These “Healthy Meals” Are Affordable!

"Healthy" never has to mean expensive! Here are great healthy options you can totally afford.

IMAGE Aldwin Aspillera

When it comes to eating better and healthier, the common misconception is that it's going to expensive.

It's a sad misconception because there are many ingredients alternatives you can use that are in fact not that expensive. Plus, major supermarkets know that people are striving to eat better and are stocking their shelves with great, healthier options while online markets are also in abundance, too. You don't need to hunt down a specialty store anymore for your healthy-eating needs!

One of the best ways to do this is to shop in bulk. Sure, you're getting more of the same item at a higher price but if you actually do the math, the amount you're getting is worth it in the long run. 

You can even swap out ingredients for better choices, too! Love pasta but you're supposed to be eating everything whole wheat? There are whole wheat options in supermarkets! Need to go sugar-free but can't find the sweetener alternatives anywhere? Shop online!  


To help you be the better eater this year, here are recipes that we think will be delicious and affordable recipes that you will totally be eager to try. We even give you the fearsome ingredient or two that might make you change your mind about mindful eating. The total tells you how much you really spend on that special ingredient.   

Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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1 Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Recipe 

Cauliflower = P115/kilogram 

Cost of Ingredient Per Serving = P15

What makes this rice dish so unique? It's not made with rice but with cauliflower! For anyone who is on the keto diet, this is the classic rice substitute that allows you to still enjoy eating "rice" without succumbing to a cheat day.

The best news about this is that you don't need a lot of cauliflower to make this dish. You can use the florets as well as the stem! Trimming the stem until the tender center is revealed is what will make this dish more forgiving. Plus, did you know that the leaves of the cauliflower are edible? We say toss it in and you not only have less food waste, you pack in the nutrients, too. 


2 Brown Rice Champorado Recipe 

Brown Rice = starts at P55/kilogram 

Coconut Sugar = starts at P109/200 grams 

Cost of Ingredients Per Serving = P24 

The humble champorado is really the sweet version of the rice porridge or lugaw. We're not complaining! A bowl of this chocolate rice pudding is a taste of childhood at its most nostalgic! Is there another country which can boast that they have been eating chocolate for breakfast far longer than we have

Despite the champorado's humble ingredients, this can be made better for you. The simple swap of the kind of rice you use can immediately amp up the health benefits! Brown rice and even more so, black rice (P88/kilogram) are loaded with far more nutrients than polished white rice. Not only that, if you're watching your sugar intake, using coconut sugar, which has a low glycemic index compared to sugarcane, is the easy substitute. 


3 Kimchi Red Rice Bowl Recipe 

Red Rice = starts at P75/kilogram 

Cost of Ingredient Per Serving = P6

Just like brown and black rice, red rice is the better-for-you rice compared to white. Red rice has similar nutritional qualities as brown rice since the bran and rice germ have not been removed from the rice kernels. However, there is a big difference: red rice contains an antioxidant that gives it its rust-colored hue. 


Red rice is known to be heavier, heartier than even brown rice so even just a little bit of red rice goes a long way towards keeping you full! Tossing this variety of rice is fantastic, especially when paired with something refreshing and delicious like kimchi


Photo by Michael Chua

4 Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe 

Whole wheat flour = starts at P145/kilogram 

Muscovado sugar = starts at P76.50/500 grams 

Cost of Ingredients Per Serving = P4  

What makes these chocolate chips guilt-free are the smart ingredient swaps made to make it more wholesome to eat! It uses oat flour as well as all-purpose flour but we think you can swap that entire amount with whole wheat flour.

This is different from your usual all-purpose since this flour is made from the entire wheat kernel which includes the bran the wheatgerm. Not only that, brown sugar, not white, makes these cookie extra chewy since the molasses in brown sugar ensure that these stay soft and moist. However, if you want to amp up the nutrition a little bit more, use muscovado sugar which is a great brown sugar alternative to use since it has more molasses content. 

You can get whole wheat flour from your local bakery supply stores but if you've looked and still can't find it or find the branded bags are just too pricey for your budget, look online for your needs. 


Chunks of tuna and slices of cucumber make this palaman light yet satisfying.
Photo by Majoy Siason

6 Healthy Tuna Sandwich Recipe 

Greek Yogurt = starts at P41/100 grams

Whole wheat bread = starts at P42/480 grams

Cost of Ingredient Per Serving = P15.50 

It's hard not to like a well-made tuna sandwich. That's why it can only be made better. We think this version that replaces the egg-oil emulsion that mayonnaise is made of with Greek-style yogurt is a genius move. It remains creamy but adds a note of sourness and it's good-for-you, too. Plus, the white bread is tossed out in favor of whole wheat bread that we all know is indeed better for you.    


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Photo by Aldwin Aspillera

7 Healthy Pasta Salad Recipe 

Sour cream = starts at P110/240 grams

Whole Wheat pasta = starts at P105/500 grams

Cost of Ingredient Per Serving = P53.75

Did you know you can make your own sour cream? In fact, you can make it and it might better than what you can get at the chilled section since you can control how sour your version can be! What's so great about this is that it only needs two main ingredients: cream and lemon juice (or vinegar!). You can adjust the amount you add of the lemon juice.  


The other swap you do to make this pasta (and other pastas) the better choice is the pasta itself. There are now different kinds of pasta available that are not your usual pasta! There are whole wheat pasta which, just like how whole wheat bread and brown and red rice are better choices, is the better-for-you ingredient. The rest of this pasta salad recipe is now totally up to you!

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May 30, 2016

Photo by Aldwin Aspillera

8 Chickpea Veggie Salad Recipe 

Chickpeas = starts at P34/450 grams 

Olive oil = starts at P125/250 ml 

Cost of Ingredient Per Serving = P62

Do you get worried when you see olive oil on the list of ingredients? Don't be! The price of an entire bottle of this extracted oil is not overwhelming as it may sound. The thing with olive oil is that just a little is all you need for most dishes. Really. Just a little bit will be enough to make your meal. 

Take this salad recipe for example. We know that there is something about a salad that makes people think its automatically healthy. While it's a great misconception, it is also true more like than not. This is one salad recipe that not only tastes great, but it's also a great salad option that's not just a bunch of green lettuce leaves thrown together with a slippery, bland dressing. This robust salad is the perfect way to make sure that you're getting some great ingredients in your diet, plus it's also just going to fill you up, too.  


Choosing to be a better, more conscientious eater is always a great choice to make! The good news is that you can eat better with a budget that will take care of you, too. 


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