Healthy, frugal eating | Wise Bread
This post on wisebread reminded me of Michael Pollan’s maxims (by quoting it, actually).
Start with vegetables. Get what’s cheap. If what’s cheap is locally grown and in season, so much the better. Eat more than one thing. Eat a lot.
Get some grains. Prefer whole grains, but generally buy whatever’s cheap. Get a few different things–rice, flour, cornmeal, oats. Here, too, get a lot, but as much as you can, get raw stuff and cook it yourself. Still, some amount of things prepared for you (like bread, pasta, and cereal) is okay.
Add some fruit. Fruit can expensive, but you don’t need a lot for a healthy diet–one glass of orange juice and a small apple is enough for one day. If you can afford more–berries, raisons, melons, exotic tropical fruits–that’s even better.
Add some legumes. Beans, lentils, split peas–whatever you like is fine. You don’t need a lot, but these are reasonably cheap, so if you like them, get a lot.
That’s really all you need. If you’re rich, you can get some meat, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, nuts, oil, sugar, etc.–but you don’t need any of those things. A diet with a variety of vegetables and grains plus a modest amount of fruit and legumes will give you everything you need. (Billions of people only wish they ate so well.)
As long as you eat a variety of things, it’s going to be hard to screw up too badly on a diet like that. If your only vegetable is potatoes and your only grain is white rice–well, you won’t be getting all the nutrition you should. Expand your vegetables to include a leafy one and another non-white one. Make sure at least half your grains are whole grains.
Nobody needs to starve, just remember what’s necessary.