Cheap Healthy Cooking : Complete Guide to a Complete Meal

Want to start eating healthier? Have a budget? No problem. Follow this simple recipe and start eating healthier on a budget, today.

Tight budget? No problem

I started messing around in the kitchen when I was in high school

My dad had always cooked for me growing up and one day he wasn’t home, But I was hungry.

I didn’t have a car.

I didn’t have a cell phone (probably the only kid in my high school without one), and apps like GrubHub and Uber eats were still years away from being household names.

My stomach growled.

My mind clicked.

My primal teenage instincts activated.

I walked into the kitchen and began pulling food out of our refrigerator

Pots and pans clanged as I grabbed them from their homes in the cabinets.

I set a cutting board down and did my best to mimic my dads cooking of old.

After a meager performance of cutting vegetables, I was ready to cook. I turned the burner on and tossed my crudely cut vegetables in the pan.

Piece of cake.

This was easy!

I watched with delight as my vegetables sizzled inside the pan. I thought to myself :

This is it? This is cooking? This isn’t too difficult. What’s my dad always complaining about?”

I then walked into the living room to continue watching the show I had abandoned before the onset of my hunger. As I watched, I started to smell something funny. I knew this smell. It wasn’t pleasant. Oh, s–t!

I ran back into the kitchen to find my pan and vegetables amidst a cloud of smoke. I grabbed the pan to take it off the burner and looked inside. My vegetables were crispier than a charred chicken. Burnt.

I waited for the pan to cool down and emptied the contents into the garbage. My first attempt at cooking was a failure. I was still hungry and needed to do something about that quick.

I pulled out some bread and peanut butter. Something my culinary prowess could handle.

Later, when my dad had gotten home I told him about my cooking debacle. I asked him questions about what could have gone wrong After a couple of minutes troubleshooting my dad asked me :

Did you remember to put oil in the pan before you tossed in your vegetables?”

Ding Ding Ding…We have a winner.

My inexperienced teenage self forgot to add oil to the pan.

The lesson of the story: You will encounter failures along the road when trying to learn something new. My first failure in cooking happened over 10 years ago. I have encountered numerous other failures along the way, but continuing to pursue down the road is what gets you to success.

Now I love cooking. I like to cook as a way of relieving stress. Open a bottle of wine and get cookin. After years of trial and error, I’ve gotten to the point where I can experiment with new foods and not screw up the whole thing.

This is why I recommend this dish. I think it is a great place for you to begin.

If you are not accustomed to the kitchen this simple recipe is the perfect place to start. It’s a healthy meal with little ingredients that is affordable. Learning to master a dish like this will segue you into the culinary capability.

Just remember, don’t forget to add the oil.

how to eat better on a budget

Easy to prepare and super cheap

It’s also a great way to start eating healthier

looking slimmer

and to develop that nutritious new diet routine you’ve always wanted.

Grab a handful of vegetables from the produce section and a good carbohydrate to pair them with. Throw them in your basket, and walk to the check-out line. Look, you’re already on your way to being healthier!

By this point, you may be wondering,

When’s he going to add the meat.”

But the truth is, I like to eat more veggies and complex carbs than meat. I believe veggies offer more health benefits and are a better choice than meat.

Not to say I never eat meat. I believe meat does provide certain health benefits and I think we can all agree a nice piece of meat cooked properly is tastebud heaven. But I believe moderation is key.

If you’d like to learn more about why I like to eat veggies more than meat, here’s an article I wrote explaining why.

how to start eating healthier on a budget

Ingredients and Price

  • 1 Italian squash
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 organic carrot
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1 big Haas avocado
  • Organic tricolor quinoa (My carbohydrate)

I got all of this for a whopping $4.24. how to start eating better on a budget

YES, let me say that again FOUR dollars and TWENTY-FOUR cents!

The yield is tremendous. You can get so much food for such a low price. Look at how much food $4.25 produced.

I can eat..a lot, and even this dish makes me bust out the Tupperware and save some for later. All while eating slim and healthy. (AND TASTY!)how to start eating better on a budget

All it takes is one healthy meal a day to get started on the path to a healthier diet.

Why not start simple?

Why not start cheap?

This dish is perfect for people who have busy schedules, or people who are on a budget.

Eating healthier may seem daunting to people who aren’t accustomed to it, but if you really want to start eating slim all it really takes is a little time at the grocery store and a little time in the kitchen.

Your wallet will be fatter, and your waist will be slimmer. I promise you your body will thank you.

Again, here is a list of the ingredients and instructions if you’d like to cook this yourself at home :

  • 1 Italian squash
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 organic orange bell pepper
  • 1 organic carrot
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1 big Haas avocado
  • 1/4 lb. organic tri-color quinoa

how to eat better on a budget

Cooking instructions :

  1. Wash and rinse all vegetables
  2. Boil 1/2 cup of water. Add quinoa when the water has reached boiling, and reduce heat to simmer. Stir occasionally
  3. Begin to prep veggies. Cutting and slicing whichever style you desire.
  4. Heat skillet, pan, wok, etc. Add cooking oil once the pan is hot (i prefer to use olive oil)
  5. Once the pan is hot, add vegetables
  6. Cook veggies until your desired texture. Stirring frequently as to avoid burning
  7. Once quinoa starts to take shape and all water has been absorbed, take quinoa off of the burner. (i like to stir in  a little butter with the quinoa once it’s finished cooking)
  8. Plate your quinoa and vegetables and ENJOY!

Tips :

Learn how to cut your produce correctly. Here are some quick and helpful videos on how to cut perfect veggies :

As you can see I really like Gordon Ramsay. He has a bunch of quality videos on Youtube that can really help you in the kitchen. I highly recommend you check them out.

Making quinoa is sort of like making rice. But if you’ve never made rice, quinoa, or either before here is a good video demonstrating how :

Make sure to use sharp knives when cutting your vegetables

Sharp knives are safer than dull knives. Dull knife blades can slip from whatever you are cutting and catch a finger. Sharp knives are true in the sense that they are sharp enough to slice through whatever you are cutting and stay the course.

You really don’t want your knife sliding to the side of the tomato you are cutting and catching your finger. Ouch.

how to start eating better on a budget

Learn how to time manage

I know I know, you are probably thinking to yourself :

“How do you expect me to time manage when I’m still trying to figure out the basics?!” 

You are right. But. It’s not a bad idea to start being aware of how fast and how slow some things take to cook.

For instance, when you cook quinoa it’s going to take a little more time than other things. So you may want to start cooking your quinoa first. Let it start boiling and prep/cut your veggies in the meantime.

how to start eating healthier on a budget

The last thing you want is trying to deal with 3 different pots and pans on the burner.

This is how you burn/overcook things. Best to work smarter in the kitchen, not harder.

Get yourself a nice cutting board

Your cutting board is your foundation. Find one that is big enough to comfortably accommodate the vegetables you will be cutting. Also, find one that is sturdy and made out of good material. Preferably wood.

how to start eating healthier on a budget

When you are cutting you do not want your cutting board shifting and sliding. This can lead to you cutting your fingers. Some of the nicer cutting boards out their arent cheap.

If you are on a budget (like me) you may opt for a plastic cutting board. These aren’t the worst things you can buy. Although, they tend to lose their form and can morph in shape. I used to have a plastic cutting board. This is what happens over time :


how to start eating healthier on a budgethow to start eating healthier on a budget

(These old things are my cutting boards of the past)

Dilapidated and morphed.

Plastic cutting boards tend to slip when you put them on a hard surface. This isn’t safe and can lead to injuries. But there is something you can do about this.

A trick to stop the cutting board from slipping is to grab a couple of paper towels and get them wet. Squeeze out the water and lay them down on the surface you want to put your cutting board.

Put your cutting board on top of the damp paper towels. This will help the cutting board from slipping when you cut vegetables on it. But, make sure the size of your paper towel encompasses the size of your cutting board.

Like this :

how to start eating healthier on a budget

If you have any questions regarding health benefits, organic vs inorganic produce, help with cooking, or just want to talk, leave me a comment or send me an email!

Okay, get cooking guys and gals.



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