Healthy eating should not always be at exorbitant price.Its feasible to prepare decent nutritious meals everyday even on a modest budget.Considering the health costs of unhealthy diet in the long run its wise to invest a little now and avoid all the trouble later.
Here are some ways to eat better for less money :
*Eat Seasonal and Local Foods :The seasonal and local grown produce is always cheaper.Berries ,melons and stone fruits in summer,some fruits like apples,pears,bananas and oranges are available year around.In fall the overwhelming stock of pumpkins and squash can provide the much needed antioxidants for the season,and never throw away the seeds ,its rich in nutrients.
*Pay Less - buy economical foods
Beans and legumes are one of the most cheapest and nutritious source of food.Frozen beans like Edamame(baby soybeans) are a good choice of cheap nutrition.Buy them in bulk for lower price.Low fat milk ,Tofu and Organic eggs are other good sources of protein at no high cost.And among vegetables,the carrots,leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage,
sweet potatoes,potatoes,green peppers,tomatoes are fresh and affordable through the year.Buying bread from a local bakery can be lesser in price.Besides Rice whole grains like Oats,bulgur(broken wheat),barley and corn meal are most affordable.Nuts like peanuts and walnuts are cheaper than most other nuts.Cashews and Almonds are also cheaper when on sale.The whole grain pasta and couscous is one of the inexpensive staples.
*Shop smart :Plan your meals ahead and always make a list while grocery shopping include healthy snacks like Dried fruit and nuts mix,low sugar multigrain bars and whole grain crackers. Don't shop with empty stomach that often tempts us to buy ready-to eat foods like high sugar\high calorie candy,soda and chips.Coupons can also save a few bucks.
*Plant your garden:Use the space in your back yard.Vegetables like tomatoes,eggplants,beans,Okra,lettuce,spinach,cilantro,mint and peas can be easily grown with little effort.Here is the guide for the beginners.Even if you don't own a backyard,use the space in the patio or balcony,plant herbs ,tomatoes and leafy greens in pots.
Roasted Pepper Chickpeas Couscous Salad.
Rice and Beans doesn't always have to be the most frugal meal,use combination of flavors and foods to make food interesting.I used very common and affordable ingredients for the salad which can be a meal in itself.Barley or Bulgur wheat can also be used instead of couscous.Canned chickpeas are easiest way to add protein to your meal.Use any combination of fresh or dry ,herbs and spices in stock.
Makes 4 servings of Salad or 2 servings of main dish.
2 cups Couscous(or Bulgur wheat or barley)
2 Green Bell Peppers
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup frozen cooked edamame(Baby soy beans),thawed
1/2 medium onion,finely chopped
1 medium ripe tomato ,chopped
1 cup greens chopped(I used turnip greens)
1 teaspoon spice mix of choice(I used a combination of chili powder ,turmeric and cumin )
Use any chopped herbs for garnish.
Roast the peppers as in this recipe,peel the skin and remove the seeds.Either chop or mix in the salad or use them as serving bowl depending on the size of the peppers.
Prepare the couscous by heat oil in a medium pan,add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes,add the spices and 2 cups of water.Bring to a boil,mix in the couscous ,turn the heat off ,cover and allow the couscous to cook.
After 10-15 minutes uncover and fluff the couscous using a fork.Mix in the cooked chickpeas,edamame,chopped tomatoes and greens.Add chopped roasted peppers or serve in the peppers.
The salad is my entry for No Crouton Required,the theme of the month is Frugal .