Food choices & budget

can't touch this

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I've been thinking about ways to cut back on my spending, and realized that meals are my number one biggest monthly outlay, even coming out on top of rent.* But I'm facing a bit of a dilemma: I have a stupidly high metabolism and appetite, and no shit usually eat 4 large meals per day. For reference, I'm a tiny manlet, barely 5'4" and 130 lb. with shoes on. I can't go more than ~4 hours without at least a light snack to take the edge off. A diet that would give someone else a heart attack in the span of a week is for me what I would call a starvation diet. I grow weary of downing an 8,000 calorie breakfast at 5 AM and then trying not to pass out from hunger at 8 AM.

It's easy to eat "cheap", but I found that cheap usually equates to "not very filling." That means stuff like ramen isn't really an option, although I do like ramen (especially topped with peanut sauce and veggies) I can eat a whole ass pack of ramen in one sitting and then be hungry again in 45 minutes. I'd like to find a way to cut back on my food spending without sacrificing a full stomach. Protein supplements seem to work pretty good, but are the exact opposite of cheap. I'm honestly stumped, if anyone has any ideas feel free to share.

Hardmode: The closest Costco is 150 miles away. RIP.

*I only pay $75 a month for rent owing to the generosity of my roommate & his wife.
 
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To piggyback on the rice and beans, get a rice cooker.

Make grain bowls. Rice, black beans, cheese, shredded chicken, avocado, shredded cabbage, cilantro and a yummy dressing. Or do a sheet pan of roasted veggies (cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc) and add to rice, whatever bean you’d like, avocado, a meat of your choice, something crunchy like lo mein noodles and something sweet like dried cranberries. These can make several meals and will fill you up.

Don’t eat processed crap. It’s cheap but not filling and not good for you in the long run.
 

TTGOz

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In all seriousness, you can get a big pack of brown rice for like $3 and a can of black beans, kidney beans, whatever beans will be like $1.

Add half a chicken breast to every meal. At my target you could get six unfrozen chicken breasts for like $10. I've been seriously debating eating this way for a bit while I save money. Either that or chicken and vegetables all day every day.
 

TTGOz

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Beans are a huge source of protein, fiber, and carbs. Fiber keeps you full and makes you poop good. Rice is straight carb but also has fiber and a little protein since its still a plant/grain. Just add meat or vegetables and you'll have have all of your vital nutrients and stay full... And its cheap as he'll.
 

commiecorvus

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Protein is important but it is complex carbohydrates that keep you running.

Do you have a Costco in the area?
The bitch about shopping there is you have to budget because it is like paying rent, all of your food is going in one trip.

I talked about big batch cooking in another thread.
It is actually pretty simple with the right equipment.
Once again, there is an investment but it pays for itself pretty fast.
Go to a restaurant supply place, one that sells used equipment, get the biggest (50qt or so) two handled thick bottomed stockpot you can afford.
Also, grab some big mixing spoons, they come in handy.
If you don't have a decent strainer, pick one up at a regular store, you might get a deal at the restaurant supply place but eh...

At Costco in the meat department they have the pulled chicken from the rotisserie chickens they don't sell, get three packs of that.
They have three packs of pasta noodles and three packs of sauce, get those, but get two of the sauce.
Pick up some one Gallon freezer bags.
If you are feeling rich, grab a bag of onions, some olive oil, and one of bell peppers.
This should have cost less than $100.

Fill the stockpot about 3/4, and bring to a boil.
If you were feeling rich, rough chop the onions and bell peppers, use a cheap turkey roaster pan, pour olive oil on them and put them in the oven at 400 stirring occasionally until they start to brown up.
When the water boils, add the pasta, stir gently to make sure it hasn't clumped together, follow the cooking time on the bag, pour into strainer.
Fine chop the chicken.
Pour all the chicken, all the jars of sauce, the onions and peppers (if you were feeling rich) into the pot, keeping the heat on.
Then pour in the pasta.
Bring it all up to heat.
Taste.
If it is bitter, add salt, pepper, and a little sugar.
If it tastes flat add basil, salt and pepper.
Hell, just about always you will need basil, salt, and pepper.

Let cool.
Put the pasta in the one gallon freezer bags, you should get about five or six.
You can eat it hot or cold, in a bowl or straight out of the bag.
 

NPC

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Veggies, dry grains, meat. Pretty much all food is just variations of these things. Spices and preparation is what makes them all different. One of my staple meals is just steamed rice and ground meat, with a fried egg on top. I season the meat with soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, ect....to give it an asian vibe. Super easy and fast, and so absurdly cheap. And by simply changing a few seasonings, you can have Mexican rice and tacos using practically the same ingredients and just changing what seasoning you use.

Meat and veggies are all the same. Buy those cheap, buy in bulk, and freeze as much as you can. If you want variation, think more about spices, vinegars, oils. All that stuff typically lasts a long time, and they're not things you have to buy often. But changing that stuff around can depend whether you're making an asian dish, and Italian dish, ect.

Typically my spending habits for food, I'm spending about $50 a month on meat, veggies, eggs, cheese.....that kind of stuff. And then maybe once or twice a year, I'll replace a spice I ran out of, or a cooking oil. Just learn to cook, so you can fully take advantage of what's available to you. It get's easy. It took me years to learn this stuff because my parents where terrible cooks. Dry, overcooked meat, and boiled, unsalted canned green beans, with a puddle of ketchup. Gag.

Eventually you'll learn what your own staples become. I pretty much always need carrots, celery, and onion when I go to the store. Almost always buy some form of chicken. Almost always buy some broth. Eggs. Speaking of which, learn to reuse your scraps too. Using a chicken carcass and some veggie scraps, you can make your own chicken broth. If you're pinching pennies, it's great. Honestly though, broth is so cheap, my time is worth more than what I'd save making the stuff. But, regardless, that's where your mind should be. Increasing use and versatility, and just learning to enjoy what you cook.
 

BoxCutter

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Protein is important but it is complex carbohydrates that keep you running.

Do you have a Costco in the area?
The bitch about shopping there is you have to budget because it is like paying rent, all of your food is going in one trip.

I talked about big batch cooking in another thread.
It is actually pretty simple with the right equipment.
Once again, there is an investment but it pays for itself pretty fast.
Go to a restaurant supply place, one that sells used equipment, get the biggest (50qt or so) two handled thick bottomed stockpot you can afford.
Also, grab some big mixing spoons, they come in handy.
If you don't have a decent strainer, pick one up at a regular store, you might get a deal at the restaurant supply place but eh...

At Costco in the meat department they have the pulled chicken from the rotisserie chickens they don't sell, get three packs of that.
They have three packs of pasta noodles and three packs of sauce, get those, but get two of the sauce.
Pick up some one Gallon freezer bags.
If you are feeling rich, grab a bag of onions, some olive oil, and one of bell peppers.
This should have cost less than $100.

Fill the stockpot about 3/4, and bring to a boil.
If you were feeling rich, rough chop the onions and bell peppers, use a cheap turkey roaster pan, pour olive oil on them and put them in the oven at 400 stirring occasionally until they start to brown up.
When the water boils, add the pasta, stir gently to make sure it hasn't clumped together, follow the cooking time on the bag, pour into strainer.
Fine chop the chicken.
Pour all the chicken, all the jars of sauce, the onions and peppers (if you were feeling rich) into the pot, keeping the heat on.
Then pour in the pasta.
Bring it all up to heat.
Taste.
If it is bitter, add salt, pepper, and a little sugar.
If it tastes flat add basil, salt and pepper.
Hell, just about always you will need basil, salt, and pepper.

Let cool.
Put the pasta in the one gallon freezer bags, you should get about five or six.
You can eat it hot or cold, in a bowl or straight out of the bag.
Great. Now I'm hungry for some of that!
 

can't touch this

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I forgot to mention that Costco is not an option here where every city is a Walmart company town. Edited the OP to reflect this

Do you cook or eat out?
Both. I hit Sam's Club on the reg for salmon fillets and those big ass bags of frozen shrimp. I figured out a way to bamboozle Domino's into giving me free pizza using their own app. I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you. I eat out about 2-3 times a week, buuut avoid paying full price whenever I can. Coupons are lit.

My roommate's wife has a rice cooker, convection oven, crock pot, griddle, pressure cooker and sous vide gadget, so I can definitely cook the fuck out of whatever I want.

Rice is good too but like ramen, pasta or other "fluffy" dishes, it just doesn't fill me up. I mean, I still whip it up often and eat a ton of it, but I have to have a lot of something else to go with it. Lentil stew is another one, lentils are good shit and hella cheap but...rumble rumble after half an hour. Maybe my thyroid is on the fritz, who the hell knows
 
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can't touch this

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Chicken broth is p good I will say, I add it to a ton of stuff
 

NPC

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I forgot to mention that Costco is not an option here where every city is a Walmart company town. Edited the OP to reflect this



Both. I hit Sam's Club on the reg for salmon fillets and those big ass bags of frozen shrimp. I figured out a way to bamboozle Domino's into giving me free pizza using their own app. I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you. I eat out about 2-3 times a week, buuut avoid paying full price whenever I can. Coupons are lit.

My roommate's wife has a rice cooker, convection oven, crock pot, griddle, pressure cooker and sous vide gadget, so I can definitely cook the fuck out of whatever I want.

Rice is good too but like ramen, pasta or other "fluffy" dishes, it just doesn't fill me up. I mean, I still whip it up often and eat a ton of it, but I have to have a lot of something else to go with it. Lentil stew is another one, lentils are good shit and hella cheap but...rumble rumble after half an hour. Maybe my thyroid is on the fritz, who the hell knows
Carbs may be fuel. But they burn up fast. You can probably up your fat and protein to fill up more.
 

seasonaldude

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Bierocks. They are good, cheap and filling.

If you know how to make bread dough, make a bunch of it. If you don't know, then get a couple pounds of frozen dough. You need one pound of ground beef, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, and 1 head of cabbage (chopped). Saute beef, onion and garlic until done. Add cabbage and seasoning (Couple of tablespoons of worchestershire, a couple of teaspoons of caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste.) Cook until cabbage wilts. Roll dough out flat. Cut into circles, about 12 inches or so in diameter. Add some of the cooked filling to the center of the dough circles. Roll it up like a turnover. Cook in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes.

You'll be eating good Volga German food for a week. Shit will fill you up.

Chicken and Noodles is another cheap favorite to make in bulk. The recipe isn't exact. You basically want a cooked chicken, shredded. 3 cans of Condensed Cream of Chicken soup. (You can subsititute 1 can for Cream of Celery or Mushroom without ruining it.) 1 16 oz package of egg noodles. Salt and Pepper. You can add some veggies if you like, but it's not traditional. First saute a small onion and a clove of garlic in a pot. Then, toss everything else in the pot along with the amount of water called for on the soup cans. Cook on medium until soup is a thick gravy consistency. That's pretty much it. And, you have meals for a week. Traditionally served over mashed potatoes with a side of corn (off the cob).

That's eating how the Great Plains farmers did during the dust bowl. It's cheap and so damn good.
 

can't touch this

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There's only one kind of dough I know how to make 👌

But yeah thnx for the suggestions everyone, feel free to keep em coming
 

can't touch this

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Sushi is lit except when it has nasty ass tuna on it. Inarizushi is the best but I like to not overdo it on soy
 

Tessa120

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Protein keeps you going for the long haul. Avoid "white" carbs (white rice, white bread, white pasta, white flesh potatoes), as they leave your system faster than whole grain. Yes, that means sweet potatoes are better than russet potatoes.

Sneaky thing about beans is that a serving gives you about half the protein and twice the carbs as a serving of meat. Nuts, another thing touted by a lot of the "healthy eating" crowd are even worse, about 1/4 the protein and an absolutely teeny serving size. Not so bad as a snack if you aren't worried about calories though.

Honestly I've never found vegetables or fruits filling. When I'm eating healthy they are basically an add on to make my mouth feel like I ate a lot.

Cheese is a good garnish. One oz is a pretty big size, especially when grated. Yeah the calories are around 100, but it is flavorful.

Spice, spice, spice and more spice. Like @NPC said, changing the spices can make an identical meal seem completely different.
 

Aredhel

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Bierocks. They are good, cheap and filling.

If you know how to make bread dough, make a bunch of it. If you don't know, then get a couple pounds of frozen dough. You need one pound of ground beef, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, and 1 head of cabbage (chopped). Saute beef, onion and garlic until done. Add cabbage and seasoning (Couple of tablespoons of worchestershire, a couple of teaspoons of caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste.) Cook until cabbage wilts. Roll dough out flat. Cut into circles, about 12 inches or so in diameter. Add some of the cooked filling to the center of the dough circles. Roll it up like a turnover. Cook in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes.

You'll be eating good Volga German food for a week. Shit will fill you up.

Chicken and Noodles is another cheap favorite to make in bulk. The recipe isn't exact. You basically want a cooked chicken, shredded. 3 cans of Condensed Cream of Chicken soup. (You can subsititute 1 can for Cream of Celery or Mushroom without ruining it.) 1 16 oz package of egg noodles. Salt and Pepper. You can add some veggies if you like, but it's not traditional. First saute a small onion and a clove of garlic in a pot. Then, toss everything else in the pot along with the amount of water called for on the soup cans. Cook on medium until soup is a thick gravy consistency. That's pretty much it. And, you have meals for a week. Traditionally served over mashed potatoes with a side of corn (off the cob).

That's eating how the Great Plains farmers did during the dust bowl. It's cheap and so damn good.
Runzas. 😅
 
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A cooked chicken goes really far. Day 1: roasted chicken, red potato with the skin on, fresh fruit or veggie that's on sale( buy by the pound... enough for a meal). Day 2: Chicken sandwich and soup Day 3: Chicken casserole made with rice Day 4: Chicken salad made with fresh fruits Day 5: Chicken soup

Oatmeal is a filling and healthy breakfast food. Popcorn, instant pudding, jiffy mix muffins are some inexpensive and filling snacks. Betty Crocker cookie mixes are inexpensive and easy and, though not as good as mom's cookies, aren't too bad.

Lemon pepper, garlic, cumin, curry powder, Italian seasoning added to things like tuna, hamburger, chicken will change the flavors of things you think you may be getting sick of eating,
 

redeye58

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Leftover chicken can also go into a pot pie.
Make it like you would a soup adding frozen mixed vegs, thicken with a bit of cornstarch (a tsp mixed with tbsp of water), pour into a casserole dish & top with a can of crescent roll dough. Bake at 350o until bubbling around the edges & the crust is lightly brown.
 
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