Times are tough. Let me say that again…times are tough!
Believe me, I know. I live in one of the many houses in Baltimore that relies on oil heating, so that means I have to purchase oil every winter at about $3.50/gallon (and I have a 175 gallon tank). Needless to say cold weather = constant stress and penny pinching!
I know many of you are doing the same. And so often we think cutting costs means cutting nutrition. But the good news is this: eating on a budget does NOT mean you have to eat Ramen noodles! Most of the recipes on this blog are budget-friendly (mostly cuz I am broke), but here are a few where you get a lot of bang for your food buck.
Use real eggs instead of egg substitute and make a big batch of this for breakfast for the fam! Serve with whole wheat toast for a breakfast that makes everyone happy. This feeds about 4-6 people.
- A dozen eggs: $1.25
- Pre-cooked bacon (use about half the pack to feed four): $3.00
- Salsa (use about half the jar): $1.39
- Avocados (use about 2): $3 (this would be the splurge)
- Mexican Blend cheese (instead of Pepperjack): $2.99
Price for all ingredients is $11.63, which comes out to $2.90 per person to feed four! For an extra buck, get a 6 oz. container of salsa in place of Greek yogurt!
My kids looooove these things. If you eat lunch with the fam, spend an extra $2 for whole wheat hot dog buns and toast them, put the meatballs inside with sauce on top for a mini-meatball sub alongside a simple green salad. If you lunch alone, this recipe makes a few days worth of lunches!
- 1 lb. ground turkey: $1.25
- TVP (what’s that?): For the amount I use here about $0.50
- String cheese: About $0.75
- 1 egg (for the egg white): About $0.10
Total cost: $2.60, or $0.65 per person for a family of four!
This is by far the most popular recipe on this blog ever. It’s layers of taco seasoned meat, veggies and beans, topped with fat-free refried beans and melty cheese! What’s not to love! Here’s how the cost of mine breaks down (by shopping at Aldi):
- 1 lb. ground turkey (I get the regular fat kind and drain it myself after cooking): $1.25
- 1 can black beans – $0.69
- 1 can tomatoes & chiles – $0.69
- 1 envelope taco seasoning – $0.25
- 1 can fat-free refried beans – $0.89
- 1 bag Mexican blend cheese – $2.99
This batch will feed one post-op and probably three or four more people (especially if you serve it to non-ops with a side of whole-grain tortilla chips and a simple salad). The entire batch costs $6.76 or $1.69 per person (based on four people).
Lest we not forget dessert! Whip up a “cheesecake for two” and share it with someone you looooove!
To save money in this recipe, use a tablespoon of vanilla pudding mix instead of vanilla sugar-free syrup.
- Cream cheese (5 oz.): $0.95
- 1 egg: About $0.10
- Greek yogurt (2 oz.): $0.33
- Crushed cereal (for crust): About $1.00
- Optional – Sugar-free jelly for topping (2 tablespoons): About $0.50
- Optional: Protein Powder: (for the kind I use – 2 scoops): $1.44
That comes out to $4.32 for the whole thing or $2.16 to serve two, which isn’t bad considering for you this is probably a meal unto itself!
These are just a few of the budget friendly options on BF. In general here are some budget saving, protein amping tips:
- If you can get TVP in bulk, buy it! It increases your ground meat sauces and acts as a binder for things like tuna cakes and meatballs. At my Whole Foods, it costs $1.99/lb.
- Don’t buy extra lean ground meat unless you are really sensitive to fat. Instead, buy something like 80/20 and drain it yourself (and make sure to rinse out the excess fat in the pan while doing so)! You come out just a wee bit higher in fat than the lean stuff but the cost reduction is dramatic.
- Make simple meals made of ground meats, beans, etc. shine with one splurge ingredient. That might be Greek yogurt or a special cheese – you decide! You’d be amazed at how one small splurge makes a meal feel decadent.
Those are just a few of many money-saving tips you could use to eat well after WLS! Share yours in the comments section!