Cheap & Healthy Must-Haves
Many times, we all find ourselves looking at the clock and realizing it is dinner time. The thought, "Shoot! I have nothing to use to make a meal" usually pops into my head. If your schedule is anything like mine, the idea of using the few hours of "free time" you have for grocery shopping and slaving over the stove sounds absolutely awful. For this reason, I have created a lovely list of staple, inexpensive, healthy items to keep stocked in your kitchen to help keep you calm and collected during those panic moments. Each item can be found at any grocery store, and produced by a variety of brands. Choose one that works with your taste buds and budget! Under each item you will find many recipe ideas- not with full instructions (if you would like full instructions, comment and let us know). Even those not too fond of cooking can enjoy these recipe ideas. How did I make this list? I've created it over the few years I have been in charge of the weeknight dinners my boyfriend and I have. This trusty list helps me stay prepared to make healthy meals even on the busiest days. ITEM 1: Can of Tomatoes *There are a crazy amount of different kinds. Some with seasonings, some chopped, some stewed. Choose what you feel in the mood for! My only tip is to opt for a low sodium version.
- Tossed in with scrambled eggs
- Added in a stir fry
- Great for chili!
- My recent favorite- a filling and sauce for stuffed peppers (for the sauce simply blend the can of tomatoes)
- Quesadillas, burritos, tacos
- Soups, stews, and chilis- my new personal favorite chili is this black bean, sweet potato, quinoa chili. Yum!
ITEM 3: Bag of Frozen Vegetables *They've now come out with almost any type of vegetable you can think of in the freezer aisle. Yes, fresh vegetables are so wonderfully delicious, but the frozen version takes MUCH longer to go bad, plus most types are friendly to your wallet.
Approximate price: $1.18-$5.48 (for the huge bags which has 20 servings) per bag. What you can do with these veggie filled bags:
- Add them to a soup or sauce
- Stir fry, casserole, pastas
- They can also be used as a side dish. Heat and just add seasoning!
Approximate price: $0.54/pound. Bananas don't just have to be consumed alone. Here's some ideas:
- Sliced in cereals
- Mashed up and used in baking as a butter substitute
ITEM 5: Quinoa *If you're wondering what in the world this is, it is a healthy whole grain (though it's actually a seed but we aren't worried about that right now). The awesome thing about it is one cup uncooked becomes around 4 cups cooked. Pretty neat! Look for it near the rice in your local grocery store.
Oh the possibilities of quinoa! Here's just a few:
- Substitute for pasta and rice
- Used in baking cookies, muffins, and breads
- Instead of oatmeal, use quinoa for breakfast
- Snack foods- like these little sweet and salty quinoa balls!
Enjoy Your Healthy Life, Abbe