How to eat clean on a budget?

I am a young female living on my own and trying to pay the bills. how do you eat healthy ( say 50-60 bucks a week) and clean? only thing i can really afford are pastas and some fruit. i think i'm over eating starch and processed sugar but i don't know how to change it up. i sometimes eat meat but that's when i can afford it. when i walk into my kitchen the question is do i want quesadillas or spaghetti. i'm so tired of pasta but don't know how to get out of this food rut!


  • Jaxper
    Jaxper Posts: 23 Member
    To name a few:

    chicken (SKINLESS)
    any fish
    turkey breast, legs
    lean steaks (sirloin, flank, flat iron, filet) - if you feel like splurging sometime
    lean ground beef
    pork tenderloin
    greek yogurt
    sottage cheese
    spinach salad (vegetables in general, like peas, carrots, squash or corn)
    fruits in general
    egg whites/beaters
    rice (brown, wild or longrain, NOT white) and beans
    red or sweet potatoes (only in small amounts)

    Biggest thing is to drink a lot of water and cut out sugary drinks (mainly soda)

    That'd be a good place to start, and there are definitely much more options out there!
    Good luck!
  • Ward's has good meats at good prices. Their fruits and veggies are cheap too. Also farmer's markets have good produce prices. You may have to go to more than 1 place to stretch your budget. I usually go to Ward's, Wal-Mart. and Publix. Make a list and stick to it.
  • spaingirl2011
    spaingirl2011 Posts: 775 Member
    As a single young female myself, I say never underestimate the power of your crockpot and your freezer. You can buy food in bulk, cook it up, freeze it in single serving portions and then heat it up later. Soups, stews, lasagna, chicken, hamburgers/turkey burgers all can be frozen. Buy clean food on sale, cook it and freeze it. Hope this helps some!
  • sollyn
    sollyn Posts: 179
    Grated carrot, raw beetroot, red cabbage,
    sliced peppers, white cabbage,
    Stir fry white cabbage with a bit of lean bacon and have with baked potato and peas.
    If you have a freezer, get frozen veg to stirfry, this will reduce wastage.
    These are my regular standby's.

    Good luck.
  • mountainmare
    mountainmare Posts: 294 Member
    I'm married and our food budget for the two of us is in that range. We eat clean and don't have a problem. Don't buy processed foods--you eat pasta, do you make your own sauce or try pairing it with veggies. If you stay completely out of the center of the store and plan plan plan your meals based on what is on sale you'll be fine.
    WILSONBA Posts: 197
    thanks everyone, this has been very helpful. now to wait till pay day to start this "cleaner" eating!
  • RealHealthQuest
    RealHealthQuest Posts: 42 Member
    They tell you to shop the perimeter of the grocery store for your health, but that is also true for your wallet. Toss out the processed foods and focus on fruits and veggies and you will easily pay less. Also adding veggies or 'filler' in any dish will amp up the volume making you consume less calories and also stretch the food. Think of it this way: pasta sauce with ground meat is how much volume? Pasta sauce with meat, zuchinni, onion, mushrooms, spinach, etc...means a lot more in the same dish. Your pasta sauce will go farther and be more filling, you get the veggies you need, and you stretch your meat out over more meals.

    For protein options i highly suggest eggs which are as cheap as you can get. Also tofu by the pound is 1.99 about vs. 6.99 or more for other meats. I also love sardines. At about $1 a can you can get your omega 3s and still come out with a full wallet.

    When you see frozen seafood, chicken, etc... on sale, buy it! It might be more at that time, but over the long run it will be cheaper.

    Things such as brown rice and beans, if prepared yourself, are much cheaper than already prepared. Make a big pot at once and reuse in different dishes throughout the week.

    Frozen is your friend. Buy frozen veggies and fruit if you cant eat it all in the same week. Again, if these are on sale, stock up. They wont go bad, and they are just as healthy as fresh.
  • Acg67
    Acg67 Posts: 12,142 Member
    Pack of 12 only $56.98 shipped from Amazon

  • maab_connor
    maab_connor Posts: 3,957 Member
    do you have an Aldi near you? or another discount grocer? i can feed me and the roomie for about $80/wk from there.
  • Allie_71
    Allie_71 Posts: 1,067 Member
    Also the farmer's market is your best friend. Usually way cheaper than the grocery and you're less tempted by quick fix items.
  • maab_connor
    maab_connor Posts: 3,957 Member
    Also the farmer's market is your best friend. Usually way cheaper than the grocery and you're less tempted by quick fix items.

    heck yeah! amish markets opened mid may and i LOVE it!!
    WILSONBA Posts: 197
    Pack of 12 only $56.98 shipped from Amazon


    which product?
  • kwin91
    kwin91 Posts: 128
    What everybody has listed is really good, the markets and such. Try eating tuna, its cheap and is packed with protein and omegas.
    WILSONBA Posts: 197
    do you have an Aldi near you? or another discount grocer? i can feed me and the roomie for about $80/wk from there.

    i think the alternative store would be winn dixie
  • jamiem1102
    jamiem1102 Posts: 1,196 Member
    Lentils are an amazing food. They taste delicious, FILL you up, filled with protein and fiber, and are very versatile. I oftentimes put lentils in my pasta sauce. :) You can also make your own pasta sauce for really cheap -- (i.e. ground beef/turkey, tomato puree, whole tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika (if you have it), crushed red pepper, (lentils) and a little olive oil ) that's like 6 or 7 servings for maybe 30 bucks? Freeze it and have at it. :wink:

    I also agree with the Farmer's Market suggestion. Produce is cheaper and tastes way better. :)

    Good luck!!!
  • You've gotten some good suggestions already. The important thing for me is to not let anything go to waste. I save all the little bits and pieces of vegetables and meats (even bones) and keep them in a bag in the freezer. I make a soup out of all of it when I have saved enough. It's delicous and it's like a free meal. Same thing with fruits. If the kids ate half a banana the other half goes in the freezer and same with all other bits of fruits. I've made some great smoothies this way.
    I buy brown rice in bulk and once a week I cook a big pot of it. First I might have it plain with some soy sauce. The next morning I might use some of it to make rice pudding for breakfast, the next meal I might take some more and mix it with beans and salsa, or pour chilli over it or I might make rice pancakes with apple sauce. That way for me it's faster to get my meals ready and I don't have to waste any more energy to cook the rice because it's already cooked. You have to get creative with your meals...
    Here is a website I might recommend to you with frugal yet healthy meal ideas
    WILSONBA Posts: 197
    wow again thanks for all the suggestions, i am def. going to switch over to clean maybe then i'll shed these last 10 pounds!
  • Jugie12
    Jugie12 Posts: 282 Member
    get wal-mart brand chicken breasts and tilapia - that stuff is the bomb and is cheap! Invest in a jug of egg whites ( - i get mine for $30, lasts me 3 weeks or so, depending on how I use it. You can drink them straight not slimey, no flavor, consistency of water and is treated to be safe to drink straight) - make a protein shake with it, bake with it, scramble it or make an omelett... whatever. Adds a lot of good protein and variety with limited funds.

    TUNA!! cheapy stuff - Bumble Bee or wal-mart brand. Make it your buddy!

    this is just stuff i do that I can think of off the top of my head. Also spend a few bucks and get yourself some spices - cilantro, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, etc. Those are the main ones I use, actually, and I have lots of yummy recipes for simple stuff if you need them! Add me!
  • lahstrand
    lahstrand Posts: 32 Member
    I agree with everyone's suggestions. Find a grocery store that has bulk. Whole grains will fill you up! I make a pot of steel cut oats that last my daughter a whole week. I add in some frozen blueberries or diced apple. It equals like $2.00 for a whole week of breakfast for 2 of us! Same with brown rice and quinoa in bulk. Plus, it freezes really well too.

    Frozen spinach is one of the best cost efficient foods. Have you ever sauteed fresh spinach? You need a lot! I've heard that the frozen boxes of spinach start off as 6 cups of fresh spinach and you can get them for under $2. I usually only get frozen berries unless it is peak season. Otherwise they go bad quickly. Sometimes frozen is the better bet for nutrients too. if your food has traveled a long distance than usually the frozen has more nutrients because it is picked at peak and flash frozen right away. Travelling hundreds if not thousands of miles to get to you doesn't help it keep flavor either. Farmer's markets are great for that too.
  • BigDaddyBRC
    BigDaddyBRC Posts: 2,395 Member
    What is this "clean" you speak of? Your body has natural filters.
    Eat in moderation with what your budget allows.