Sunday, November 6

Healthy & Cheap

One of the biggest problems with trying to eat cheaply is to make sure that you are eating nutritious foods. My secret weapon is oatmeal. Not the flavored crap sold in little packets! You want the type of oatmeal that comes in large flakes and that takes a long time to cook. It is possible that your local supermarket won't even carry it.

Personally, I go to the nearby health food store for my oatmeal. I get large flake rolled oats. You can also find steel cut oats in places. Either way, you are buying food that hasn't had a lot of processing. Oats, when unprocessed like this, are very good for you.

When money is scarce, a bag of oatmeal costs under $2 and will last for a week or more. You can have it for breakfast every day with a bit of milk or yogurt. I don't even bother to cook my oatmeal, just mixing it with yogurt or putting in some milk. If you find a cheaper meal which has the same level of convenience, please let me know.

Finally, it may be obvious, but canned food is generally loaded with salt, sugar and other useless ingredients while at the same time containing highly processed food that is degraded nutritionally. If you are having to be frugal then you should put a bit more time into your own food preparation, so that you can eat better and eat cheaper. For example, buy very large bags of beans and rice. You won't find wholesome food any cheaper than this.

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Anonymous said...

You are right! Oatmeal is great and very economical!

Anonymous said...

Oatmeal is great for reducing cholesterol.

Anonymous said...

I like you

Good ideas


Michelle Kendall "chinadoll" at t-nation said...

Your blog makes me DROOL! 1- I'm Chinese, and we're notoriously frugal to a fault. 2- I went through a spendthrift phase and am back to basics, realizing I may spend myself to may have been a rebellion against my Chinese upbringing, buying luxury items, but really it doesn't buy you happiness and actually wastes your valuable time.

I like the idea about buying oatmeal in bulk from the health food store. It's so much cheaper there, in it's more natural form, and free of additives and the like. I like to throw a couple of big handfuls of raw oatmeal as well as a couple of egg whites into raw lean hamburger meat, along with seasonings and a spoonful of soy sauce, before cooking into patties, meatballs or oatmeal. Makes it seem a bit less of a bang in terms of cholesterol and also it stretches the portions.

Speaking of Pizza, here in Hawaii, you can end up paying almost $60 for two large pizzas. So I made these pizzas the other night with low carb whole wheat tortillas, leftover mozzerella cheese, canned pizza sauce, leftover veggies, and a leftover grilled hamburger patty that was broken up into pieces. Like a thin crust pizza (I hate the pizza crust). It was good and made entirely of stuff I had laying around.

Sorry I'm so chatty again. But I LOVE LOVE this blog!!!!!

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Anons / Michelle,

Thank you very much for the kind comments. I really find it motivating when I get them!

Also, thanks for the recipe ideas. I find I can eat the same foods a lot, out of convenience and routine, so it's nice to try new ideas.

~Mommy~ said...

Great blog! I found you through a Yahoo search on frugal meal planning. I hope you don't mind that I linked to you. :)
Have a great day!

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Mommy, glad you like my blog! I'd be grateful if you linked to it or any of it's posts. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You can cook whole oatmeal in the microwave-it takes one minute 1/2 cup oatmeal- enough water to cover (not floating) lit bit of salt-don't stir just zap. It's great and doesn't cost barely anything

Anonymous said...

I have a great recipe for oatmeal. It is called baked oatmeal. It tastes like a oatmeal cookie and so cheap to make.
Baked oatmeal:
beat together:
1/2 oil
2/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
3c quick oats 2 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
1 cup milk
bake at 350 for 30 min
it might not be as healthy as you like but it is cheap and yummy!

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Anon (x2),

Thanks for the notes.

Of course I don't mind the addition of less health oriented food ideas.

Even a frugal minded person like myself needs dessert once in a while!

Anonymous said...

also, buy some cheap cinnamon. it goes well with the oatmeal.

Anonymous said...

peanut butter on oatmeal makes it stick to the ribs! "natural' pb is better for the cholesterol minded.

Anonymous said...

Hi I am enjoying your site, you've got some great ideas. You may or may not have checked out the site. While I don't necessarily go to the extremes they have, and I am neither a hillbilly nor a housewife, I have found it very helpful in terms of meal and menu planning and streching the food budget. For example, they propose that you go to reconsituted dried milk 100% which my family would consider heresy. But, cutting the milk half fresh/half powered has meant that we get 2 times more milk for a whole lot less. And no one has figured it out yet, it tastes exactly the same. But, I have jumped on the make your own yogurt bandwagon. Wow is that a miraculous bit of bacteriology at work or what?

Also, you can freeze skim milk, even the gallon size. Shoot, you can freeze any milk but the higher the fat content the more likely you are to have a homogenization breakdown. So feel free to stock up on the milk sales, stores often make them the loss leaders as you usually have to go to the very back of the store to get those staple items.

Pressed for time? We get bulk ground beef and cook it all up, drain and rinse it then package in ready to thaw portions. Making chili and spaghetti sauce has never been easier.

Also, most of the bulk/discount stores sell enormous packages of pork loin and tenderloin for ridiculously low prices. Did you know that most of them will slice that puppy up for you too? Even your local supermarket will as well. So don't get put off from snapping up a great deal on a bulk piece of meat just because you don't want to have to dismember the beast at home.

Sorry this is so long. Happy thrifting to everyone.

Frugal Guy said...

Anons, thanks for the great comments!

I do go to the hillbilly housewife site from time to time, there is a a lot of good information there.

Ginny said...

I love the basic unrefined oat groats. They take a really long time to cook, but the crockpot is king here. A cup of oat groats and about 3 cups of water, and cook them on low all night. Then dip out your breakfast--and enjoy. I like cinnamon and butter and honey on them. Store the rest in the fridge for another breakfast or two. And--they freeze well too, helping me stay within my three day rule for the fridge.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Frugal Guy!

Also I would like to add the following, super-nutritious, cheap and tasty:

CHICKPEAS blended with tahini paste, lemon juice, optional garlic, and spices (I usually only put salt, but it's lovely with some cayenne pepper as well). Some fresh parsley or cilantro too. This is a lovely recipe and keeps one satiated throughout day without feeling food cravings. Wonderfully healthy for a tight budget. I could eat this every day.

LENTILS, red with some spices (cumin, coriander, cayenne) - wonderful soup! Some other veggies too, like carrots, but I like to keep it simple. Goes wonderful with old bread.
Also green lentils with some rice and caramelised onion - called Mjadra, a wonderful Middle Eastern recipe.

Anonymous said...

The above chickpea recipe I just posted is also known as hummus :-)
and one doesn't even need a blender to make it, just a good fork. Also, drizzle water as you mash them with the rest. Add olive oil too at the end(optional, although for me it's essential when I eat hummus at home)

Anonymous said...

Oatmeal! Simple and inexpensive, wholesome and delicious. I couldn't agree with you more.