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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Healthy YET Affordable Meals


Howdy, my friends. Spring is definitely here, it feels like nature has come alive! The flowers are blooming, every field is turning green, every tree has leaves, birds are chirping, and we are getting lots of rain showers and sunshine. I am super excited about all these changes! With the temperature getting warmer, April brings a lot of seasonal produce!

Something I noticed these days while doing my grocery shopping, the prices of produce are significantly impacted by inflation. Although the cost of food/produce is rising sharply, we are still able to practice healthy eating by doing some planning.

  1. If able, grow some vegetables and fruits in your garden, such as tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, peppers, berries, herbs (basil, oregano, mint, chives, green onions, rosemary)

  2. Choose seasonal, on sale produce

  3. Use unseasoned frozen and/or low sodium canned products

  4. Try plant-based protein, such as beans, tofu/tempeh/edamame, lentils, and chickpeas


I have some good budget-friendly recipes to share with you this April.


Mediterranean veggie quiche: This delicious mediterranean-inspired quiche recipe is packed with veggies. You can serve it at breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! The recipe adapted from Wholefully.





Homemade Falafel: This is an authentic Falafel recipe that is made with soaked, dry chickpeas and seasoned with flavorful herbs and spices. Although these Falafel took some preparing time, I promised you that it is definitely worth the time you put in! You can either serve the Falafel in a pita sandwich, or make it as a Falafel bowl/salad. The recipe adapted from Feasting at home.






Chickpea shawarma salad with pita chips and homemade garlic dill dressing: It is a Middle Eastern-inspired recipe, and the salad is very flavorful and filling. The chickpeas are coated with shawarma spices prior to baking. Then toss together the roasted/baked chickpeas, fresh salad mix, pita chips, and creamy dill dressing. The recipe was adapted from Minimalist Baker.




Rotisserie chicken cobb salad: When you have some leftover rotisserie chicken, the next day try this cobb salad for your lunch. It is an extremely DELICIOUS, satisfying, protein-rich, easy-to-made salad! The recipe inspired by Fit Foodie Finds.





Salmon patties with slaw: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 8 ounces of seafood (less for children; 8-12 ounces with lower in mercury choices during pregnancy/breastfeeding). Fish contains a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which show health benefits of brain development and heart health. The cost of fresh salmon can be very pricey, but we can always incorporate some canned salmon. These salmon patties are very flavorful and very easy to prepare. Try serving this patty with some homemade slaw. The recipe adapted from RecipeTin eats.





Crunchy Thai peanut and quinoa salad: This is a fiber and protein-rich creamy salad that is surprisingly satisfying and tasty. This Thai-inspired salad is made with shredded carrots, cabbage, snow peas, and quinoa served with homemade creamy peanut dressing. The recipe adapted from Cookie and Katie.





Hearty spaghetti with lentils and marinara: I feel like this recipe is like a vegetarian version of “spaghetti with meat sauce”. I believe it is way easier to prepare and more affordable than the classic meat-based marinara sauce. I had this spaghetti with some broccoli salad to complete my meal. The recipe was adapted from Cookie and Kate.




*Most ingredients are sponsored by the DRH Health Food and Nutrition Department.




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