It is my intent to feed my family well without breaking the bank. As a long-term breast cancer survivor I believe that food is fuel for my body. I am sure that it has made a difference over time, allowing my immune system to be stronger and eliminating foods that responded to my cancer. Eating well requires some thought and early planning. It also requires spending more money at certain times of the year and having an extra freezer. It is so worth it though.
This is how I do it:
To begin with I focus on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. We don’t eat a lot of meat in general. I have always eaten fish, especially salmon and tuna. A plant-based diet is very healthy and economical. I stopped eating meat and chicken during my treatment ten years ago because of the hormones (both natural and synthetic) that are in meat. I think of meat more as an addition rather than the main component. We always have refried (vegetarian) beans with tacos or cut steaks into kebobs. Even hamburgers are smaller than average.
It is easy to be meatless with pasta dishes and pizza. We eat a lot of these, and my family loves it. Use whole grain pasta, and whole wheat bread dough for the pizza. You can also use soy cheese or at least the hormone free cheeses that are everywhere now. (Buy them when they are on sale and freeze them.) Add a salad and/or frozen veggies and you are set.
When buying meat, check around for sources of meat besides the grocery store. I buy a large amount of beef from a local farmer who raises it on grass without any extra hormones. This lasts for a long time. It is also very lean. As for chicken, for a long time I stayed away from it all together. Nowadays I will buy whole roasters from the Amish or occasionally buy the no hormone brand chicken breasts when they are on sale. A four-pound roaster will make one dinner with enough leftovers for two full size potpies.
Most weeks I think of dinners like this: pasta night, pizza night, soup or sandwich night, fish night, crock pot or stir fry night, frozen food or breakfast night, and Mexican night. I can do all of these things healthfully and cheaply.