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5 Budget-Friendly Meals

The price of gas may have gone down, but the price of groceries is higher than ever! When it comes to budget-friendly meals, I set aside those recipes that call for expensive ingredients, tighten my purse strings and figure out ways to pinch pennies.
Each of the five dinners pictured below cost around ten bucks but still fall within my personal guidelines for nutritional eats: healthy, satisfying and flavorful. I like to vary the protein source and try to eat one vegetarian meal a week.

Budget-Friendly Meal: Monday

Tuna Zoodle Mac and Cheese for the win! Canned tuna is much less expensive than fresh or frozen fish (at least here in the Midwest) and packs a protein wallop. An economical $1.59 a can, tuna is a must when meal planning on a budget. High in protein, low in fat, plus omega 3s, tuna is the all-time healthy-diet trifecta!

Budget-Friendly Meal: Tuesday

Versatile and economical, seasonal acorn squash is a wintertime favorite and extremely satisfying. I like to bake it with a little bit of maple syrup or brown sugar and throw a smoked turkey sausage on the grill for a no-hassle dinner. And, yes, in our house outdoor grilling is a yearlong activity.

Budget-Friendly Meal: Wednesday

For hump day I go vegetarian with Eggplant Parmesan. Meatless entrées prove to be a cost-effective way of cutting back the food bill. This baked recipe is low in fat, but high in flavor and manages to stay within budget; even with the use of expensive yet convenient store-bought marinara.

Budget-Friendly Meal: Thursday

Pork tenderloin may seem like a splurge, but at a sale price of four bucks a pound (that’s a 33 percent savings), it’s too good a deal to pass up. Tack on another $5 for egg-noodles and Brussels sprouts and I still come in under budget with this quick and easy recipe.

Budget-Friendly Meal: Friday

Most soups are pretty darn cheap per serving and easily stretch to more than one meal; plus, they’re a great way to clean out the fridge or freezer! Italian soups are one of my favorites; add a hunk of bread to soak up the broth and you’re good to go.
Don’t settle for poor quality or inadequate nutrition when pinching those pennies. Make adjustments to your meal plans with the changing seasons and get familiar with the healthy bargains inside the store’s perimeter.
Healthy meals need not break the bank! What are a few of your favorite budget-friendly meals? —Karen

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