News and Tribune

May 16, 2013

Healthy Meals on a Budget - Menus for a Week



Studies show that fat, salt, and sugar can be controlled better in our diets by preparing meals at home.

If you want to make a commitment to better health, eating more meals at home is the way to start and all it takes is a little planning. According to Teresa Holcomb, Registered Dietitian and Manager of Food and Nutrition Services at Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital, “Consuming well-balanced meals and snacks reduces food cravings that may lead to snacking on junk food between meals. I notice that when I prepare and serve a well-balanced meal to my family they aren’t back in the kitchen looking for something to eat an hour later.” The fact is that if you fill your diet with nutritious foods you won’t be hungry and will have little desire for high fat and high-sugar options.


The following daily menus and snack ideas include lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and unsweetened beverages along with portion control. The meals are designed for persons who consume about 2,000 calories each day, which is considered the average diet in this country. If you need more calories because you are very active, add extra whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Vegetarians can eat beans, tofu, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese and some grains, like quinoa, for protein. Remember that eating whole fruits and vegetables, rather than drinking juice, makes meeting the goal of 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day easier to attain. Eating enough fiber is important because it will help satisfy your hunger, balance blood sugars, and maintain regularity. A grocery shopping list is included for the meals and snacks. Make substitutions to the menus and the grocery list to please your palate and you will be ready to eat your way to better health.




1 orange

1 cup oatmeal with milk and ½ of an apple, diced

2 slices turkey bacon

Coffee or tea


Turkey, cheese, whole wheat bread sandwich with light mayonnaise

1 Apple (medium)

Crystal light or iced tea (no sugar; artificial sweeteners if needed)


Baked chicken (Bake the whole chicken for use over the next few days.)

Tossed salad with low-fat dressing

Brown rice

Steamed broccoli

Fat-free milk or iced tea




1 scrambled egg

1 slice whole wheat toast

1 cup plain fat-free yogurt with frozen blueberries

Coffee or tea


Tossed salad topped with diced baked chicken/low-fat dressing

1 slice whole wheat bread

2 slices cantaloupe

Fat-free milk, water or iced tea


Chicken vegetable soup  (Use the rest of the baked chicken.)

Tossed salad with low-fat dressing

1 apple tart (Baked with sliced apple, prepared pie crust, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon sugar)

Fat-free milk or iced tea


Wednesday (Meatless Day)


Smoothie (cantaloupe, frozen blueberries, plain fat free yogurt)

1 slice whole wheat toast

Coffee or tea


Grilled cheese sandwich

Kale chips

Sliced pear

Fat-free milk or water


Whole grain pasta with tomato basil sauce

Tossed salad/low-fat dressing

Steamed carrots and broccoli

1 slice whole wheat bread

Fat-free milk or iced tea




Cottage cheese/fruit

1 slice whole wheat toast

Coffee or tea


Tuna salad sandwich/whole grain bread

Grapes (1/2 cup)

Low-fat yogurt

Water or iced tea


Great Northern beans with onion, kale and yellow squash

Tossed salad (lettuce, sliced apples, and orange sections)

Corn muffins

Fat-free milk or iced tea






Smoothie (banana, blueberries, fat-free yogurt)

Whole wheat toast

Coffee or tea


Peanut butter/fruit spread/banana sandwich

Sliced apples

Crystal light or iced tea


Baked cod with lemon and herbs

Baked potato

Tossed salad

Fat-free milk or iced tea




Oatmeal topped with milk and ½ chopped apple

1 slice whole wheat toast

Fat-free yogurt

Coffee or tea


Turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich

Kale chips

Iced tea


Grilled chicken thighs

Vegetable stir-fry (Yellow squash, kale, carrots, broccoli)

Lettuce with low-fat dressing

Fat-free milk or iced tea




Omelet with chopped veggies

Turkey bacon

1 slice whole wheat toast

Coffee or tea


Baked chicken with sliced lemon

Rosemary roasted potatoes

Tomato and cucumber salad

Fat-free milk or tea


Chicken/rice soup

Steamed broccoli

1 slice whole wheat bread

Fat-free milk or iced tea


Healthy snacks are fine twice a day. Consider a medium-sized piece of fruit, 4-5 whole grain crackers, a small serving of cottage cheese or plain fat-free yogurt, sliced vegetables, or a handful of nuts.


Grocery List:


2 oranges

1 lemon

1 cantaloupe

5 apples

2 pears

Grapes (small bunch)

1 small bunch bananas

1 bag lettuce

3 tomatoes

1 head broccoli

1 bag kale

1 bag baby carrots

1 onion

3 yellow squash (medium)

1 cucumber

2 Idaho potatoes



1 pkg. turkey bacon

1 whole chicken, cut up (freeze thighs for Thursday)

1 pkg. sliced turkey

1 6 oz. portion cod filet



1 loaf whole wheat bread

1 box oatmeal, old fashioned style

 1 bag brown rice

1 box whole grain spaghetti pasta


Canned foods:

1 jar low-fat pasta sauce with basil

1 can Great Northern beans (15oz.)

1 jar peanut butter

1 jar fruit spread (low sugar)

1 jar light mayonnaise

1 can tuna



1 low-fat salad dressing

1 jar dill pickles (small) (for tuna salad and sandwiches)



½ gallon fat-free milk

1 pkg. sliced cheese (low-fat)

1 dozen eggs

5 plain fat-free yogurts

1 low-fat yogurt with fruit

1 small carton low-fat cottage cheese

1 box butter (4 sticks)



1 small package frozen blueberries



Crystal Light (optional)

Coffee (optional)

Tea (optional)

1 box tea bags (optional)

1 box chicken broth (fat-free) (for soup)

1 box corn muffin mix

Snacks (You choose from fruit, veggies, nuts, whole grain crackers, or peanut butter.)


Save money with these shopping tips:

·       Buy store brands

·       Take advantage of weekly specials

·       Buy food when it is in season

·       Stick to your list; avoid impulse buys

·       Clip and use coupons; but use only for items you need

·       Freeze leftover food for use in soups or casseroles


Save calories with these tips:

·       Buy fat-free, low-fat, no sugar foods

·       Drink water or unsweetened drinks

·       Eat a tossed salad with low-fat dressing each day

·       Buy lean cuts of meat

·       Use olive or canola oil (sparingly)