Monday, July 30, 2012

Make: Quick, Healthy, Cheap Meals. (you're welcome)

I suppose I've been consolidating these sources for awhile and haven't been sharing (how rude of me). But I have gathered quite the collection of quick, healthy, and cheap meals via our BFF- The Internet. So without further adieu...

A Year of Slow Cooking

  • Whats that you say? You don't have a crock pot? GO TO TARGET NOW. NOW. NOW. Or craigslist. Whatever you do, get one asap because the >$20 investment will save you tons of moola in the end. 
  • Por Ejemplo: place frozen chicken breasts in crock pot. Cover with 3/4 cup teriyaki sauce. Cook on low for 6 or high for 4. EAT. This is what Im saying. Sundays have become my slow cooker day and give me at least 4 servings which I can eat for dinner or lunch the next few days or freeze for much later (like soups. Try taco soup. You will die. And its literally opening cans and pouring them in)
  • If you are really smart you can turn it on before bed and wake up with lunch for the next day! Or do it in the morning and come home to the house smelling of garlic chicken and all you have to do is EAT. 
  • All fresh, tons of healthy recipes, if you add a whole grain and steam some veggies you even get a double dose of healthy. 

  • Now I haven't tried this yet, besides making a big crock of vegan soup every once in awhile and freezing for nights when I don't have dinner (plus its cheaper and healthier then those low cal canned soups and $3/can), BUT I hear from valuable sources its time consuming for one weekend and then you're set for potentially even longer then a month depending on how much you eat. Wow right?
  • they have meal plans for all kinds of diets that come out every season and have dishes according to whats in season, do all the grocery lists for you auto adjustable by #of people, give you a schedule for your day of cooking to really utilize your time, and it covers almost 100% of meals (not just dinners). PLUS the meal planning everything is FREE, and the ingredients aren't expensive or difficult. 
  • they even have weight watchers plans, vegetarian, 10 day vegan, whole foods, and baby food. 
  • I know. Lets do it NOW. 

  • I found out about these from Hungry Girl which is an all around amazing site, but these suckers you literally just put the ingredients into some tin foil, wrap them up, and cook. Out comes a complete, delicious, healthy meal in usually less then 30min! 
  • Once again, if you want to add grains those are really quick and healthy to make even if you don't have a rice cooker
  • There are lots on her website, just search "foil pack". One could even make 4 at a time and have meals for a few days...just saying. 

  • This is highly recommended by Dave Ramsey, friends of mine, and even my family! We've been doing it for a few weeks now and love it. 
  • Pay $5/month for a month of weekly meal plans customizable by diet choice (includes low fat, vegetarian, no processed foods, low carb, etc.) for a week of dinners for 2-3 people at $50/week
  • Every month also connects to whats in season, gives you a grocery list, and connects the meals so what you buy you use throughout the week on more then one meal. Meals take less then 30min to make and we've found to be really creative. 
  • So lets see, if you're single and save the other half of the dinners for lunch, you do this and buy your snacks/breakfasts for under $20. Thats $70 or less per week on healthy groceries and meals!
Protein Shakes, tubs of plain yogurt, frozen fruit, almond milk...
I can't tout these breakfast life savers enough. Every morning I quickly blend my hemp protein with some unsweetened almond milk and half a banana or frozen fruit. Tubs of plain yogurt (soy in my case), the other half of the banana cut up in it, and a titch of agave I have around 10a. High protein and little to no carbs until dinner has greatly increased my energy at work too. Plus the hemp protein I use is $20/month...almond milk a few bucks...bananas $1/pound...and buying the tubs of yogurt instead of individual cups saves money too. I get away with about $1.50-$2.00 on my breakfasts/morning snacks this way! 

Frozen Chicken breasts, frozen organic veggies...
Whenever chickens on sale I buy a bit extra and just freeze it to use for another time. You can get a few meals worth of chicken for a couple of bucks. I try and keep some always on hand so a healthy meal is always an option instead of take out or easy but heavy spaghetti. Did you know frozen vegetables are often considered healthier then even buying local produce? Why? Because they are flash frozen right after being picked and retain more of their nutrients this way while the local produce had to be shipped and sit in the store. Whenever frozen organic vegetables are on sale I buy a few and when cooking grains in my cooker, just stick em right into the steamer on top. BOOM- DINNER.

Love for the BULK SECTION...
Find a local Sprouts/Henrys, co-op, or wherever in your area sells things in bulk because OH MAN does it shave off a lot of cost. Lets see, $3 for a tiny box of cous cous...or $3 for a HUGE bag of cous cous...lets do the math on that one. Also great for when you're baking and only need a little bit of something. I like to keep a big bag of brown rice and a cans of beans in my cupboards at all times just in case its toward the end of the pay period and I've somehow run out of food.

I am sure after boyfriend and baby cake come I'll have even more perspective since my time will be somehow even more limited. But for now these are all serving me rather well. Also keep an eye out for special "Ad" days, coupons, promotions, etc. Every little bit counts.  You're welcome.



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