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Eating healthy is something we should all work on, but according to our Whole Foods receipts, it can get really expensive. In 100 Days of Real Food: On a Budget ($24), author Lisa Leake proves you can make tasty, wholesome meals for you and your people no matter your financial situation. In fact, every recipe in this book costs $15 or less — can we get an amen?! Take note of Leake’s easy tips for not just eating healthier but cheaper too.

1. Buy more “cheap” (but real!) food. Save the steak for a special occasion. Foods like whole wheat pasta, lentils, bananas, beans, cabbage, corn, potatoes, and frozen vegetables are better options for your wallet.

2. Eat less meat. Switching your mindset to think of meat as a side or condiment is easier than you think. Get creative with portions and supplement your meals with more veggies, mushrooms, and beans.

3. Make smart swaps. You’d be surprised by how much money you can save by swapping out pricier foods for cheaper items with the same flavor profile. A few to get you started: Instead of pine nuts, try walnuts; replace goat cheese with cream cheese; use honey in place of pure maple syrup.

4. Use frozen produce. We’re not telling you to ditch fresh fruits and veggies all together, but making the swap from fresh to frozen produce — which are usually picked at peak freshness — for foods like smoothies and stir fry recipes is an easy way to save some cash.

5. Minimize waste. A NRDC report published in 2012 found that American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy. That’s basically like throwing away money. Sometimes it’s tempting to avoid what’s inside your fridge in favor of takeout after a long day at work (same), but sticking to a meal plan keeps you on budget and on track to healthier habits.

SIMPLE WALNUT-CRUSTED SALMON

(Serves 4)

Recipe Notes: We’re always on the hunt for a tasty new salmon recipe and instantly fell in love with Leake’s take featuring a yummy walnut-crusted topping. Believe us, the 30 seconds it takes to pop the ingredients in the food processor is well worth it! The nutty topping adds a nice rustic flavor to the fish and pairs well with roasted vegetables or a light salad.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 pound wild-caught salmon fillets
  • 1 (15-ounce) canister whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 (4-ounce) bag chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or regular mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Equipment:

  • baking sheet
  • food processor

Directions:
 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Oil a baking sheet.
  3. Place the salmon fillets skin side down on the oiled pan.
  4. In a food processor, combine the breadcrumbs, walnuts, mustard, and honey. Process until well combined, scraping the sides as necessary.
  5. Use a spatula to spread the walnut crust in an even layer on top of the salmon. Bake until the salmon is a little golden brown on top and cooked (light pink and flaky) all the way through, 12 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

For more recipe inspo, follow Brit + Co on Pinterest.

(Photos via Lindsey Rose Johnson and recipe via 100 Days of Real Food: On a Budget by Lisa Leake)