I couldn’t resist writing a list-based article that sounds straight out of 2008. However, that’s precisely what this article is going to be. Well, it will be my version of what I eat on the cheap. It’s going to be different than what you eat or how much you choose to spend on your food.
As I reach my late 40s, I realize that I need to focus on healthier foods. In the past, I would prioritize cost, taste, and especially quickness. It’s not just that I’m Lazy, but that when I had two toddlers and a bunch of dogs to feed, I came last.
The kids are older, but I’m still making many different meals. Here’s how I’m balancing things now:
Broccoli and Carrots
I mix these in a bowl at the start of most days and graze through it until lunch. I can still have a normal breakfast such as the breakfast sandwich that I pointed out here.
You may have noticed, but eggs are back! They never disappeared, but they became so expensive that many looked for alternatives. Some of the cheapest stores near me had them near $5 for a dozen. I cut back on eating eggs. There’s no need to cut back anymore! One store near me has them consistently at $1.20 a dozen. Another is having a sale on eggs for 99 cents a dozen.
It’s going to be the summer of egg salad!
(Parts of this section may be best interpreted as coming from Seinfeld’s George Costanza.)
I’d forgotten that beans existed until an article came across my (virtual) desk: Eat more beans. Please.
Well, if you are going to ask nicely, you’ve got my attention. Most everyone knows beans are cheap and a great source of protein and fiber. That article makes a great point by explaining how it is eco-friendly too.
I’ve always bought and eaten a can of pinto beans that way. However, I’m exploring making them fresh. It’s a little more work and planning, but it’s a lot cheaper. I don’t need to save a few pennies, but I can make as much or as little as I need. I also don’t have to recycle the can. However, the big reason why I’m making them fresh is that it’s fun to learn something new. It’s helpful to control how much sodium I want to add (if any).
It’s not surprising to see chicken on this list. What is surprising is that it seems to be inflation-proof. Stores are always running a special on bone-in chicken thighs for 99 cents a pound.
A lot of red meat has jumped up to $3.99 or $4.99, but chicken just stays the same.
Peanuts have always been a favorite of mine. They might be the perfect food. They are cheap and full of protein. They have a lot of calories which can be good if you are in a rush and don’t have time for a meal.
I like to keep mixed nuts around. My theory is that the variety helps me diversify nutrients like a mutual fund helps diversify stocks. Mixed nuts may cost a little more. The lifestyle inflation police just took out a warrant for my arrest.
I know it’s weird to add ramen to this list. It has almost zero nutritional value. I might as well have added soda to the list, right? However, it’s cheap and quick to make. I also genuinely love the taste. It’s versatile too! I combine it with most of the above items on the list.
I have been making it wrong for years. I guess that the instructions say that you are supposed to add the flavoring at the end. I always dumped it in the water and cooked the noodles in that broth. I’ve probably been pouring 95% of the salt down the drain. That’s a great thing because all the sodium is the major concern with ramen.
Alternatively, I often choose rice. That’s healthier. It requires a little more planning, like the beans.
There you have it – some ways to eat on the cheap. As you can tell, I mostly went with foods that have protein. That can be the expensive part of the meal.