Healthy dinner for the week for cheap

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Although organics and whole foods may cost more than mass-produced, commercial foods, you don’t have to blow your budget to create healthy meals every night of the week. Decreasing the amount of expensive proteins and making low-cost substitutions throughout your recipes will help you make delicious, healthy meals that can please a wide variety of palates.

Monday

Although organics and whole foods may cost more than mass-produced, commercial foods, you don’t have to blow your budget to create healthy meals every night of the week. Decreasing the amount of expensive proteins and making low-cost substitutions throughout your recipes will help you make delicious, healthy meals that can please a wide variety of palates.

Serve a Tex-Mex meal for less without serving less flavor. Bean burritos are high in protein. Add lettuce, tomatoes, onions and low-fat cheese. Make a guacamole from avocados and fat-free sour cream. Serve a fat-free tortilla soup with black beans for iron and protein. Instead of or in addition to your burritos, offer veggie tacos with the same ingredients, using baked rather than deep-fried shells.

Tuesday

Eat Italian pasta dishes without all the fat and cholesterol by eliminating the ground beef and sausage. Serve a tomato sauce with whole-grain pasta and canned tuna for added protein and cholesterol-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. For lasagnas and bakes, use low-fat cheese and skip the eggs and milk. If you can afford turkey breast, make turkey meatballs with skim milk or egg whites to bind them. Start with a minestrone soup and Caesar salad without the cheese and croutons, substituting nuts and a non-fat dressing.

Wednesday

Try turkey burger sliders made from breast meat, and serve with vegetarian baked beans and baked chips instead of French fries. Serve a French onion soup without the cheese and croutons. Offer plenty of less-expensive, in-season veggie toppings. Hold the mayo, and offer a honey mustard instead. Serve on whole-grain buns.

Thursday

Make a salad more substantive with marinated strips of low-fat sirloin steak. Add plenty of large pieces of cucumbers, carrots, celery, radishes, tomatoes or other seasonal vegetables the help keep your budget in check. Start with a cup of black bean soup.

Friday

Pizza can be heart-healthy if you cut out the pepperoni, sausage and hamburger. Put tomato sauce on whole-wheat English muffins, and sprinkle just enough low-fat cheese to cover the muffins. Top the mini-pizzas with onions, pepper, mushrooms or other favorite vegetables you soften in the microwave for 30 seconds, then pop the completed masterpieces in the toaster oven.

Saturday

Offer tuna salad and egg salad “sandwiches” served on lettuce leaves rather than bread. Use a fat-free mayonnaise, and add flavor with seasonings such as curry powder, paprika or black pepper. Add gherkins to egg salad and grapes, raisins or nuts to tuna salad. Start with a fat-free noodle soup.

Sunday

Serve a more traditional Sunday dinner, using affordable flank steak to make a London broil. Instead of white potatoes, serve a sweet potato casserole made with a nonfat butter substitute, cinnamon and small amount of brown sugar. Steam fresh green beans or snap peas with garlic and olive oil. Start with a homemade tomato soup you make in your blender or food processor.

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