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Sep 092012
 September 9, 2012  Posted by  Food, Recipes

As food prices rise and the economy continues to falter, finding nutritious, affordable foods is a challenge. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published a free booklet “Good Food on a Tight Budget” to help American families put healthy food on the table. You can download this free recipe and grocery shopping guide, which lists the 100 best foods that are good for you, economical, simple to prepare and good for the planet. Using the Good Food guide will help families eat healthy while staying within a budget.

“Putting good food on your family’s table on a $5-or-$6-dollar-a-day budget is tough, but it’s possible,” said co-author Dawn Undurraga, EWG nutritionist and registered dietitian. “When shoppers fill their grocery carts with the foods on EWG’s lists, they’ll be doing something good for their health and the environment, meanwhile lowering their grocery bills and exposures to the worst chemicals.”

To create the “Good Food on a Tight Budget” guide, EWG assessed nearly 1,200 foods and hand-picked the ones that provide the most nutrition per dollar, as well as contain the fewest pesticides and artificial ingredients. The booklet also includes a lot of practical advice for making healthy meals and snacks, pictures illustrating the best foods, “best buys” in each category, tips for avoiding wasted food, recipes for busy families and kid-approved foods, plus tools for tracking prices and planning menus a week at a time. Planning meals is a key step to cutting food costs.

The guide emphasizes home cooking because experts know it is the best way to enjoy good food while saving the most money. Featured recipes are perfect for today’s busy families, such as double batches that freeze well, and comfort food favorites like turkey chili that stretch expensive proteins deliciously. The recipes are chock full of healthful rice, beans and other dry grains that you can buy in bulk, save scads of money, and use in nutritious, great tasting meals. The 15 low-cost, delicious recipes average less than $1 a serving.

We looked for 15 more delicious ideas on the popular free recipe site The following user-approved recipes focus on using the “best buy” foods from the EWG 100 list. We hope you find some new favorites here — and save money, too.


  • Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup (Notes: use 2 cups frozen corn, non-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream, and baked corn tortillas instead of chips)
  • Beef, Bean and Barley Stew (Notes: use cubes of turkey or chicken instead of beef, and any type of bean from the EWG list. Be sure to use whole grain hulled or hulless barley, not pearl or scotch barley, which have been refined.)
  • Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Notes: substitute brown rice for white rice, ground turkey for ground beef, and 2/3 cup tomato juice for the tomato soup)
  • Fish Tacos (Notes: use perch, whiting, or silver hake instead of codh.)

Side Dishes


  • Spicy Bean Salsa (Notes: use frozen corn instead of canned and the recipe for step-by-step salad dressing from the EWG guide. Instead of tortilla chips, buy corn or whole wheat tortillas, cut them in wedges, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 375°F oven for 12-15 minutes, or until crisp.


Breakfast foods

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide information designed to change consumer demand in ways that safeguard your health and prompts national policy changes. EWG wants to help you make smarter, healthier purchasing decisions, for you, your family, and our  environment.

Carole Cancler

Carole Cancler is a business and technology professional with experience in food science, technical writing, and product development. Her former company, Private Chef Natural Gourmet in Seattle, Washington specialized in frozen gourmet meals. Prior to that, Carole spent 11 years at Microsoft as a software engineer and program manager. Her writing expertise includes business intelligence, websites, newsletters, and recipe development. Currently, she focuses on writing and consulting for the food and technology industries and, for fun, teaches cooking classes. Her first cookbook, The Home Preserving Bible is available on Amazon. Carole owns and operates Greater Seattle on the Cheap.

  One Response to “Free guide and recipes for delicious cheap, healthy meals”

  1. Love the article.

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