How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day: Day 4

Day 4 of “How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day” was somewhat labor intensive and I don’t recommend this combination of meals in a single day. I prefer to make soups, stews, and roasts on weekends—sometimes multiple dishes at the same time—and then use portions of them throughout the week. Each of today’s meals included more cooking than I would usually do and it’s only because I work at home that I could get away with it.

Here’s what we ate today:


For breakfast, we started off with Nutty Rice Porridge, using leftover brown rice from the Cuban Black Beans dish we had for dinner on Day 3 of our challenge to eat cheap and healthy this week. It’s a hardy meal, especially if you add the nuts, which we didn’t this time in order to save on costs.


For lunch we had Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Mark Bittman’s Potato and Leek Soup, and Kale Chips. Looking at the tallies in the spreadsheet, you can see that our millet & flax bread really jacks up the cost of lunch for us. But that’s the life of someone with an allergy to wheat. You can probably find an economical, whole-grain bread that costs less than our non-wheat bread.


For dinner, we made spaghetti with meat sauce. Bill has changed his pasta sauce from a doctored-up version of Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil sauce to a simple homemade variety that consists of few ingredients. You can make it with or without meat, but we opted to use the leftover half-pound of ground beef from making Grassfed Beef Burgers on Day 1.


  • We went slightly over budget. Again, I think this is related to the expense of our grassfed meat. But even brown rice spaghetti has its price. If you can eat wheat products, you’ll have a cheaper meal than we did. Take out the meat and you’ll go even lower in cost. FYI, the recommended serving size on our spaghetti package is 2 oz. of dried pasta but Bill and I had 3 oz. each. This is what we’re used to eating but maybe it’s simply more than we need?
  • If we had had more to spend, I would have enjoyed a salad from our CSA. Maybe a reduction in pasta would have afforded me the ability to have greens!

3 responses to “How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day: Day 4

  1. I look forward to everyday’s “clue” – thank you.

  2. 3 oz each is a pretty substatial portion (theoretically one should eat somewhere between 4-8 oz of grains per day depending on calorie needs)… Unless it’s really just a meal of pasta with a garnish, I usually eat more like 1.5 to 1.75 oz. Substituting gigantes beans for the meat would be another way to pull the price down.

    • Helpful information, GroundCherry. It does seem like 3 oz. of pasta is a lot, although that was all we had for dinner. Backing off the pasta quantity makes sense unless that’s the only grains we’re eating for the day. Maybe we need to use different bowls because those large pasta bowls from Le Creuset are just asking to be filled! I agree about omitting the meat to bring the price down. Thanks for your comment!

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