Healthy eating won’t break the bank!

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Long day at the office? Lectures till 6pm? Five kids to feed? Take-away or a ready meal for dinner, right?   Wrong. However tempting or however tired and drained you are after a long day, take-aways and junk food are not the answer… unless it’s treat night of course.

Pizza (Image: JMcDonald)
Pizza (Image: JMcDonald)

Busy lifestyles are causing more and more people to fall into unhealthy eating habits and students are definitely on that list.  It’s hard to motivate yourself to cook for one and buy proper food when it’s easier to just grab a pizza and save the effort of cooking.

It is often said that eating healthy is expensive and that good food just costs too much, but I’m sorry to tell you that this is not exactly true and especially for us students, because we can make several dinners from just a few ingredients, and here’s how;

Buy a packet of chicken fillet breasts, usually about 4 for €6. You will get about two dinners from this packet of chicken, unless you’re bulking of course.  Then invest in a bag of sweet potatoes and a head of broccoli or whatever veg tickles your fancy.

How to make it:

Chop up some chicken(I know this is horrible! I much prefer to buy diced chicken breasts)

You can cook the chicken on a pan or in the oven, the latter is a better option, just pop it on a tray, add some seasoning and Bob’s your uncle.

Chicken breasts are often quite cheap and will make several dinners (image:JMcDonald)
Chicken breasts are often quite cheap and will make several dinners (image:JMcDonald)

Chop up some veg and boil that in a saucepan,

Then boil your sweet potatoes.

How much does it cost:

Chicken breasts: €6 (usually 4 in the packet)

Veg:€2 (mixed bag, chopped for approx. €2)

Potatoes: €2

Total: €10.00

You can use your remaining chicken breasts to rustle up a yummy caesar salad, just add lettuce and some bacon for about €2 and some dressing which is about €3.  I also like to add some crunchy croutons!  This is perfect to pop in your lunchbox and save some cash on lunch while in work, college or school.

You can use your potatoes and veg to put together another meal, just add meat or fish of your fancy.

With some key ingredients you can set yourself up for the week.  Why not add some diced beef and make a stir-fry and add some rice or noodles.  A stir fry is quick and easy and won’t break the bank.

Diced beef:€3

Veg: you will already have some veg left, or buy a packet of pre-packed stir-fry veg

Rice/noodles:€2

An omelette is another quick and easy meal for anytime of the day and it is so cheap.  Buy a box of eggs, some chopped spinach, cheese or whatever you fancy, you can chop up some of those sweet potatoes and make some healthy wedges to go with it.  And once again, if you are cooking for one, you won’t need all the eggs and you will have a few left to rustle something else up later in the week.

Omelettes are quick and easy and super cheap (Image: JMcDonald)
Omelettes are quick and easy and super cheap (Image: JMcDonald)

How to make:

Break some eggs (try not to get the shell in or you will spend about ten minutes teasing it out with a fork)

Whisk those in a bowl, I like to add some milk to the mix, some grated cheese and some pepper.  If you are using bacon in the omelette, chop that up and pop it on the pan first and then pour on your whisked eggs.

Flip it over once it’s set (easier said than done…it will probably break at this point but don’t worry, we’re not feeding Ramsey)

Then add spinach on top and enjoy! (Of course you can leave this out if you want)

If you decide to make some wedges from your sweet potatoes, just dice them into strips, par-boil them and then pop them on a try in the oven to get nice and crispy!

How much will it cost:

Eggs:€1.89

Cheese:€2

Spinich:€2

Total: €5.89

These are just a few basic, easy and quick meals to make that are healthy and won’t break the bank.  Shop wisely and think ahead, ask yourself how many meals can I mix and match from these ingredients. Swap your crisps and fizzy drinks for fruit and water for most of the week.  Everyone needs treat days and of course life is too short to skip on that Toffee Crisp every now and again but life will be a lot shorter if people keep making bad habits.

Swap the fizzy drinks for water as often as possible (Image JMcDonald)
Swap the fizzy drinks for water as often as possible (Image JMcDonald)

So whether you are a busy student who is missing home cooked meals, an exhausted parent and worker, a singleton who finds cooking dinner for one a pain in the backside, there are easy ways to curb bad habits, and believe it or not it’s not too hard or expensive to do so.

So get to the shops and get cooking or dial that take-away and ‘start tomorrow’!

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