Healthy Meals on a Tight Budget

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Being on a budget does not mean you have to feed your family unhealthy, processed food meals or stick to the fast-food drive-through. Certain healthy foods such as beans, pasta and frozen vegetables are known for being inexpensive. If you buy vegetables and fruits locally and in season, you may be able to get a good deal as well.

Vegetable Lasagna

You can make a healthy and delicious lasagna to serve a family of four or six, usually for less than $10. You may be able to spend less if you buy the ingredients on sale. Purchase a package of regular lasagna noodles as well as a jar of your favorite tomato sauce. Go light on the cheese to save money and to cut down on the amount of fat in the dish. Layer the noodles with the sauce, frozen or fresh vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini and onions, and a small amount of ricotta or cottage cheese. If you want to add protein, add a small amount of browned ground beef or a can of white beans to the vegetable layer.

Leftover Soup

One way to keep your food costs down is to come up with edible, creative ways to use leftovers. If you have some ground beef or grilled chicken left over from another meal, you can prepare a simple soup to keep your family fed and happy. Chop up some aromatic vegetables, such as onions, carrots and celery, and sauté them in a saucepan. Pour in about 6 cups of water or broth, and add the chicken or beef. If you have leftover vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach or potatoes, add those to the soup as well. Season with a tablespoon of tomato paste, some dried herbs, and salt and pepper. Serve the soup with crackers or sliced bread.

Beans and Rice

Beans are an excellent source of protein when you are on a budget and even when you are not. Both dried beans and canned beans are inexpensive. Canned beans tend to cost a bit more but do not have to be soaked and cooked. Brown rice and beans combined makes a well-balanced and filling meal, full of protein, starch and fiber. Vary the type of bean you use depending on the mood you are in. Lentils seasoned with curry powder and prepared with onion and garlic will create a nice, Indian-inspired meal while black beans with taco seasoning will give you a Tex-Mex dinner.

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