You think healthy food has to be expensive, so you often go for convenience food? This misconception is widespread. With the right planning, however, healthy eating can be much cheaper. For less than 2,50 Euro you can eat balanced and healthy for a whole day.
If you’re running low at the end of the month, living on a student income, or just being frugal in general, your diet doesn’t need to suffer.
The assumption that unhealthy nutrition is more beneficial is in fact a widespread misconception.
Although convenience foods often give the impression that they are inexpensive meals, fresh ingredients – bought in large portions – can be turned into much less expensive meals.
These are then on top of that much healthier and usually taste better too.
Three meals for only 2.50 euros in total
For breakfast, lunch and dinner, here’s a sample dish for each, as well as helpful tips on what foods you can use to save money on your meal planning and still eat a balanced diet.
In total, all meals for this day will cost you less than 2.50 euros.
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With plenty of protein& Start the day with seasonal fruit
If you like to eat fresh rolls from the bakery for breakfast, you have by far not chosen the cheapest way to have breakfast.
You can also start the day with much more energy, namely with a protein- and nutrient-rich breakfast – such as a quark dish with fruit.
Low-fat quark is inexpensive, low in fat& full of protein
Low-fat quark is not only a protein bomb, but also very low in fat and, above all, anything but expensive. You can get a 500-gram package of low-fat quark for 69 cents, which you can use to make two breakfast portions.
Frozen berries – vitamin-rich, long-lasting, delicious
The perfect complement for curd cheese are sweet fruits, for example berries. You can buy these already frozen as a ready mix.
Frozen fruit has a bad reputation, and wrongly so. In fact, frozen berries retain their vitamins longer and are superior to fresh competitors in this regard. Simply place a small portion in the refrigerator the night before to defrost and continue the next morning.
Depending on what fruit is in season, you can also buy fresh fruit cheaply. You can sometimes get a 500 gram pack of seasonal strawberries for as little as 1.49 euros. Just keep your eyes open for these offerings, and you can add more variety to your breakfast.
Oatmeal provides long-lasting energy
If you have to last a long time from breakfast to lunch, it’s best to add some long-chain carbohydrates to your quark dish.
Meanwhile, the selection here is diverse. From oat flakes to rice flakes to millet flakes or amaranth, there is something for everyone in terms of taste.
Oatmeal is particularly inexpensive. For 500 grams you pay only 49 cents, which leads to a price of not even 5 cents for a normal portion of 50 grams.
Example breakfast: Curd cheese with berries and oatmeal
At current food prices, a quark dish with oatmeal and frozen berries will cost you a portion of just under 56 cents.
- Low-fat quark (500g for 0,69€; a portion of 250g for 34 cents)
- Oatmeal (500g for 0,49€; a portion of 50g for 5 Cent)
- Frozen berries (750g for 2,49€; a portion of 50g for 16 cents)
Go vegetarian for your lunch
Vegetarian meals are a great way to have a cheap lunch. As a rule, meat and fish are particularly cost-intensive.
However, the solution should not be to resort to low-priced, poor-quality products. Instead, prepare balanced vegetarian meals that meet your nutritional needs.
Potatoes as a versatile satiator
Potatoes are inexpensive fillers, here especially bulk packs are worthwhile. Depending on the supermarket, you can get a kilo of potatoes for as little as 26 cents if you buy a 4-kilogram bag. With a normal portion of 200 grams you are then only 5.2 cents.
Potatoes are not only cheap, they also make you full for a long time without influencing your blood sugar too much. They are also incredibly versatile and very easy to incorporate into a wide variety of dishes.
Boiled potatoes can be pre-cooked in larger quantities and then stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
Legumes – high-fiber protein bombs
For those who fear that vegetarian meals won’t meet their daily protein needs, rest assured. You don’t need to buy expensive meat substitutes. Legumes contain a lot of vegetable protein and are also very inexpensive.
For a can of chickpeas, where the drained weight is 240 grams, you’ll only pay about 69 cents. Kidney beans are even cheaper at 39 cents per can.
Canned legumes have several advantages at once. They are not only cheap, but also have a long shelf life, are very healthy and can also be easily processed, because they are already pre-cooked in the cans. It’s best to rinse them in a sieve beforehand, as some manufacturers preserve the pulses with salt or sugar.
The vegetable proteins not only provide lasting satiety, but are also good for the muscles. Unlike short-chain carbohydrates, long-chain carbohydrates provide the body with a continuous supply of energy. This prevents blood sugar levels from rising too high. The dietary fiber regulates digestion.
Cabbage – the underestimated vitamin bomb
Cabbage is not necessarily a very popular vegetable. However, this is mainly due to its reputation. Many people associate cabbage with hearty home cooking, which is firstly very elaborate and secondly not particularly low in calories.
But cabbage is not only an excellent source of nutrients, it also satisfies for a long time and can be easily integrated into your meals. Depending on the season, you can buy a whole head of white cabbage for as little as 69 cents and a 500-gram package of broccoli for just under 60 cents.
What are you going to do with a whole head of cabbage for one person, you’re asking yourself now? Quite simply, the key word is to plan ahead. Chop the whole cabbage immediately after purchase and – except for one portion – simply freeze the chopped remainder. Then you can store it for a long time and portion it easily.
You can gently steam broccoli and store it in an airtight box in the refrigerator for several days. The already cooked florets can then be easily heated and served as a vitamin-rich side dish.
Example lunch: Chickpea and Potato Salad
How about a fresh, light chickpea and potato salad for not even 40 cents per serving for lunch? It can be taken to the office, is not heavy on the stomach and keeps you full for a long time.
- Potatoes (1 kg from 0,26€; a portion of 170g for 4,3 Cent)
- Chickpeas (240g for 0,69€; a portion of 40g for 12 cents)
- Tomatoes (1kg for 1,15€; a portion of 70g for 20 cents)
- Onions (1kg for 0,45€; a portion of 13g for 0,006€)
Low-carbohydrate, high-protein cuisine in the evening
For the night, the body no longer needs much energy, which is why large portions and many carbohydrates in the evening are unnecessary. A high-protein dish with vitamins, on the other hand, is just the thing.
A vegetable omelet is not only quick to prepare, but can always be varied depending on the choice of vegetables used. Quick-cooking mushroom slices, fruity tomatoes, spinach leaves or onions work especially well.
You can buy the leaf spinach well frozen. So it can be stored for a long time and also be used flexibly, because it is usually sold frozen in portion sizes.
Example dinner: Vegetable omelet
For such an omelet, you do not have to gain more than a 1,15 Euro per portion plan.