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Eating Healthy on a Budget

When we first joined Weight Watchers Online, we went nuts with only name brand expensive foods that were diet-friendly.  I sort of overlooked the wide variety of regular foods that would work just fine and keep my grocery budget from exploding.  We have now been on Weight Watchers for more than 6 months, and here are the diet friendly foods that we enjoy that also don’t break the bank:

Breakfast

  • Honey Nut Cheerios – $6 for a double box from Sam’s Club
  • Eggs – $1.50 on a bad day for a dozen
  • Turkey bacon (12 slices) – $2 a package

Lunch

  • Smart Ones frozen dinners (great for lunch and I like them a lot) – $1.50 – $2.25 each
  • Progresso soups (2 servings) – $0.80 a can
  • Leftovers – negligible

Dinner

  • Lean Turkey (93% fat free) – $2.89 a pound on sale and we stock up
  • Chicken breast – $2 – $3 a pound
  • Tilapia – $3 a pound on a bad day
  • Frozen green beans – $1 a pound

Snacks

  • Sugar Free Jello – $0.50 for 8 servings
  • Bananas – $0.45 a pound
  • Green seedless grapes – $1 a pound right now
  • Nectarines – $1.30 a pound
  • Plums – $1 a pound

Since our diet assigns a certain number of points to each food, we actually eat a ton of different things, but the options above are great fall backs to conserve as many points as possible. 

A normal week day for me would be:

  • 1 cup of Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 1/3 cup of whole milk
  • Banana
  • Smart Ones lunch
  • Nectarine
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup rice or chopped roasted potatoes
  • Sugar free jello or 4 ounces of frozen yogurt
  • Sweets to finish off any points I have left

Overall, my husband and I usually spend about $15 jointly on food a day as our average.  Some days will be $10 and some will be $20.  Overall, we try to keep ourselves fed on $500 a month but have strayed up to $650 before and down to $350 before.  It all depends on what we want to eat on a given day, lol.

How do you eat healthy on a budget?



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you).  I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too!  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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16 thoughts on “Eating Healthy on a Budget

  1. You probably hear this all the time but I am jealous of your local food prices 🙂

    One of the ways we save money on groceries but keep them healthy is by buying fresh vegetables on sale. In my area a 12 ounce bag of frozen vegetables costs $2.50 so I try to stock up on fresh when it goes on sale for $1.00 per pound. It helps that we are pretty adventurous when it comes to food and don’t mind trying out a new recipes.

  2. We have some good friends whose daughter was just diagnosed with Celiacs disease, so they have made the decision to go gluten free as a family.

    I was absolutely shocked to hear the prices they have to pay for gluten free food. it is mind boggling.

    It is sad that healthy food options are so expensive. I think that might be one major cause of obesity in our country. All the cheap food (or the vast majority of it) is super UNhealthy.

  3. I go gluten-free occasionally and it’s very tough to keep on budget even when I make everything from scratch.
    We try and eat local, organic and non-processed foods on a budget of $450/month for a family of 4. It’s tough and if we hit 2 of the three goals we are happy. Last year we attempted to get down to $350/month and it helped to make everything from scratch but I wasn’t working so I had the time.

  4. Best tip I can give you is that if you have an Aldi near you, shop there! You won’t find Smart Ones there but you will find many of the generic items (chicken, grapes, rice, green beans, etc.). I have saved roughly 50% on my grocery budget by shopping there.

  5. Your food choices sound a lot like mine! I try to buy fresh produce in season to keep costs down, and I always make a little extra for lunch the next day.

  6. $500-$650 a month? Does that amount include dining out? It seems from your menu above that your food choices are pretty inexpensive. I didn’t discover the Smartone until earlier this week. I didn’t buy it as part of a weight program, but because they were only $1.99 at Target. LOL.

    “Don’t Prevent Wealth!”

  7. Wow … $500 a month sounds like a LOT to me. My housemate and I split the cost of food and we keep it to around $300 a month or so and we eat WELL.

    We buy a lot of stuff from costco and freeze it, but we also eat a lot less processed and pre-prepared food than you guys seem to.

    Here’s some of what we buy on a regular basis:
    Chicken breast (get it at costco for $2/lb)
    oats (both rolled and steel cut)
    eggs
    lean pork loin (a whole loin is $15 at costco and we can get 8 meals out of one)
    shrimp and tilapia (again frozen in bulk at costco)
    dried beans and peas (for everythign from soups to salads, to adding to casseroles and crockpots)
    canned diced tomatoes and Ro-Tel tomatoes
    tortillas
    Greek yogurt (my favorite brand is availble at costco for 1/3 the price of the grocery store)
    baby spinach (for salads, for smoothies, for casseroles, omelets,etc.)
    whatever veggies or fruits are on sale / seasonal

    I do buy Amy’s frozen products (especially the Indian meals and Mexican meals) for taking to work because they’re yummy, have no preservatives, are mostly organic, and are not all that expensive.

    My big splurges are cheeses and coffee – both of which can get spendy and both of which I love and will indulge myself in. But even with those, our grocery cost rarely rises above $400 a month for the 2 of us.

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