Friday, September 27, 2013

Healthy Lunch for Less!

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say that you can't eat healthily on a tight budget. This is the excuse that many people offer when justifying only shopping at Wal-Mart or buying processed junk "foods" for their family, and it really gets me going. If you know what you're doing, you can eat quite healthily on a normal or smaller budget and never have to step inside Wal-Mart. Keep in mind, I am speaking to my experience as a married gal with no kids...but I think even factoring kids into the equation that I would still be able to do this, because I always make food for an army (I'm Italian!) Anyway, bear in mind that this is my living situation, and I personally prefer to avoid Wal-Mart about 95% of the time. I would much rather our money go to smaller chains or even more preferably to local businesses when I can (our town doesn't have very many of those, unfortunately.)

Anyway, today I happened to stop at one of the few local businesses that we do have, that is very near us. It is a small produce store called Best Harvest and I love it. They have a lot of stuff that is not only USA-grown, but also some local stuff. This week I got some local organic golden beets. Best part of is not at all an expensive store! Places like these are fantastic to shop at to feed your family healthily! So, I walked in to get some potatoes and Boar's Head cheese to make BBQ Pulled Chicken Baked Potatoes for tonight, and they had 5-lb bags of potatoes for 1.79. I decided that since my hubby loves taking soup for lunch and usually buys cans of Progresso Corn and Potato Chowder, that I would make him some from scratch. Got two ears of corn for 20 cents a piece and got to work. It is simmering in the Crock Pot as we speak. I will give you the recipe-ish that I used (I did this on the fly), and then compare how it stacks up against pre-made, processed soup.

Three large potatoes

Two ears corn

1 32-oz box lower sodium chicken broth (you could really get healthy and do organic but I just bought what the produce store had, which was Swanson's

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced.

1/2 cup half and half

Salt, Pepper, Dried Parsley, and any other spices you might like, to taste. I added Onion powder and paprika, but you can pretty much put whatever you think would taste good.

I roasted the corn in the oven in its husk at 425 degrees for about 20 min. I cut the potatoes into small chunks. I shucked the corn and used a knife to scrape it off the cob. I minced the garlic. I put all of these things plus the broth and my seasonings and put in on high in the crockpot for 4-6 hours. It's still going now, but about 20 minutes before it is done, I plan to add the half and half to make it creamier and then let that heat through. Then, I will puree half of the soup with an immersion blender to thicken it. I will likely let it cool and refrigerate or freeze it, and voila, my hubby will have a work-week's worth of soup to eat.

Now, let's see how this compares to store bought soup. The soup my hubby buys is, if we are lucky, 2 for 4 dollars or 2 dollars each. Say he buys 5 cans for the week...that's ten bucks if it is on sale.

Total Cost Per Serving: 2 dollars
Total Cost Per Week: 10 dollars

 The soup he buys is not BAD for you persay, but I do like making my own. The sodium can be controlled, along with the fact that there are no bad chemicals or preservatives.

NOTE: The soup he buys has chicken, the one I made was vegetarian since I didn't have extra chicken on hand. You could add a chicken breast to the recipe, I would add about 1.50 to the total cost if you do.

Let's see how much the homemade stuff cost. The prices are costed to represent how much of the ingredient I used in this recipe.

Potatoes---approx. 35 cents
Corn- 40 cents
Chicken Broth- 2.49
Garlic- 10 cents
Half and Half- 63 cents
Spices- these were all on hand, but let's call it 25 cents over time...and that might be over-estimating. Salt and pepper and onion powder are dirt cheap, dried parsley isn't much either, and the paprika was a gift...

Grand total: 4.22

Total Cost Per Week: $4.22
Total Cost Per Serving: 84 cents!!!!!
Total Hands-on time expended: 20 minutes!!!

So, you can see that feeding your family from scratch meals does not have to be expensive. I bought almost everything for this meal at a local produce store. The only exception was the half and half, which I got a couple weeks back at a Kroger store.


  1. Thank you so much for the follow.
    Follow you back on bloglovin.
    Lovely greets from germany ;-)

  2. Your blog is lovely!!!! Would you like to follow each other on bloglovin' ? xxx
    Gleaming Spire // Bloglovin'

    1. Sure thing! I will go add you now. Thank you.

  3. This is helpful, thank you! I DO want to eat healthy but admit have had trouble and haven't researched how to really do it on a budget. Keep the tips coming!

  4. good for you! I'm all about saving this way too =D

  5. Thank you, ladies! I admit that I don't write as much as I should or could, but I will be happy to share more ideas. I cook nearly every day so I will make a point to share something new this week!