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Unread 08-16-2010, 06:48 PM   #1
Whaddya buyin?
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Grocery List

So, I just moved into my first apartment (yay for independence!)

Anyways, As of right now I'm jobless and am living off of financial aid money, but I would like to buy healthier foods (as of now, my fridge has frozen corndogs in it, and my pantry has pop tarts, mac and cheese, and top ramen >.< I know, I'm going to get flamed for that, but the food is cheap.)

Does anyone have a list of food that they buy that's not too expensive, and is actually healthy? My knowledge of fitness/nutrition is very limited, and I don't have the patience to sit and count calories on my own. D:

Can anyone help me? Or does anyone know of a website that'll give me a list of foods to buy?
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Unread 08-16-2010, 07:22 PM   #2
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Um I assume you mean recipes? I mean you can just google 'healthy foods' (or recipes for that matter) and get list upon lists of veggies and all those things. But you can't just buy random foods and expect to make anything or eat them.
Another lesson is that food that is already made will be more expensive in the long run then food you make yourself. Plus any prepared foods are likely to be less healthy since they are made so that they can sit on the shelf a long time.
Since you can just google recipes for yourself I'll give you some tips that have helped me cook cheap and healthy.
1) Casseroles. Casseroles are great because you can make a lot of food quick and cheaply. It is really simple to whip up a casserole and freeze it to cook at a later date. Plus you can load them full of vegetables.
2) Spices. Spices can turn any boring meal into fun. Curry a few strips of chicken to spice up a salad. I like using a little spice on veggies that are good for me but aren't my favorites. Also don't buy exotic spices at normal grocery stores, they will be cheaper at asian super markets.
3) Buy your food weekly. (Have a budget & meal plan for each week so you don't go overboard) I do this because then I can buy fresh fruits and veggies without worrying they will go bad.
4) Look at the labels. I personally don't buy something if there is an ingredient I don't know, I write the word down and look it up later to see what it is. Like peanut butter for example, it can be a good healthy cheap food... as long as there is only peanuts in it. If your peanut butter can sit on your counter instead of your fridge you have the wrong stuff.
5) Don't throw out food until you are sure you can't use it. Stale bread can turn into breadcrumbs for tempura, garlic toast, or a bread salad. A slightly withered vegetable can still be used in curries and stirfrys.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 08:00 PM   #3
Whaddya buyin?
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Recipes are nice, but at the same time, I'd hate to look up a recipe to find that I have all but one ingredient, and I'd only ever use that ingredient for that one recipe.

As it is, my budget is scary tight, at least until I get a job.

Though what you said does make alot of sense >>.

We'll see how things go, I found out there's a farmers market near my apartment and I apparently fruits and veggies are cheaper than cheap there.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 08:10 PM   #4
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peanut butter w/ wheat bread
shredded wheat
frozen chicken breasts
red leaf / romaine lettuce (NOT ICEBURG)
Lean cuts of steak
pork chops

Just google cutting diet and you'll find tons. bodybuilders are the king of dieting.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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Then here is another rule. Be flexible. Recipes aren't the end all and be all of cooking. Young people (and I'm speaking as one) tend to be absolutely clueless about cooking. They get a recipe and think they need to follow it like a religious text. Follow an old grandma around any food market and see what she does. Usually she has no list, she buys what is in season, items she can use in lots of dishes. You need to learn how to cook, actually learn not just follow books. Pick up a recipe and change it, play with it. Does it ask for mangos? Don't know about you but mangos are crazy expensive here. But peaches, those are pretty common and cheap. Learn to substitute. Have every item but one? Check how much you need of it, if it's a single sprig of something or 1 teaspoon of another forget about it. Is the item a spice? Something that won't go bad for a very long time (or ever)? Well then try it, and use it somewhere else! An ingredient is beautiful in that you don't ONLY ever need to use it in one recipe. Just because spaghetti isn't really meant to be part of a curry doesn't mean it can't be. Tamarind puree, ever hear about it? I didn't until a few weeks ago and I like it. I only used it in one recipe but have added it to many more.
Buying locally grown veggies and fruits is very cheap do that as much as you can.
Also forgot to mention buy whole wheat everything. Bread, rice, etc.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 10:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by p8ntballsniper8 View Post
Recipes are nice, but at the same time, I'd hate to look up a recipe to find that I have all but one ingredient, and I'd only ever use that ingredient for that one recipe.

As it is, my budget is scary tight, at least until I get a job.

Though what you said does make alot of sense >>.

We'll see how things go, I found out there's a farmers market near my apartment and I apparently fruits and veggies are cheaper than cheap there.
Farmers' market. There you go. And often the farmers will have suggestions as to what to do with stuff, whether it be adding it to recipes, or what have you. Another great thing about farmers' markets is you can ask if they have seconds, which is produce that is ugly, or might be over or underripe. They probably will, and they'll probably be willing to negotiate with you about the price. Over and underripe fruit is great for making jam, which keeps indefinitely, and makes for an awesome and healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Jam's pretty easy to make. You can look up recipes online, or just experiment.

Another way to keep down both calories and budget is to drink more water. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it. Have soda and juice be special treats, and you'll not only save money and calories, but you'll also appreciate them more. That said, canned coconut water is delicious, can be found in most groceries, and is usually pretty cheap. I usually see it for 60 or 70 cents a can, and it's frequently on sale for even less.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 07:10 AM   #7
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Miracle Whip
Peanut Butter
Fruit that's on sale
Mushrooms & Frozen carrots/peas

With that I made Egg Salad Sandwiches, Peanut Butter & Banana sandwiches & Chicken Fried Rice... sometimes i'd go out and buy some pasta and sauce and make pasta with chicken. But I found it cheap enough to deal with, and getting me what I needed. Can use eggs for breakfast too, sunny side up eggs with toast & slices of banana and this and that. I'd use the peas, mushrooms and carrots in an omlette too...
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Unread 08-17-2010, 03:40 PM   #8
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It saves you a lot of money, and a lot of calories to get the right stuff and know how to prepare it for multiple meals throughout the week! Leftovers, and I'm talking about healthy leftovers, can save you a lot of money and effort if you just prepare stuff in simple ways.

For example, buy lean chicken breasts at whatever quantity you can afford, broil them in the oven (ay them out on a foiled pan, drizzle with some olive oil, black pepper and sea salt. set the oven to broil, or bake until they're cooked through) And you can take out your night's portion and store the rest in the fridge, ready to go for whatever flavors you want to try.
IE: That night you can use lemon pepper and scallions, the next night chop it up and make fajitas with bell peppers and onions, etc.

Sea Salt is a great investment, it lasts longer (especially the grinder types) and has a stronger flavor so you don't use as much. Natural sea salt contains trace amounts of minerals that can help your body preserve blood cells, and since the flavor is stronger, you won't overdose on sodium intake each day.

Let me work up a healthy grocery list for you real quick, it's a great idea to get the bare necessities and dress them up with spices!

Grocery List:


Frozen chicken breasts - (Manager's special is fine as long as you cook it that night w/ above method)
Ground Beef - (keep in freezer until use, before cooking, thaw)


Tomatoes - (Can be eaten by themselves with pepper, in a salad, in pasta, soups, etc.)
Red Onion - (Stirfried with chicken or beef, in stews, soups, pasta, most meals)
Potatoes - (In many varieties, these can be used in a million and one recipes)
Sweet Potatoes opt.- (Healthier, can satisfy sweet tooth. Good baked, mashed, etc.)
Grapes - (Amazing in chicken or tuna salad, by themselves as a snack, desserts)
Baby Carrots - (By themselves, stews, soups, garnish, etc.)
Bell Peppers - (Brightly colored, great in fajitas, spicy foods, stir fry, by themselves)
Fruits of choice - (Bananas, strawberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, whatever you like)
Fresh baby spinach or romaine lettuce - (Iron, in salad)
Celery - (Best vegetable ever. But uses the most pesticides, try to get organic.)


Frozen Peas - (Alone, as a side dish, or in recipes. Frozen last long and stays crisp.)
Frozen Corn - (Alone, as a side dish, or in recipes. Frozen last long and stay crisp.)


Eggs - (Healthy breakfast, in recipes, most baking requires eggs.)
Milk - (Skim, or soy milk, or almond milk)
Peanut Butter - (Great protein snack, in ramen, on a spoon, in a sandwich. Filling.)
Wheat or Whole Grain Breads - (Healthier and usually cheaper than white.)
Flour - (Always good to have for any occasion)
Rice - (Great side dish and grain)
Olive Oil - (A WAY better alternative to canola)


Lemon Pepper - (Adds great flavor to meats, veggies and pasta)
Sea Salt - (More satisfying than the additives in Iodized salt, but optional)
Low Sodium Soy Sauce - (Use sparingly, in most foods.)
Cinnamon - (Can make nearly anything a dessert!)
Garlic Powder - (Delicious garlicky taste, sans having your hands smell for a week)
Black Pepper - (Better for you than salt)

Annnnd now for some recipes!

Here's a few that are exceedingly simple:


Basic ground beef with onions-

Cook up some ground beef in a skillet, with black pepper and a little salt, once browned add in some diced onion and cook for a little bit longer. Garlic Powder optional.

-If there's leftovers or plain beef bores you, add in some tomato sauce and use it for Spaghetti or other pastas.


Lemon-Scallion Chicken

Take a raw, or precooked chicken breast, in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. While the chicken cooks, sprinkle the top side with lemon pepper and then flip once the other side is cooked through and sprinkle the second side with lemon pepper. Slice some scallions (baby green onions) and stir fry them with the chicken breast(s) until they're mixed in.
-As an alternative, sprinkle the fresh scallions on the chicken after it's done cooking and eat them fresh. Or use regular red onions.


Roasted Potatoes

Slice a potato (or two if there's more than one person) into thin strips, lay out on a foiled pan and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the potato slices in black pepper, a dash of garlic powder, sea salt and (if you have it) dried rosemary. Bake until the tops are sizzling and lightly browned.


Yummy Chicken Salad

Slice and dice some of your leftover chicken, put it in a bowl and add in
- Diced Tomatoes, doesn't have to be small dices, big chunks is fine too.
- Red onion, but not too much
- Celery, sliced thin or thick according to your taste
- Grapes, slice these too, and/or apples if you have them
- Hard boiled egg, take out the yolk and slice/dice the whites
- Mix it all together with a little bit of Miracle Whip OR Mayonnaise depending on what you prefer, and a little honey-mustard if you have it.
-Pepper for taste

Hope this helps you out a little! I find that recipes are good guidelines, but they're too restrictive if you're gonna follow it to the letter.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 04:23 PM   #9
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Yeah, definitely go to farmer's markets. If you can't find one or if it's during a time that you can't get to it, look for sales on vegetables at your grocery store. Generally, things that are in-season are going to be noticeably cheaper than things that aren't in season. So when I see that I can get a 2/$1 deal on fresh corn, I buy some corn. If that moves on to avocados or tomatoes, I buy those.

For beef, I'd often get some cubed stew beef from Costco. Take it home, split it into portions, put most of it in the freezer and some in the fridge to be used in cooking whatever meal you have planned. I also ate a lot of chicken breasts, which you can get for pretty cheap.

As for spices, it's often hard to get these for particularly cheap, so pick up some that you know you like and find recipes that call for them. If a recipe asks for something you don't have, if you can't afford to go buy it, try substituting it with something you do have, or leave it out all together and just put more of something else. Recipes are honestly a lot more flexible than they might seem.
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Unread 08-18-2010, 01:48 AM   #10
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One thing that's helped me that things that are rich in color are great for you and avoid things that are white and creamy. C:
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Unread 08-18-2010, 02:00 AM   #11
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Go to Trader Joes. Seriously. I filled my entire fridge and pantry with food for only 60 bucks. No TAX! Most of their stuff is organic and they have a lot of pre-packaged food that you can read up on the ingredients/calories, etc, to confirm if it suits your needs. They have some pre-made packages that are only 2 dollars each.

I have so much food that I am thinking some of it will go bad before I can finish it all @-@; I have to start thinking up some recipes and quick.

Fruits, veggies, pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads, etc...make the best cheap foods for the healthy conscious.

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