Money can't necessarily buy you healthier food, but your brain can be tricked into thinking so.
According to an Ohio State University study, you are more likely to assume a food item is healthier if it's priced higher than its competition. Other myths that have been circulating include 'healthy food lacks taste' and 'healthy food is hard to cook.'
To prove this wrong, I've collected five budget-friendly recipes from Budget Bytes, one of my favorite food blogs. The blog is highly recommended by dieticians who follow the government SNAP and WIC nutrition programs, designed to prove to people that healthy meals don't have to be costly, complicated or lacking in taste:
1) Creamy Garlic Mushroom Chicken -- $1.94 per serving ($7.77 for the dish)
This mouth-watering dish is as savory as it looks. Skillet meals like this use the flavor of the meat to finish the sauce, so much so that I've been able to tweak it for my dairy allergy-challenged family. Because I have a chicken-meat allergy, I've also experimented with pan-fried boneless pork chops with good success. I like to pair this with pasta or brown rice to stretch out the meal.
2) Black Bean Taquitos -- 32 cents each ($4.83 for the dish)
Yum, Mexican. I not only have a chicken-meat allergy, but a very severe egg allergy. Mexican is one culinary style that consistently has dishes I can eat without having to modify the recipe. I also love beans of all kinds, which add a unique protein alternative that's as delicious as it is filling. With this recipe, it's easy to skip the cheese if you're dairy-free, or tailor the taquitos to your family members' food sensitivities.
3) Cabbage Soup -- 99 cents per serving ($7.89 for the dish)
Before I found this recipe, I knew a total of three ways to use cabbage - not including eating it raw in salads. I love cabbage, and I love how long this vegetable can keep if stored right (at least 6 months), but I was getting tired of the same ole runza casserole, cabbage stir fry, and sauer kraut. This recipe is just one of many more recipes at Budget Bytes that spotlights cabbage. This recipe is like a garden in a bowl with all the colorful vegetables and herbs!
4) Chicken & Broccoli Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce -- $1.71 per serving ($6.85 for the dish)
I am a huge fan of pasta - anything pasta. Of course, this was a quick favorite. Again, because of that chicken-meat allergy, I skip on the chicken when I'm cooking for myself. I've tried sliced sausage, ham, and shrimp with this, and have thrown in peas instead of broccoli when that was handier. For me, it's a good recipe to change up according to what's in the fridge. I've also thrown in chunks of cheese just for a change. The sauce does best when using heavy cream, which doesn't work for my husband and daughters, so I mostly make it for me and simply scale the recipe down for a single serving or two.
5) Vegetable Pot Pie -- 82 cents per serving ($4.91 for the dish)
We're back to a skillet meal. I have a thing for the all-in-one meal. It's another delicious recipe. I like that it has a biscuit recipe in that I'm not dancing around eggs with my allergy. The original recipe does call for milk in both the biscuits and the filling. Now, I've done it without milk - substituting water in the filling - for my allergic family members and it's turned out alright, but the filling is creamier with milk. I just make a separate pan without the biscuit for the dairy-allergic people. You can incorporate just about whatever vegetables you want in this, too.