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Healthy, cheap eats: Nutritious for nearly nada

Many people assume that eating healthy is expensive. Not true. In fact, you can regularly enjoy nutritious fare without spending a fortune. You will, however, need to plan ahead, comparison shop, take advantage of generic store brands, and buy as many items as possible in bulk at wholesale shopping clubs (like Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club). Check out the following inexpensive ideas for breakfas
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Many people assume that eating healthy is expensive. Not true. In fact, you can regularly enjoy nutritious fare without spending a fortune.

You will, however, need to plan ahead, comparison shop, take advantage of generic store brands, and buy as many items as possible in bulk at wholesale shopping clubs (like Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club).

Check out the following inexpensive ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Pricing is based on grocery stores in the New York City area, and all meals incorporate generic brands and/or items from wholesale shopping clubs (unless a specific brand name is mentioned). Prices may vary depending on your location.  

Breakfast options

Mini bagel with tomato and cheese = $1.46

One Thomas' 100% whole-wheat mini bagel topped with sliced tomato and two slices melted Kraft 2% reduced fat cheese; enjoy with one orange or half grapefruit.

Oatmeal with berries, wheat germ and flax = 85 cents

One serving quick oats topped with ½ cup chopped strawberries, one tablespoon wheat germ, one tablespoon ground flaxseeds and 2 teaspoons optional sugar; enjoy with one glass skim milk.

Scrambled eggs and English muffin = $1.20

Two scrambled eggs cooked in nonstick spray; serve with toasted whole-grain English muffin topped with 2 teaspoons I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter.

Lunch options

Lean Pocket and soup = $2.00

One Lean Pocket sandwich served with 2 cups of prepared Campbell'sHealthy Request tomato soup.

Taco Bell = $1.98

Two “fresca style” healthy chicken or bean tacos (extra salsa)

Baked potato with broccoli and cheese = 90 cents

One medium baked potato topped with one cup cooked broccoli and ¼ cup reduced-fat shredded cheese.

Afternoon snacks

  • 5 cups air-popped popcorn (2 tablespoons Jolly Time kernels) = 5 cents
  • ¼ cup raw almonds = 20 cents
  • One Polly-O string cheese (large bag, wholesale club) = 16 cents
  • One apple = 50 cents
  • One pack Nature Valley granola bars (standard grocery store box) = 28 cents
  • One Quaker granola bar (large box, wholesale club) = 16 cents

Dinner ideas

Chicken, brown rice and vegetables = $1.00

4 oz chicken breast (Perdue, wholesale club large bag); with one cup cooked Uncle Ben’s brown rice and one cup mixed veggies.

Pasta with marinara sauce and shrimp = $1.70

2 oz dry Mueller’s whole-grain penne (one cup cooked); with ¾ cup marinara sauce and 3 ounces frozen shrimp.

Homemade turkey chili = $1.00

See recipe below:

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Joy Bauer is the author of “Food Cures.”  For more information on healthy eating, check out Joy’s Web site at www.joybauernutrition.com