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Healthy diet under $12/day

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By Thomas DurbinPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 2 min read

Basic, inexpensive, healthy diet ideas that I've incorporated into my daily routine. This helps with budget, planning, physical health, daily efficiency, and peace of mind.

Many of these recipes last several days without going bad or turning sour.

Chili and southwest chicken can be frozen and saved for later if you don't want to eat the same thing 4 or 5 days in a row. The leftovers from salad saved for pizzas may also be frozen for later use.


Under $2.00 per meal:

8 ounces of 2% milk.

1/2 cup of oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon added,

or ~1 cup of honey-oat cereal (in the milk),

or 2 eggs, scrambled or over hard,

or a small bowl of fruit slices, berries, and/or melon slices.


Under $2.50 per meal:

I usually drink water, so there's no cost added for beverages.

4 or 5 carrot sticks,

1 banana,

2 slices of whole-grain bread, peanut butter, and honey to make my sandwich.

Supper and additional lunch ideas:

I usually drink water, so there's no cost added for beverages.

Healthy salad meals, 5 for under $20.00 total ($4.00 each).

Spinach, 5 oz. package for $3.99,

Portobello Mushroom, $3.99 for two,

Red Pepper, $1.59 for one,

Black Olives, $2.00 for one can,

Cucumber, $0.84 for one,

Grape Tomatoes, $2.64 for one package,

Colby Jack cheese (shredded), $1.99 for one bag.

Leftovers: enough Portobello Mushroom chunks, Red Pepper chunks, and Black Olive slices for 2 pizzas.

Healthy salmon meal under $6/meal.

I bought ~21 ounces of salmon for $11, which gives me 3 portions (under $4 each). It was on sale. Be sure to watch for sales.

The vegetables are under $1/serving.

Add a slice of whole-grain bread and butter (<25 cents).

Salmon preparation:

Mix olive oil with turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and mrs. dash seasoning. Coat the salmon with this mixture.

EDIT: Bake it at 425 F for 27 minutes to 41 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon and your preference.

TD's Chili:

2 jars of tomato paste or spaghetti sauce ($8.00),

1 jar of salsa (usually black bean & corn or pineapple salsa ($4.25),

1 can of red beans ($1.25),

1 can of black beans ($1.25),

Season to taste. I use various spices and mixes, including turmeric, cumin, garlic, onion, chili powder, red pepper, and/or cajun seasoning (less than $2.00 of seasonings).

Heat in a crock pot for ~90 minutes. Stir occasionally.

This costs less than $20.00 for at least 5 chili suppers (under $4.00 each).

Serve it by the bowl with shredded cheese and/or crackers to suit you.

Southwest chicken:

2 pounds of chicken breast ($12.00),

1 jar of salsa ($4.25),

1 cup of rice (less than $1.00) or rice-quinoa mix,

1 packet of taco seasoning ($1.00),

2 cups of water from the tap.

Cook this in a crock pot on high for ~4 hours, stirring occasionally. Use forks to shred the chicken breast and mix a couple of times during the last hour. Shred and mix after 4 hours and let it cool with the crock pot off and unplugged.

1 package of 8 spinach and herb taco wraps ($6.50).

The total is under $25.00 for at least 8 southwest chicken wrap meals.

Serve with grated cheese or guacamole to suit your taste.

how to

About the Creator

Thomas Durbin

Raised in rural east-central Illinois, I appreciate nature and the environment. I'm a father, grandfather, professional engineer-scientist, leader, scouts leader, coach, stoic, minimalist, costumer, historian, traveler, and writer.

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