Eating Healthy On A Budget – Week 1

By Harris Reynolds | September 10, 2015
We are working on our new Eating Healthy on a Budget Program.  Here are the basic steps we are following as we create this program:

  1. Purchase healthy food from discount store (like Aldi)
  2. Create Meals based on what is available
  3. Create recipes for those meals
  4. Enjoy healthy, affordable and delicious food
  5. Repeat 1-4 every week

Grocery List

Here is what we purchased this week, including the prices:

Pork Asstd Chops, 5.78

B/S Chicken Thighs, 3.71

Mild Italian Links, 2.99

Diced Tomatoes, 0.55

Organic Chicken Broth, 1.79

Garlic, 0.99

Red Onions, 0.99

Crushed Tomatoes, 0.95

Flat Leaf Spinach, 1.79

Iceberg Lettuce, 0.99

Carrots, 0.49

Pomegranate, 0.99

Butternut Squash, 1.89

Fresh Asparagus, 1.99

Homogenized Milk, 3.29

Aged White Cheddar, 2.49

Roma Tomatoes, 1.69

Unsweetened Almond Milk, 2.29

Plain 32oz Yoghurt, 1.89

Green Peppers, 1.89

Jalapeno Peppers, 0.89

Limes, 0.99

Bartlett Pears, 1.99

Bananas, 1.38

Total including sales tax for these items was $48.70.

Items we already had

There are several things you will want to always have on hand for this program.  These items you won’t buy every week, but should try to keep them stocked.  Things like: flax seeds (whole seeds, not already ground), cans of beans, whole raw almonds, eggs, etc.


In order to eat healthy, you need to have some healthy snacks.  This week our snacks include: white cheddar cheese, bartlett pears, and a pomegranate.



  1. Pork Chops with Roasted Asparagus and Carrots
  2. Spaghetti squash with meat sauce and salad
  3. Chicken chili
  4. Stuffed Bell Peppers, black beans or refried beans side dish


Spaghetti squash with meat sauce

First get the squash started.

  1. Preheat over to 400
  2. Cut Squash in half
  3. Remove seeds
  4. Place each half face down in roasting pan
  5. Add a little water
  6. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the size)
The squash is done when it is tender all the way through.  Test this like you would a baked potato by pushing a fork through the squash.  It should easily go all the way to the peel when it is done.

After the squash is done cooking remove from pan and scoop out the spaghetti.  Done.

The prep time here is about 5 minutes, but the cook time is 30 to 45, so start with this.

Homemade marinara meat sauce

  1. In a medium size pan, melt a couple tabs of butter (ghee or coconut oil is good too)
  2. Peel and finely dice an onion (red, yellow, sweet… any one will work)
  3. Do the same with a couple cloves of garlic
  4. Saute the garlic and onion for 5 minutes on medium heat
  5. After onions are turning translucent, pour in a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes.
  6. Stir well and after it comes to a boil turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes
  7. The final touch here is basil.  Add dry or fresh basil to your sauce and you have a brilliant homemade marinara sauce.
  8. Season with salt to taste
You could serve this as is for a simple vegetarian dish at this point.  Or you could add meat.  The easiest meat to add would be to simply brown some ground beef (the leaner the better as we can get better fat from other sources).

  1. Brown meat in a pan
  2. Break it into small pieces
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Add to our homemade tomato sauce.

Chicken chili

1.5 pounds skinless chicken thighs
kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1 white onion, diced
2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes, including juice
2 15 ounce cans beans (black, white, or pinto)
1/2 cup chicken stock

Optional: spinach or kale

Season the chicken thighs with salt and chili powder. Heat butter over medium high heat in a large dutch oven or 8 quart stockpot. Brown chicken on both sides for 5 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Remove from pan and set aside

Add the onion to the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until onion becomes tender. Add tomatoes with juice, beans with juice and chicken stock and stir making sure to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot. Nestle the chicken thighs with their juices in the tomato mixture, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until flavors have melded.

For an extra nutritional punch, serve hot chili over finely chopped spinach or kale (it will wilt and cook some in the bowl)






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