients plus there is some preliminary proof that sugars also affect hormones. I also think higher protein lower carb is generally beneficial, however this can be achieved without breaking the bank.

cj25

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2017, 05:17:48 PM »


Red meat is basically bad for you but ok in moderation, so I'm not sure why your first item is expensive red meat.  Pork butt not so much. Lard, duck fat, and butter are all significantly worse for you than olive oil.

This is all outdated information.

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2017, 10:16:42 AM »
Update on my local Aldis. There were a few deals but nothing extravagant compared to Costco. Avocados were mentioned and they were 1.19 ea and close to rotting. I love avocados so wish they were cheap in my area. The price must be heavily dependent on the region. I'll still watch the sales for a little bit but since it's a drive and Costco is a walk, Costco has our preference all else equal. Aldis also had a depressing feel to it since it was so empty. I still appreciate the suggestion since anything can help.

Iplawyer

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2017, 02:41:09 PM »
Why does everyone want their food budget so low?  Is your health really worry saving a few hundred bucks now compared to the medical bills later?  You only get one body.  Historically people have always spent most of their time and money on the food they eat.  I try to keep my food budget low, but without sacrificing quality.  Grass fed ground beef instead of steaks.  I buy lots of veggies from farms.  Pastured pork butt from a butcher. I try not to buy prepared items.  I will never get as low as some people around here, but I am just okay with that.  I can't do dairy, grains, nightshades or legumes either.  You can get good healthy calories from well raised animal fat, like pastured lard, pastured duck fat & grassfed butter.

Food budgets tend to have a lot of fat. Ah ha ha.

Expensive food != quality food.

Red meat is basically bad for you but ok in moderation, so I'm not sure why your first item is expensive red meat. Farm-fresh vegetables are usually pretty cheap and really good for you. Pork butt not so much. Lard, duck fat, and butter are all significantly worse for you than olive oil.

Why is it your opinion (and that is all that it is) that red meat is bad for you?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2017, 03:02:37 PM »
Update on my local Aldis. There were a few deals but nothing extravagant compared to Costco. Avocados were mentioned and they were 1.19 ea and close to rotting. I love avocados so wish they were cheap in my area. The price must be heavily dependent on the region. I'll still watch the sales for a little bit but since it's a drive and Costco is a walk, Costco has our preference all else equal. Aldis also had a depressing feel to it since it was so empty. I still appreciate the suggestion since anything can help.

Aldi is one of those places that are highly dependent on location. Better areas stock better things. I'm lucky in that I live less than 5 minutes from a decent one, and have another 5 within 20 minutes' drive, so I can hop around if needed to find good stuff easily. Also, figuring out when they receive their produce and shopping on that day is key to getting fresh stuff.

And their sales are decent, but the real advantage is the low cost regular pricing on staples like eggs and such.

Hargrove

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2017, 04:35:33 PM »
Quote
Why is it your opinion (and that is all that it is) that red meat is bad for you?

Everything I communicate is my opinion. This statement is useless at best, absurdly condescending at worst.

But since you asked, red meat has fewer vitamins and minerals than vegetables, with a lot more calories, is less likely to make you feel full with the same volume (contributing to overeating), typically has all the other problems with fat and cholesterol, often has more contaminants, is much more difficult to process safely from slaughter to plate, contributes more pollutants to the environment along the way, and has been indicated in fueling gut bacteria unfriendly to cardiac health.

Most of that is pretty well known, but the cardiac research is recent.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448089/
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/red-meat-clogs-arteries-bacteria/
www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/study-points-to-new-culprit-in-heart-disease.html

Opponents to the conclusion that red meat is implicated here argue that the bacteria is the problem. Those who think the research implicates red meat point out that red meat creates the environment for the bacteria to thrive, and you can't exactly wipe out all your gut bacteria.

I eat red meat because it's freaking delicious, but I don't think it's good for me. In moderation, it can be not a big deal, maybe. But even "not a big deal" is not the same as "good for you."
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 04:38:51 PM by Hargrove »

Iplawyer

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2017, 05:03:25 PM »
Quote
Why is it your opinion (and that is all that it is) that red meat is bad for you?

Everything I communicate is my opinion. This statement is useless at best, absurdly condescending at worst.

But since you asked, red meat has fewer vitamins and minerals than vegetables, with a lot more calories, is less likely to make you feel full with the same volume (contributing to overeating), typically has all the other problems with fat and cholesterol, often has more contaminants, is much more difficult to process safely from slaughter to plate, contributes more pollutants to the environment along the way, and has been indicated in fueling gut bacteria unfriendly to cardiac health.

Most of that is pretty well known, but the cardiac research is recent.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448089/
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/red-meat-clogs-arteries-bacteria/
www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/study-points-to-new-culprit-in-heart-disease.html

Opponents to the conclusion that red meat is implicated here argue that the bacteria is the problem. Those who think the research implicates red meat point out that red meat creates the environment for the bacteria to thrive, and you can't exactly wipe out all your gut bacteria.

I eat red meat because it's freaking delicious, but I don't think it's good for me. In moderation, it can be not a big deal, maybe. But even "not a big deal" is not the same as "good for you."

I still disagree.
Red Meat is Very Nutritious

Meat

Red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various other nutrients that can have profound effects on health.

A 100 gram (3.5 ounces) portion of raw ground beef (10% fat) contains (3):

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 25% of the RDA.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 37% of the RDA (this vitamin is unattainable from plant foods).
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 18% of the RDA.
Iron: 12% of the RDA (This is high quality heme-iron, which is absorbed much better than iron from plants).
Zinc: 32% of the RDA.
Selenium: 24% of the RDA.
Then there are plenty of other vitamins and minerals in there too, in smaller amounts.
This comes with a calorie count of 176, with 20 grams of quality animal protein and 10 grams of fat.

Red meat is also rich in important nutrients like Creatine and Carnosine. Non-meat eaters are often deficient in these nutrients, which can have negative effects on various aspects of health, including muscle and brain function (4, 5, 6).

Grass-fed beef is even more nutritious than grain-fed, containing plenty of heart healthy Omega-3s, the fatty acid CLA, along with more Vitamins A and E (7, 8, 9).

Bottom Line: Red meat is very nutritious, especially if it comes from animals that have been naturally fed and raised. Its a great source of protein, iron, B12, Zinc, Creatine and various other nutrients.

https://authoritynutrition.com/is-red-meat-bad-for-you-or-good/


Red meat does not cause heart or cardiovascular problems:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23497300


Red meat (unprocessed) does not cause cancer:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21540747

Hargrove

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2017, 06:28:54 PM »
Interesting!


Red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

I don't think what you posted indicates that red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It does have several important nutrients in it, however, which we should expect at least some of - after all, we're made of meat! That said, I can't read what you posted, flip to, say, kale, and conclude that red meat is one of the most nutritious foods.

I'm neither vegetarian nor meat hater. Meat is delicious. But most nutritious food?

Quote
It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various other nutrients that can have profound effects on health.

Your posting does not indicate "loaded with vitamins." It also strictly warns against basically anything but high-end, grass-fed beef. And hey, more power to you - I would strongly recommend the higher quality meat and am totally on board that it's healthier for you when the animal itself was healthier. That's a narrower category than "red meat," though.

Quote
Red meat is also rich in important nutrients like Creatine and Carnosine. Non-meat eaters are often deficient in these nutrients, which can have negative effects on various aspects of health, including muscle and brain function (4, 5, 6).

Oh yeah, don't skip meat entirely. It causes deficiencies. And depression. Because meat is, as has been established, delicious.

Quote
Grass-fed beef is even more nutritious than grain-fed, containing plenty of heart healthy Omega-3s, the fatty acid CLA, along with more Vitamins A and E (7, 8, 9).

Unfortunately, it's less clear now how much of a role Omega-3s play. And again, I don't doubt beef that ate what it is supposed to eat is better for you.

Quote
Red meat does not cause heart or cardiovascular problems:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23497300

Conclusion is a little bold for the study. The study found that red meat appeared to have a mortality association initially. Then it corrected for measurement error, determining the positive association was significant only for processed meat. It would be a disservice to the science to say the conclusion of that report was "red meat does not cause heart or cardiovascular problems." No one study could even test that well. Also, this study ONLY sees no correlation with regard to unprocessed red meat.

Quote
Red meat (unprocessed) does not cause cancer:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21540747

Again... not what that study says. It says the data could find no link between specifically colorectal cancers and red meat consumption. There's an enormous difference.

Thanks for the additional reading.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 06:31:43 PM by Hargrove »

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2017, 07:57:23 PM »
The point of my post was to find reasonably healthy foods on a budget. A lot of good suggestions have been made. I've tried to eat healthy for most of my life but have too many times bought into the latest fad. Now, I just eat basic omnivore and use common sense. I also use how I feel. On this forum, I think we tend to be a healthier group. Exercise & diet go hand-in-hand and what works for one person may not work for another. I tried to be vegan and think it can be a great diet. For me as a runner for fun, not pro), I could not get enough calories or protein. Don't try to eat 2700 calories worth of kale :). I have not been able to eat sugar for over 20 years. Unfortunately, in the last 20 years I have become more and more sensitive to carbs. That sort of leaves me with meat for my significant calories.

worms

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2017, 03:13:31 AM »
If your dietary choices are being limited by food intolerances, I wonder if it is worth considering that it is possible that it is your current gut flora that is the problem rather than any genetic or acquired allergic reaction?  While this is a fast developing line of research and there is probably a lot of snake-oil out there, it might be worth trying to get some lactobaccili into your diet - most easily in the form of cheap, live yogurt (no need for the fancy "friendly bacteria" high mark-up types) or possibly sourdough breads/pancakes.

I have no idea if there is a true correlation, but I have not had a bad cold in the five or so years since I started making my own sourdough bread, while my wife who doesn't like it's taste and doesn't eat it, has continued to have multiple colds each year.

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2017, 05:09:14 AM »
If your dietary choices are being limited by food intolerances, I wonder if it is worth considering that it is possible that it is your current gut flora that is the problem rather than any genetic or acquired allergic reaction?  While this is a fast developing line of research and there is probably a lot of snake-oil out there, it might be worth trying to get some lactobaccili into your diet - most easily in the form of cheap, live yogurt (no need for the fancy "friendly bacteria" high mark-up types) or possibly sourdough breads/pancakes.

I have no idea if there is a true correlation, but I have not had a bad cold in the five or so years since I started making my own sourdough bread, while my wife who doesn't like it's taste and doesn't eat it, has continued to have multiple colds each year.

I have read about and considered the gut issues. I've tried several probiotics and they have not helped at all. Dairy & bread mess me up though so unfortunately those are not options. There could be a correlation as you suggest because hardly a cold goes by that I don't get.

worms

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2017, 06:26:06 AM »
I believe that it is quite common that people who "get messed up" by dairy and bread can tolerate yogurt and true sourdough.  The lactobacilli that make yogurt do so in part by digesting the lactose that some people are intolerant to, so it it may be better not to equate yogurt with "dairy". 

Equally the autolysis inherent in creating a true sourdough may help to break down some of the  molecules that some people have difficulty with.  Also the absence of chemical improvers and/or added yeasts may reduce the number of things that your gut may not approve of.

Mezzie

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2017, 08:53:14 AM »
First off, you already made a great cut in your budget. Well done.

Are you able to grow any of your own veggies? Even just growing herbs can cut costs significantly.

If you end up able to tolerate beans, that's one of the cheapest ways to make a satisfying meal.

If you're adventurous, you might consider buying and freezing meat when it's 50% off because it's hit its sell-by date. I've done that several times lately to no ill-effect. Frozen seafood is about half price per ounce bought in bulk compared to fresh. Meat is expensive, though -- there's no way around it. I was a vegetarian for sixteen years, and when I started eating meat, I was absolutely appalled by the prices.

Make stock out of your bones and scraps so you never have to buy stock. End-of-week soups made with said stock and whatever's about to go bad can be really fun and filling.

Good luck!

MacGyverIt

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2017, 11:58:40 AM »
I've started using white and whole powdered eggs via Subscribe&Save on Amazon, not organic but super cost effective:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0096I5DJU/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_G-fVybVYDNDP5

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2017, 12:10:49 PM »
I'm in a condo so it's not that practical to grow my own vegetables financially. I may do it anyways as a hobby at some point. We'd have to get a light and set up indoor gardening. We used to live on the ground floor so we set up some flower boxes outside. We're up now though. We do have a little patio but it's pretty shady most of the time.

Nangirl17

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2017, 03:06:36 PM »
Hi,

Here's my average breakfast: (Sub-800 calorie)
3 eggs - 0.43
Smoothie -
Spinach - 1.00
Mint - 0.50
Avocado - .65

10am snack-Nuts - 0.50

Total: 3.08

Here's a lunch salad: (About 800 calories)
Lettuce - 0.50
Bacon - 0.50
Eggs - 0.60
Chicken 0.85
Avocado - 0.65
Green Onion - 0.25
Dressing:
Lemon Juice - .50
Garlic - 0.10
Olive Oil - 0.25

Total: 4.20


WOW. I knew food was cheap in the US, but I didn't know it was that cheap!

Jakejake

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2017, 03:35:39 PM »
Hey Brian, I saw an old post of yours referencing being in the Detroit area. Are you still there? Because I can recommend some places to shop if you are in the northern suburbs ever.

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2017, 05:47:23 AM »
Hey Brian, I saw an old post of yours referencing being in the Detroit area. Are you still there? Because I can recommend some places to shop if you are in the northern suburbs ever.

No. I live in the Atlanta, GA area now. Food is a lot cheaper in Detroit. At least it was when I left. Which I don't understand that on some things since I'm closer to the source now. I moved here in 1999 and all meat was at least $1/lb more than the Detroit area.

Jakejake

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2017, 07:02:05 AM »
I noticed that visiting my folks in Florida this year. I can get oranges cheaper in Detroit than Florida, and they grow them there!

Ah, well, sorry I couldn't help you out anyway.

garion

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2017, 02:50:50 PM »
Dekalb Market! If you don't already shop there. Vegetables are ridiculously cheap and plentiful.

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2017, 04:19:23 PM »
Dekalb Market! If you don't already shop there. Vegetables are ridiculously cheap and plentiful.

I've been there before and they were good. I'm in Sandy Springs though and it's a little far. We have luck in Buford Hwy Farmer's Market. It's not as nice but still has good prices on meat & veggies.

FL_MM

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2017, 04:37:03 PM »
Costco is a great place to buy meat. I always stock my freezer when they have the $3 off coupon on pork chops/pork loins. One pork loin can become a few meals of chops, pork roast and stir frys for about $11-13 depending on size. Also I never pass up the huge rotisserie chicken for $5. It becomes a chicken dinner, then maybe chicken salad if there are leftovers and always chicken broth from the bones.

brian313313

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2017, 03:20:22 PM »
Costco is a great place to buy meat. I always stock my freezer when they have the $3 off coupon on pork chops/pork loins. One pork loin can become a few meals of chops, pork roast and stir frys for about $11-13 depending on size. Also I never pass up the huge rotisserie chicken for $5. It becomes a chicken dinner, then maybe chicken salad if there are leftovers and always chicken broth from the bones.

We have just started going to Costco. They are good on prices but best of all, they are only 1/2 mile away. It's our closest store for groceries.

MayDay

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Re: Help - Cheap, Healthy meals
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2017, 05:24:43 PM »
If you have major gut issues it might be worth doing a drastic gut healing diet.  I can't remember the name of the well regarded one (and when I tried to google I got loads of blog posts) but basically you start with bone broth and slowly add stuff in.  We did a drastic elimination diet for my daughter, and although it was hard, it appears the break from basically everything allowed her gut to heal.  It sounds like you are already doing some diet stuff. 

Can you handle potatoes and sweet potatoes?  What about winter squash?  Those tend to have a lot more calories per $ than other veggies.  What about corn?  Have you tried obscure grains like amaranth, quinoa, spelt, etc? 

What about adding protein powder?  No idea what kind you would need and if it would be cheaper per calorie, but something to consider. 

Adding fats might be a lot cheaper per calorie than eating more veggies and meats.  A tablespoon of olive oil to whatever recipe is pretty easy.