How you can eat healthy on a budget, from EatingWell on a Budget.

How you can eat healthy on a budget, from EatingWell on a Budget.

When Yakeline Argueta arrived in the United States, healthy cooking wasn't a priority; she was simply struggling to get by. Then the El Salvador native learned about Through The Kitchen Door (TTKD), a Washington, D.C.-based program that helps at-risk and low-­income families learn basic kitchen techniques and how to cook healthy inexpensive food.

She enrolled in a TTKD cooking class and graduated a changed woman; she lost more than 70 pounds and had the skills to feed her family well on a budget. "Now my kids eat carrots instead of potato chips. We stopped drinking sodas. And we don't eat fast food anymore. I bulk-cook food with my kids one day a week, so I save time and money," she says.

For many Americans, cooking healthy food on a budget can be difficult. A third of adults and 16 percent of children are obese and the highest obesity rates in the U.S. are associated with the lowest incomes and education levels, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, says, "Simply put, fats and sweets cost less, whereas many healthier foods cost more."

Today, with high food prices and a struggling economy, the lessons that Argueta learned are ones that anyone can use and appreciate. For example, she learned that fish is often cheaper at Asian markets. Another tip, from TTKD's founder, Liesel Flashenberg: "We buy lots of chicken parts on sale and portion them for freezing in different sizes for use in varying recipes." The simple tips for saving, as well as the real changes TTKD has made in people's lives, helped inspire EatingWell's new book, EatingWell on a Budget.

EatingWell on a Budget shares TTKD's goal of teaching people how to cook and eat well for less, no matter whether you are a family trying to make ends meet or are trying to save for kids' college educations. The book pulls together 140 of EatingWell's best simple recipes that cost less than $3 per serving. It offers 40 easy ways to save and tons of quick tips, from how to use up leftover tortillas (try making your own chips at home) to why beans are one of the greatest nutrition values.See 6 simplechanges that could help you save $2,997 a year »

September/October 2010