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Thread: Cheap Calories page

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    Bosnic's Avatar
    Bosnic is offline Senior Member
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    Cheap Calories

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    I can't eat dairy or eggs unfortunately. What are some cheap sources of calories? I'm on a tight budget, and find myself using white rice to fill the gaps...

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    JoanieL's Avatar
    JoanieL is offline Senior Member
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    Off the top of my head, those small 99cent avocados sometimes are 5-6 oz after you take out the pit and ditch the skin. That's 250-300 calories.

    Also, whole chicken and chicken hindquarters go on sale a lot. I've seen the hindquarters as low as $5.90 for a ten pound bag. Bake those up and the skin is particularly calorie dense (if the skin doesn't get crispy enough when you bake it, you can remove it and pan fry it).

    Look for the yellow stickers in the meat dept. That just means that the pull date is today, and they mark it down so they don't have to toss it. Cook it the same day, eat some, freeze the rest.

    In some parts of the country, things like oxtails and liver are cheaper than other cuts of meat. Though oxtail (and beef shank) need a long cooking time, the are fatty because of the marrow and marbling and will fill you up.

    That's all I've got. But I'm sure others will have more for you.

  3. #3
    Paleobird's Avatar
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    Get over any aversion you might have to offal. And make bone broth. The "odd bits" are cheap.

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    Bone broth - Yes! And I get damaged veggies really cheap at the farmers market. And one farmer I've been chatting with says if I come when the market closes he'll sell me some veggies at 1/2 price that can't keep for the next event. I also hunt for when the canned fish like sardines & kippers are on sale and buy a bunch. Finally, I can't find the sites now (sorry) but I'm starting to look into foraging (dandelions, edible weeds, etc). which will be my next step. I'd like to learn what mushrooms, berries, herbs weeds & flowers are nutritious and edible - and free.

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    Graycat's Avatar
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    Fats. Well, the good ones are not cheap, but the calories sure add up fast.

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    Alex Good's Avatar
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    Go to your local butcher and ask the price of the off cuts. My butcher actually puts them out at 1$-2$ per pound mark down. That's like 5$-8$ for a family sized roast.

    Unfortunately it's usually the chicken that gets screwed up and I don't care too much for poultry.
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    Offal is good. Do some foraging at the office, too. It's zucchini season and I'm sure there is someone at work or in your neighborhood who has too much garden produce.
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  8. #8
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    Another vote for offal here.

    I've had to reduce my food budget recently and have great results (weight loss & better health):

    Eat heart & liver instead of muscle meat. Cheaper. More nutritious. I like to marinade in thai curry pastes or fry in them so it tastes less "offaly".

    Get all veg from farmers markets and when anything else is needed during week buy what's on offer from shops.

    For carbs: non organic sweet potatoes every few days

    Fat: Homemade ghee. Bulk up on this to get to your maintenance calories if necessary. Use coconut oil as well but in smaller doses die to price.

    A very dark chocolate (90+...I get 99% and mix with ghee) is fairly inexpensive and has lots of calories and good as a treat whilst having low sugar.

    Fast for 24 hours once a week for health benefits and financial benefits of skipping two meals.

    I personally don't drink coffee often because I find it really addictive, but "Bulletproof" coffee (basically a coffee with butter and coconut oil-blend with a little cocoa powder so it mixes with the water as opposed to floating on the top), is a great tasting large portion of calories and great for a kick in the morning.

    Basically more fat, cheaper sources of animal products and farmers market for veg.

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    another vote for bone broth, offal and off-cuts. for example, i buy neck bones as part of the oogly bits for beef broth. the meat needs several hours to get tender, but once it does i pull it and keep cooking the bones. i get many servings of meat from this. it's like a bonus.

    fattier cuts, like shank and ribs, tend to be cheaper than anything cut from the loin = priced cheaper and i find a little goes a long way.

    fish like mackerel, sardines and smelts are usually super cheap, depending on where you live.

    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodletoy View Post
    another vote for bone broth, offal and off-cuts. for example, i buy neck bones as part of the oogly bits for beef broth. the meat needs several hours to get tender, but once it does i pull it and keep cooking the bones. i get many servings of meat from this. it's like a bonus.

    fattier cuts, like shank and ribs, tend to be cheaper than anything cut from the loin = priced cheaper and i find a little goes a long way.

    fish like mackerel, sardines and smelts are usually super cheap, depending on where you live.

    I've started doing this, too. I'm still trying to gauge when the perfect time is to pull off the meat. You go about 3 hours? For the stew bones I've been waiting 5-6 hours. Once my order of neck bones come in, you think I should not go that long? It can get flavorless if I wait too long (I've found that out, sadly).

    One thing I am going to do but haven't had time yet, is drive to the large fish market (about 40 minutes south of me) and see if I can chat with a merchant who might be willing to sell me the fish heads, bones & tails they cut off when filleting. If I can swing a dirt cheap price (which is the only way I can afford to do this right now) then I can make FISH STOCK that's not the scary, stinky, farmed fish at my local shops. I'm pretty excited at this plan. And I want to try to befriend some of them. Then I can get a couple scallops for my Dad and son that aren't pumped with that solution and perhaps find a place to get whole shrimp that aren't farmed. A healthy treat for son & Dad and the rest of the shrimp (heads, shell, legs) can also be made into a stock. Worth your looking into, too, (to the OP) if you're looking for cheap NUTRITIOUS options. Ooh, I'm getting excited at the thought. Maybe I'll go adventuring next week.

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