5 Money-Saving Tips from a Guy Who Eats Clean on $3 a Day


Let’s say you’ve only got a grocery budget of $21 a week, or just $3 per day. How do you feed yourself?

You could subsist on cheap processed staples like ramen, hot dogs, and their ilk—but we all know how that story ends. You could take the traditional healthy-on-a-budget route, cooking up an enormous (and boring) batch of rice and beans.
Or you could do things the Josh Greenfield way. Greenfield, one of the two brothers behind the popular YouTube cooking channel Brothers Green Eats, recently took on this $3-per-day food budget challenge for a full week. And, frankly, he kicked some serious ass.

Greenfield whipped up dishes that sound like they were lifted straight from a trendy restaurant menu: black bean burgers on homemade buns, fried rice topped with fried eggs and pickled vegetables, sautéed peaches tossed in homemade caramel, spicy chicken wings, banana-chickpea pancakes, and more—all for a measly three bucks daily.
So how’d he do it? We talked with Greenfield and asked for tips on cooking and eating clean, even under the most extreme financial limitations. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Buy as unprocessed as possible.
“Any step that the manufacturer has to do is going to cost you more money,” Greenfield says. “It’s like buying a block of cheese versus shredded cheese. Shredding your own cheese takes a few more minutes, but it’s going to be cheaper if you just buy the block.” The same goes forbeans: When you buy a bag of dried beans and cook them (instead of buying precooked canned beans), you’ll spend less and end up with three times as much food. Consider this the golden rule of grocery shopping: The less processed your purchases are, the lower your bill will be.
2. Use ingredients in more than one way.

A bag of dried chickpeas can be cooked normally, or they can be pulverized in a spice grinder to make chickpea flour for homemade breads. Cabbage makes a tasty slaw but can also be pickled or used to flavor chicken stock. (And plus, it’s a superfood.) Brown rice can be cooked on its own, soaked and blended into a creamy batter for pancakes, or even used as a binder in veggie burgers. You’ll get even more bang for your buck when you dream up new uses for your ingredients.
3. Choose foods wisely.

A few smart swaps can make a world of difference. Instead of buying a fresh herb like parsley, choose scallions. You can put the roots in a glass of water and they’ll keep on growing. (It’s like getting free food!) Swap quick-spoiling leafy greens for a head of cabbage (which will last, quite literally, for months). Instead of a $3 loaf of whole wheat bread, pick up a towering stack of corn tortillas—they almost always cost less. Buy bone-in chicken breasts or thighs so you can use those bones to make broth. The more you think about cooking a food to its fullest potential, the more you’ll be able to spot these grocery-store superstars.
4. Get those freebies.

With a deft hand, you can score free flavor enhancers from just about any fast-food place or coffee shop. Greenfield supplemented his $21 groceryrun with free packets of ketchup, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, pepper, andsugar. (Starbucks even stocks packets of honey, if you need a little sweetness.) He also hit up Whole Foods and scoped out a food festival to snack on free samples throughout the weeklong challenge.
5. Don’t fear the simple things.
“It’s intimidating to try and make simple stuff you wouldn’t really think to cook on your own, like chickpea flour or mayo, but it’s really easy,” Greenfield says. Think about all the pantry staples you normally buy packaged—condimentspasta saucechicken stockpicklesnut butters—and try making them on your own. The extra investment of time will keep money in your pocket and unnecessary additives out of your food.
Want more cheap and clean inspiration? Check out Brothers Green Eats on YouTube.
This post was republished from eatclean.com. You can find the original post here.
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