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BF Money Saving Meals

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.

Breakfast – Southwestern Scramble

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!

Lunch – Magic Meatballs

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!

Dinner – Taco Casserole

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).

Dessert

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!

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9 comments

  1. Good tip about buying the cheaper, fatter meat. In the past I've even put the cooked meat in a colander and rinsed it in hot water.

  2. Great recipes I can't wait to try them! I'm all about saving a buck! Good money saving tips too! I do have a question…I was always taught that buying leaner ground meat actually saves you money because by the time you are done draining the fat in the fattier ground meat you are left with much LESS meat… in other words if you buy a pound of regular ground beef and cook and drain the fat, you are left with 80% of a pound…but if you buy the extra extra lean ground beef and cook and drain the fat, you are left with 93% of a pound. So you get what you pay for, and you actually have most of your pound of meat to cook with. Was I taught wrong? Now I'm wondering about the math of it all…lol.

  3. You know you would think that wouldn't you? But meat companies charge you for removing that extra fat, so the per pound price is actually significantly higher (even when you factor in the reduction of the meat). You could do that work yourself and save a few pennies. Buy you're right, once you go above a certain amount of fat that savings is sort of nil. That's why I suggested a good 80/20 or even 85/15. You still get your money's worth whereas with a 70/30 meat it probably is cheaper to go with the leaner stuff (and healthier too).

  4. Those meatballs look amazing! My children would love them! I can't believe how cheap they are to make. Fantastic recipes here thank you!

  5. Thinking about it though…I think it'd be better to use 2 lbs of meat. I think that recipe makes about 12 meatballs. If your family can commit to three apiece that's fine. I know I can only eat about two so my divas easily take care of the leftovers! They go great over whole wheat pasta for the kids with some nice sauce!

  6. I'm going to pounce that taco meal on a friend or two.

  7. This was a great post! The taco casserole looks amazing and I am going have to try it. Oh course with the Cheese cake for two, how romantic! Thanks for all the great ideas you have inspired me.

  8. I make my own Greek yogurt, so it's not really a splurge 😉

  9. I might actually debate you on that point. From my experience making Greek yogurt, it's more expensive to make (in terms of how much milk yields how much yogurt) than to just buy it on sale at the store. So for me, homemade Greek yogurt is MORE of a splurge! If you have cheap ideas on making it, though, please share!!! It's easy enough to do, it just was never cheap for me.