Good Food Comes Cheap

I noticed that over the last two to three years I have been getting fatter.  It may not come as much of a surprise that I put this down to being less active than before and eating too much.  I tried blaming other people for working me too hard and forcing me to eat great-tasting food, but really there came a time to do something about it.  So, I came up with a rough weekly diet plan.

The idea was to have wheat/grains for breakfast for slow energy release, two main meals each day with fish or meat and a good serving of green/red vegetables, daily desserts using fruits as a base with fruits/nuts/chocolate as snack foods and some leafy greens thrown in along the line somewhere.  At least two meals per week should be based on tomatoes, two should have oily fish and no more than two each of pork or beef.  One day per week would be "empty the fridge day".  The whole plan should be cheap.

So, for February I decided to take photos of most of the foods we came up with and to keep a running tab of how much money we spent on groceries.  Most photos didn't come out well due to bad evening lightning and I forgot to photograph most of the desserts due to being in a rush to eat them.

At the end of the month, we added up the total receipts from all food and other household items such as soaps, shampoos, odd bottle of French red wine, snacks bought outside and the bill came to less than P80 per day per person (less than USD $ 1.75).  To put some context, this is buying good groceries from the local market, imported goods such as cheese, wine, chocolates at the supermarket and this is living in Manila.  To judge this internationally is difficult as cost of living is not directly comparable.  If I compare to daily wage, it is about 1/6 of a minimum wage for professionals and 1/15 of a daily wage for highly-qualified professionals.  It is a bit less than the price of a single Jolibee or McDonalds burger with fries and drink and about 2/3 the price of a Starbucks coffee or 15 times the price of a coffee on the street.

Whatever way you look at it, it is pretty reasonable.  Good food can be cheap, even overseas, if you can get to a decent market.


Battered fish with baked beans and veggies

Chicken curry

Beef steak with veggies and sweet sauce

Shrimps with squash and veggies

Chocolate-coated strawberries and bananas
Chicken, ham and cheese with wine and sage sauce and Morroccan tomatoes

Sweet and sour fish with tofu/veggies

Apple crumble (no oven) with custard

Chicken and tomato with pasta and cheese

Beef stroganoff

Shrimp pasta

chicken or pork with sweet sauce

Fish steaks in creamy herb sauce with pasta

Strawberry and banana cheesecake

Beef and rocquefort sauce volcano

Chicken with a sweet potato and bacon salad

Sweet and chilli pasta with omlette

Chocolate and banana crepes with ice cream and cream

Sweet and sour battered fish

Red thai curry

Spaghetti bologneise

Lumpia shanghai and pancit

Sandwiches with home made tomato sauce

Avocado-based rum truffles
Fish fillet in creamy spicy sauce

Cheesy chicken pasta

An attempt at a healthy lemonade smoothie

Mixed banana, apple, mango, pears in ginger syrup
Pork Kaldereta

Beef with rocquefort sauce and veggies

Cheesy chicken pasta

Spicy orange chicken
Banana and mango milkshakes

Avocado-chocolate mousse

So, there you go. It is possible to eat delicious healthy food on a budget!

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#3: Guest #143 (Judith) - at 03:39 on 12 Mar 2015

All the foods in the photos looks really yummylicious. The ingredients seems can get us fat faster unless we will only eat small amount of the foods.

#2: Sandy - at 09:59 on 10 Mar 2015

haha, good question!

Finally, I am noticing a small amount of weight loss and I feel much healthier and fitter, but that might be due to playing football more too. The increase in veggies and fruits do fill me up more quickly so I am eating less meats and no longer combining rice/pasta with potatoes, which can only be good.

I have always suffered a lot from mouth ulcers which I think comes from a bad diet and lack of sleep... last months I have noticed a massive improvement.

So, I think it makes a difference...either way, I'm enjoying the foods more, FEEL healthier and am not getting heavier so that can only be good.

#1: Guest #142 (matt) - at 09:28 on 10 Mar 2015

But have u lost weight?