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How to Create Cheap & Healthy Meals

We all need to eat. However, food prices seem to continue to rise [3]. You don’t want to eat out, since that can get expensive. Additionally, you probably don’t want to buy a bunch of pre-packaged meals (even though they are cheap), since they are often high in sodium and high fructose corn syrup. The key is to create inexpensive meals that are also healthy.

Here are some tips for creating meals that cost less than $3 a serving:

Grow Your Own Food

Really, one of the best ways to have the ingredients on hand for healthy meal creating is to start a garden [4]. We grow some of our own vegetables, and we grow herbs as well. We love the herb gardening because herbs are expensive to buy. Growing our own means that we have inexpensive (non-sodium) seasonings to flavor our food. Plus, we dry the herbs ourselves so they are available all year. You can freeze or dry many fruits and vegetables so that you have a cheap source of healthy ingredients all year.

Buy in Bulk

You can also buy in bulk [5]. When certain food items are on sale, buy more of them. This is especially helpful when it comes to staples. Make sure you build up your pantry so that you have ingredients on hand. When you are prepared ahead of time, you don’t have to resort to buying take out, or running to the store to purchase items that’s aren’t on sale. Keep track of the ingredients you commonly use, and buy them for cheap when they are on sale.

Plan Your Meals

Meal planning [6] is one of the best ways to ensure that you save money on your meals, as well as eat healthy. When you don’t have a meal plan, you are more likely to spend money by eating out in a pinch. Indeed, one of the issues my husband and I faced for a long time was the “What should we eat?” issue. Without a plan, we were always scrambling, and, more often than not, heading out to a restaurant. Look ahead, and plan your meals. You can make sure you have the right items on hand, and you will know exactly what you are making. Make an effort to engage in meal planning, and you will be more likely to save money, and eat healthier.

Look for Recipes

One of the best things you can do is to look for healthy recipes. There are a number of easy recipes [7] for a variety of foods. It’s worth it to invest in a healthy recipe book, including those that have meals that take 30 minutes or less to cook. You can also look online for great recipes. Some good places to look for health recipes include:

(Photo: DanieleCivello [13])