Think it’s impossible to eat healthy on a budget? Nope. Not true!
Dr. Ian Smith took a viewer, Shateera Israel from Harrison, New Jersey, grocery shopping at Fairway Market to prove that it is, indeed, possible.
In fact, you can buy an entire week’s worth of healthy groceries for just $50 or less!
See how he pulled it off in the video above, and get his smart shopping tips below. (By the way, he pulled this off in NEW YORK CITY, where grocery costs are about 30% higher than most cities across the U.S.)
These are awesome because they’re high in fiber and rich with vitamins. When shopping for a week, try to buy smaller potatoes, this way you can split them up for different meals throughout the week, and won’t have to cook everything all at once.
They come in many different colors -- pick whichever you like because Dr. Ian says they all have the same health profile. Use ‘em in omelettes, salads, or slice them up with a bit of salt, pepper and EVOO for a light snack.
Dr. Ian says this fruit is great because it’s full of fiber, has a nice crunch to it and makes a great appetite suppressant. And they’re super-versatile: eat them for breakfast, as a snack, or sliced up in a salad.
Strawberries and blueberries are full of antioxidants. Add them to your oatmeal, yogurt or eat them for dessert with a little whipped cream.
Chicken + Fish
Chicken and fish are affordable lean proteins that are perfect for lunch or dinner. You might be tempted to buy them pre-cooked at your grocery store’s deli counter, but please try to resist, and buy raw instead.
You’ll save yourself about 20% -- and as Rach always says, “Never pay someone to do something that you can do yourself!”
“Add some seasoning to it, get it together with some olive oil and it tastes fabulous,” adds Dr. Ian.
Since yogurt is so versatile and has a decent shelf-life, he suggests buying the economy size. Add it to your chicken or tuna salad in place of mayonnaise, or eat it for breakfast in the morning with those yummy berries!
Spices and spice blends are great because they add so much flavor to your foods, and you get a lot of bang for your buck with the blends!
Cinnamon and vanilla are great to have on hand when you want to sweeten dishes. “The combo gives you the impression of sweetness, without any sugar,” says chef Richard Blais.
Bottom Line: Focus on foods that you can buy in bulk and stretch out over the course of a week (or even two).
Check out the video below to see what chef Richard Blais made (11 dishes!!) using only the groceries Dr. Ian and Shateera purchased. Hello, healthy cooking inspiration!
2 sweet potatoes
2 gala apples
1 green pepper
1/2 pound kale
1 (5-ounce) chicken breast
1 (5-ounce) salmon
1 box of whole wheat pasta
1 clove of garlic
1 butternut squash
3/4 pound plum tomatoes
1 can of lentils
1 can of black beans
8 ounces of quinoa
Steel cut oatmeal
1 small package of blueberries
1 small package of strawberries
16 ounces Greek yogurt
1 small loaf of 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat bread
From the Pantry:
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing
2 sticks of butter
Italian seasoning mix
Your preferred brand of seasoning salt
READ: How to Beef Up Your Grocery List Without Busting Your Budget
Seared Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt + Apple
Salmon gets salted and seated in a non stick pan
Cucumber and garlic get grated into yogurt and seasoned w Italian seasoning
Apple & Kale get shredded and tossed w balsamic dressing
Pasta with Kale, Garlic, Tomatoes + Oil
Boil pasta in salted water.
In a nonstick pan, cook sliced tomatoes, garlic, and kale until they release an aroma -- not burnt but well cooked.
Pour the pasta directly into the pan and toss in a few tablespoons of butter to coat the noodles.
Slice kale into super thin strips.
Chop and mix in tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries, blueberries, apples, cucumber, and leftover chicken you may have in your fridge. If you’re cooking fresh chicken, just season with Mrs. Dash and cook in a pan until just done.
Toss all of these ingredients in a simple vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar and EVOO.
In a bowl, mix together 5 eggs.
In a separate pan, cook up some kale, green peppers, and garlic with Italian seasoning and salt until they begin to release their aroma.
Take the cooked vegetables and add them to your eggs.
Put it all in a cast iron pan and bake at a high temperature for 5 or so minutes.
Black Bean Hummus
Take one can of black beans and pour into a pot. Add a little bit of water and 1-2 cloves of garlic.
Cook until just warm.
Throw the beans into a blender and mix until they’re the consistency of hummus.
Spread onto whole wheat toast and top with some shredded kale and blueberries.
Lentils with Salmon and Blueberries
Take one can of lentils and pour into a pot. Add a little water, garlic, salt, Italian seasonings, and a squirt or two of balsamic vinegar.
Reduce until the mixture becomes stew-like.
Cook salmon with salt and pepper in a non-stick pan for 2 minutes on each side.
Put the finished lentils in a bowl, top with salmon, and finish with blueberries.
Chicken Salad with Yogurt
In a bowl, mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, greek yogurt, garlic, cucumbers, chopped apples, and shredded kale. Mix in some chopped chicken.
Spread the mixture on top of some whole wheat toast.
*I would have loved to add mustard to this, so if you have some at home, add it in! You can also substitute some apple cider vinegar for the balsamic.
Butternut Squash Soup
Place chopped butternut squash (with peel removed) in a microwave safe container and submerge in water.
Microwave for 6-8 minutes or until soft (squash should fall apart when you pierce it with a fork).
Throw cooked squash into a blender and add a few spoonfuls of the used water, salt, and pepper. Blend the squash until it becomes soup.
Garnish with croutons (made by toasting wheat bread) and blueberries.
Take some steel cut oatmeal and cook it in 3 times its amount of water (3 cups of water per 1 cup of oatmeal). Cook until super tender.
Add salt, butter, and some Italian seasonings.
*Man do I wish we had some cheese! At home, please add a little bit of grated parmesan cheese to make it more risotto-esque. You can also replace water with chicken stock.
READ: Curtis Stone Elevates Cooking on a Budget
Loaded Sweet Potatoes
Take your sweet potatoes, cut them in half, and cook them in the microwave for about 5 minutes until they’re super tender.
Open them up and add in some chopped kale and leftover roasted chicken. Top with garlic yogurt sauce.
Traditional Oatmeal with Berries
Take steel cut oatmeal and cook it in 3 times its amount of water (3 cups of water per 1 cup of oatmeal). Cook until it’s super tender.
Top with blueberries and strawberries.
*We didn’t have any cinnamon or vanilla, but if you have them at home, add them! These are amazing ingredients that give food the impression of sweetness without adding sugar.
Cook your quinoa according to package instructions.
Take all your leftovers from the above dishes and mix them in! For my bowl, I started with some leftover butternut squash soup, then added in a scoop of lentils, a scoop of quinoa, a scoop of black beans, and a little bit of kale salad. Top with a little smear of yogurt sauce and a fried egg.