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Get three healthy meals for $7 a day

May 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
You'd be hard pressed to get a meal for $7, let alone food for an entire day. But chefs and nutritionists are working hard so that we can eat well very cheap.Here's a look at a day's worth of food that your wallet and waistline will be happy with.

SEVEN DOLLAR DAY:

Breakfast:
A scrambled egg on a slice of wheat toast with fruit in season and a glass of skim milk is tasty and filling yet costs only $1 to make.

Lunch:
A whole wheat sandwich with 2 ounces of turkey and mustard served with a cup of sliced veggies and a serving of low fat dressing and an apple is also a healthy meal that can fill you up for just $2.46. But don't rule out tuna salad or a good old fashion peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which are both price friendly.

Dinner:
Since most of us lack the discipline to plan a weeks' worth of dinners, this is usually where we flunk cost cutting. Yet a crock pot roasted chicken or a breakfast scramble are two meals that are extremely healthy and cost conscious. Making a burrito with a serving of the chicken with beans, tortilla and lettuce can run you just $2.16. The egg dish also about $2. So with either evening meal, our typical day even adding a scoop of low fat frozen yogurt costs just $6.62.

Our typical day:
Egg = .21, Wheat toast = .12, Apple = .49, Skim milk = .18, Total = $1
2 slices of wheat toast = .24, 2 oz. Turkey = 1.19, Mustard = .05, Vegetables = .22, Dressing = .24, Apple = .49, Total = $2.46
Chicken = 1.50, Beans = .29, Tortilla = .12, Lettuce = .25, Total = $2.16
Frozen yogurt = $1.00
Total for the day = $6.62

Attribute some savings to cutting portions to the correct serving size - like 3 ounces of protein rather than four or five. Or use leftovers to make another meal. Example? A can of tomato soup with a left over serving of ground turkey, zucchini and beans, or opting for meals that are meatless occasionally. And of course using water for your main beverage helps cut both cost and calories.

Finally, keep in mind the more they do, the more you'll pay. Buying less prepared foods usually means you're going to spend more time in the kitchen but you should have more money in the bank. Apples are cheaper than apple sauce. Oranges are a bargain over orange juice. Real food generally means real value.

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