Healthy Cooking on a Budget From a Model Who Eats

I am personally attempting to learn how to cook. It’s a very sad fact that not only am I completely unable to cook, but every attempt to produce anything other than eggs has been more or less inedible. When I met Jill de Jong at my agency and learned that she was the creator of the amazing site Models DO Eat, I jumped at the chance to interview her and get some of her tips for healthy eating on a budget. She even made us a yummy, affordable meal and gave us the recipe! Be sure to check out her site for even more delicious recipes and tips.

Healthy cooking on a budget

Cooking at home instead of eating out is an easy way to save money, particularly if you focus your meals around cheap ingredients. Even on a tight budget, there’s no need to skimp on being healthy or delicious!

What are your favorite ingredients to cook with that help to keep the prices of your meal low?

Kitchen staples like whole-wheat pastas; couscous, brown rice and potatos make for a nutritious and cheap foundation to most meals.

 What’s your advice to use when grocery shopping to stay within a budget?

– Have a plan. Get the ingredients you need to create what you have in mind, and don’t buy random stuff.

– Buy fruits and veggies that are local and seasonal.

– Look for what’s on sale and plan a meal around that item.

– Try to eat a little less meat or poultry. It’s both cheaper and better for you.

– Buy from the bulk section (when available) as you can buy the exact amount that you need.

 Do you always use organic ingredients?

About 80% of the ingredients I use are organic. The ones I rarely compromise on are fruits and vegetables.

 What are some of your favorite healthy snack foods?

Dried unsulfured mango, raw nuts, raisins and bananas


Jill’s coconut lemon & ginger chicken with couscous recipe 

Jill's budget friendly recipe

Ashley asked me to create a budget friendly recipe. It can be a challenge when you purchase from Whole foods (a.k.a Whole pay check), and when you want the meal to be partly organic.

This delicious meal was only $4.19 to make. 

Per person:

Chicken cutlets, no antibiotics                        $ 1.80                        2 ounce

Carrots, organic                                                  $ 0.25                        0.2 pound

Wheat couscous                                                  $ 0.76                        ¾ cup

Coconut milk, light, organic                               $ 0.78                        ¾ cup

Garlic                                                                     $ 0.05                        ½ clove

Yellow union                                                       $ 0.10                        ½ of 1/3 cup

Cilantro                                                                $ 0.20                        ½ of ¼ cup

Lemon                                                                  $ 0.15                        ¼ lemon

Ginger                                                                   $ 0.10                       1 slice                      

Total                                                                    $ 4. 19


1         clove  garlic, minced

1/3    cup     yellow onion, chopped

3/4    can     coconut milk

2         slices ginger

1         Tbsp  lemon, juice

1/4    cup     cilantro

salt & pepper


Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent

Pour in the coconut milk, heat it and add the ginger, lemon juice + cilantro.

Season it to taste with salt and pepper.

Put in the thinly sliced chicken cutlets inside the coconut milk and let everything simmer on low heat for 10 min. Add carrots and let them simmer  with the chicken for another 8-10 minutes.

While the chicken simmers, make the couscous. I always like to add a little butter to my finished couscous to give it a slightly creamy taste. Put the couscous on a plate and scoop the coconut mixture on top of it.





One Comment

  1. Marguerita Kearns says:

    People often add too much salt in their recipes without realizing it until it’s too late, but do not worry. There is a way to fix this! Add two peeled and chopped raw potatoes to the dish, and then allow it to simmer for around 15 minutes. The potatoes help absorb the extra salt. For a dish that is tomato-based, just put a few more tomatoes in and let them cook until they’re tender. These will dilute the extra salt.”,

    Our personal online site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *