How to CookOn the Cheap

How to Eat Well on a Budget

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Ideas for cooking good meals without breaking the bank.

How to Eat Well on a Budget, from Food52

Cooking on the cheap requires creativity and resourcefulness. We know it's possible to eat well on a tight budget and stretch simple ingredients into a special meal, but that doesn't mean it's easy. A small budget is challenge enough -- add in an additional obstacle, like being a college student with a less-than-perfectly outfitted kitchen (or no kitchen at all), and creating tasty affordable meals can become even more daunting.

Luckily, our community has some great ideas to help Natalia and the rest of us get the most bang for our buck. Here are some of our favorite ideas so far:

  • Cooking with others to pool resources, and building meals around beans, lentils, grains, and pseudo-grains like quinoa. 
  • Pierino recommends a college student staple: burritos
  • Monita suggests buying seasonal ingredients, and Kristen W. advocates for growing herbs to elevate all sorts of dishes.
  • Keeping a few good staples on hand, like olive oil and Parmesan cheese, from nutcakes.
  • Using a small appliance to expand meal options. Either a slow cooker, or as Hilarybee suggested, a hot pot -- for making rice, noodles, tea, and even hard-boiled eggs.

What are your best tips for eating well on a budget? Add your two cents to the question on the Hotline here or continue the conversation in the comments below!

Tags: Community, Advice, DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Hotline, Your Burning Questions, Best Question