How to eat well on a budget

November 15, 2016
Huevos Rancheros

Part 1 – Protein

If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed that every time you go grocery shopping your bill seems to be a little bit more each time, and you’re not imagining it. Unfortunately, the price of fresh, healthy food is on the rise and it is cited as one of the main reasons why people choose unhealthier options.

Eating fresh, minimally processed food improves your overall health, reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, plays a major role in supporting the immune system and has been shown to help support mental health.

By making a few minor changes in your shopping routine and changing up some recipes a few nights a week, you can incorporate more healthy fresh options and still be left with some money in your wallet.

Save money on protein

Protein, especially in Canada where the price of beef has increased by 30% over the past 2 years (and 117% since 2000), can be one of the biggest items that adds to your grocery bill.

Reduce your meat consumption

By cutting down on the amount of meat that you and your family eat can make a huge difference, close to $1000 in savings over the course of a year, simply by choosing 1 meat free meal per week, if you choose to eat even less meat, the savings will be even higher.

One of my favourite meat free meals is Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne, I’ll be posting the recipe later this week. Stay tuned to Origins Nutrition’s Facebook page.

Inexpensive sources of protein include

Dried or canned beans

      such as lentils, kidney beans, refried beans, chick peas etc. One of my favourite ways to use beans is to make a big batch of mixed bean chili with lots of

huevos-rancheros eat well on a budget

      vegetables. Refried beans are great to use on quesadillas or in burritos and they are a perfect complement to eggs for a breakfast dish such as Heuvos Rancheros.


      are another great source of high quality protein, which can easily be made into a main meal such as a frittata, quiche or a simple omelet for a quick and easy mid-week meal.

Organic Tofu

          is a great addition to add to your diet a couple of times a week. Marinate it and add it to stir fries, use silken tofu in smoothies or make it into a breakfast scramble. Check out this amazing Burrito recipe from

Oh She Glows – High Protein Vegan Breakfast

Use meat as an accompaniment to your main meal

satay-tofu-stir-fry-fb-bannerRather than thinking about meat as the main part of the meal (meat and three veg), think about using meat as only a small component of the meal. If you look at any traditional diet from Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican to Middle Eastern, meat is often not the main focus of the meal. A great stirfry for example is composed of a mix of different vegetables, rice or noodles and a small portion of grilled chicken or beef to finish it.

Big batch cooking

Making a big chili or hearty stew is a great way to make a small amount of meat go a long way. By adding starches (such as potatoes, grains or beans) and lots and lots of vegetables, you can make enough food for two meals with only using half the amount of meat.

In the next blog, I will go over a few different ways that you can cut the cost when buying fresh produce and how you can get more variety into your meal planning.