Food

How to eat healthy on just $5 a day

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Fried egg on bread for breakfast on plate and rustic table

Image: Shutterstock/Oksana Mizina

Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to eat healthy when times get tough. But sticking to a tight budget doesn’t necessarily mean giving up on wholesome foods that energize your body, keep you full, and provide you with all the nutrients you need. Although it seems like a small amount of money, living off of $5 per day is entirely possible. And at that price, you’ll not only survive, but thrive.

Check out this sample meal plan that will allow you to live off of only $5 per day and eat healthy. Think of all the things you can buy with that extra cash!

Got any money-saving food tips that also allow you to eat healthy? If so, let us know in the comments.

The Shopping List

Please note, the prices on this list are from research around the internet and exclusively from the discount grocery chain Aldi. Your neighborhood Aldi’s prices may vary. Use this as an inspirational guide, not a be-all, end-all list.

Fruit

  • Bananas 1lb .49
  • Apples 3lbs 1.49

Produce

  • Mixed greens 5oz 1.49
  • Onions 3lbs .79
  • Baby carrots 1lb .99
  • Zucchini 1lb 1.79
  • Broccoli 16oz 1.79
  • Green bell peppers 20oz 1.69

Grains

  • Quick oats 42oz 1.39
  • Tortillas 16oz 1.19
  • Quinoa 16oz 3.99
  • Bread 1 loaf 1.29

Animal products

  • Eggs 1 dozen .69
  • Colby cheese 8ox 1.79
  • Chicken breast 1lb 2.79

Condiments and spreads

  • Balsamic salad dressing 12.7oz 2.69
  • Peanut butter 16oz 1.69
  • Hummus 10oz 1.99

Canned items

  • Sweet Corn 14.75oz can x2 .98
  • Diced Tomato 14.5oz Can .59
  • Chickpeas 15oz can x2 1.39

Total: $32.98

Due to varying sales tax rates on groceries in different states, a remainder of $2.02 was left for wiggle-room.

The Daily Menus

The key to effective meal planning is buying food items that can be used more than one time. For example: if the bell peppers come in a package of three, plan three meals with them. Tortillas come in ten or twelve per pack, so divide them out for different meals. Bulkier items, like onions, can be used to flavor and dishes throughout the week.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: 2 fried eggs with colby jack cheese on top + toast
  • Lunch: quinoa salad (tossed with diced tomatoes, corn, chickpeas, and balsamic salad dressing)
  • Dinner: fajitas with chicken breast, onions, zucchini, and a bell pepper

Monday

  • Breakfast: quick oats with peanut butter and a banana
  • Lunch: leftover fajitas
  • Dinner: hummus wraps with zucchini, peppers, and balsamic salad dressing

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: 2 fried eggs with colby jack cheese on top + toast
  • Lunch: salad with chickpeas and hard boiled eggs + apple and peanut butter
  • Dinner: chicken breast + broccoli cooked to your preference (steamed, roasted, etc.)

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: quick oats with peanut butter and a banana
  • Lunch: hummus wraps with zucchini, peppers, and balsamic salad dressing
  • Dinner: green bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, onions, tomatoes, and corn

Thursday

  • Breakfast: 2 fried eggs with colby jack cheese on top + toast
  • Lunch: leftover stuffed peppers
  • Dinner: quinoa bowls with roasted broccoli, chickpeas, and carrots

Friday

  • Breakfast: quick oats with peanut butter and a banana
  • Lunch: salad with chickpeas and hard boiled eggs + hummus and carrots
  • Dinner: chicken breast and homemade french fries

Saturday

  • Breakfast: 2 fried eggs with colby jack cheese on top + toast
  • Lunch: quinoa salad (tossed with diced tomatoes, corn, chickpeas, and balsamic salad dressing)
  • Dinner: leftover quesadillas (using remaining colby jack cheese, onions, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, corn, etc.)

Please note, these menus leave excess grains, fruits, vegetables, hummus, and peanut butter to eat as snacks throughout the week.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r