One of the books I’d most recommend to anyone right now is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well on a Budget by Lucy Beale and Jessica Partridge. At a time when we’re all challenging ourselves to stay on a budget AND eat healthy, this is the book we absolutely needed the most. If you’re like me, you’d just about decided that eating as healthy as you wanted to was out of your budget. I was pretty much at that point when this outstanding book came along.
After arming myself with the knowledge and tips from these authors, I know that it isn’t just possible to eat well on a budget, it’s deliciously possible.
First, a few all-important facts:
- You and your family won’t gain weight if you each eat about 2,000 calories a day per adult.
- You don’t need to purchase more food than your target number of calories for the week.
- You won’t be wasting food or letting it rot in the refrigerator. If it rots because no one eats it, be wary if you consider purchasing that food in the future.
Throughout the book, the authors provide a lot of what I call “Roadblocks” – thoughts and circumstances that lead us to choose poorly while at the supermarket or restaurant. They offer ways around, or through, these roadblocks. There are also great tips on saving money, staying on a budget, eating healthier foods, and making each calorie count.
There are also a lot of wonderful recipes… we’ll get to them in a minute!
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well on a Budget has 21 chapters in all and is over 300 pages in length. I suppose you’d expect authors who are so budget conscious to give their readers even more than they paid for. I’m very grateful and you will be as well.
A Few of the Chapters From Eating Well on a Budget
- The Best Nutrition at the Best Price
- The Budget
- Food and Menu Planning
- Eating Out on a Budget
- The Shopping List
- More Ways to Save on Food
- Beef and Pork Main Dishes
The next time you dine out at a sit-down restaurant, notice the price of coffee, tea, and a glass of wine. They’re probably higher than you thought. You may choose not to order them again. – – Page 18, Eating Well on a Budget
I was really glad to see that the authors covered all aspects of dining – at home as well as in restaurants. They’ve included great tips on saving money each and every time we place a bite or drink into our mouths.
Chapter 2 includes a clear, perfectly laid-out plan for starting to budget. They tell you the tools you’ll need (receipts, notebook, calculator) to become a budgeting whiz and how you’ll need to go about the process.
Food Preparation is covered in Chapter 5 and includes…
- Cooking to save money
- Preparing in quantity, eating in moderation
- Making delicious use of leftovers
- Keeping prepared foods on hand
Here’s one of the great tips (“Kitchen Wise“) from this chapter: Keep sandwich fillings on hand for quick meals on the run. You’ll need bread, mayonnaise or mustard, and fillings, such as cheese, sliced meats, tuna, or peanut butter. Add an apple or other piece of fruit, and you have a balanced meal.
Some of the Remarkable Recipes in Eating Well on a Budget
The recipes the authors have chosen sound delicious! What’s more, they’ve included dietary information, cooking time, prep time, serving size, and “Tasty Tidbits.” Again, giving the reader far more than he or she expected.
A few of my favorite recipes from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well on a Budget are:
- White Chili
- Creamy Clam Chowder
- Nine Vegetable Soup
- Grown Up Peanut Butter and Jelly (YUM!)
- Baked French Toast with Honey Walnut Syrup
- Chile Egg Puff
- Savory Spinach and Bacon Bake
- Zesty Breakfast Burritos
- Just Right Cheese Omelet (made with Monterey Jack Cheese!)
- Hawaiian Ham Rollups
- Egg Salad with Red Pepper and Walnuts
- Ham and White Bean Soup
- Red Chili
- Quick Beef Fajitas
- Lemon Pecan Stuffed Chicken
- Herbed Salmon Cakes
- Lasagna with Meat and Cheese
- Fruit Glazed Carrots
- Raspberry Banana Bread
- Slow-Cooked Pudding and Fruit Cake
- Cookies Flavored with Tea
- Pear Cobbler
- Buttermilk Corn Bread
- Cheese Grits Casserole
- Many, Many more!
Since we’re all thinking about Easter meals and Easter recipes, I thought I’d include the Fruit-Glazed Carrots recipe in the review. Save this one (better yet, print it out) for your Easter meal. There’s also a great recipe for Mustard-Glazed Ham in the book. Order today and you’ll be set long before Easter gets here!
Fruit-Glazed Carrots Recipe
Page 246, Eating Well on a Budget
4 cups sliced carrots
2 TBS water
2 TBS fruit jam or jelly – peach, strawberry, or apricot
1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 TBS olive oil
dash salt and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place carrots in a microwave-safe bowl with water. Cover and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Drain well. Add jam, vinegar, and olive oil. Mix gently.
Transfer carrots to a lightly oiled 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inch baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes. Serve hot or chill 20 minutes before serving.
Variation: Try orange marmalade or chutney to intensify the flavor of the carrots. For a spicy taste, substitute 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce for the vinegar.
Kitchen Wise: The sauce for these carrots tastes great on other vegetables as well, such as broccoli, snap peas, and spinach. You can also serve the sauce on the side for dipping. – Page 246, Eating Well on a Budget
Hmmmmm, I just happened to think of another way to use this sauce. Have you ever made homemade fried jalapenos? This sauce (particularly if you use Red Plum or a berry-based jelly) would be outstanding to dip fried jalapenos in.
Do yourself, your family, and your budget a huge favor and head over to Amazon right now to order this wonderful book. I wouldn’t recommend it to you if I didn’t know 100 percent that you’ll love it as much as I do. Here’s the link to healthier eating and a happier budget: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well on a Budget