How to Save Money on Your Groceries and Still Eat Healthy: Plus Black Bean Quesadilla Recipe

March 28, 2019

healthy recipe for black bean quesadillas from Providence Health

Click here for a printable version. 

It seems like I spend more on my groceries than I used to when the boys were at home.  According to the January 2019 U. S. Department of Agriculture cost of food report, an average moderate diet costs almost $600.00 per month (representing the food costs for 2 fifty-something-year-olds).

How do we make a dent in this?

Substitute plant-based protein choices for the more expensive animal protein.  
Choose beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas for often as the main course. You can make the canned version work if you rinse under cold tap water to decrease the sodium content used in processing. 

Cooking from scratch makes a big difference in your grocery bill.  
Think old-fashioned oatmeal compared to instant oatmeal.  Sidebar here is that cooking from scratch decreases the processed foods that are not so good for us.

Choose local and seasonal foods.
You can especially save when purchasing from a local Farmer’s Market or produce stand.  

Go in with a shopping list….stick to it!  
You might even make the list based on what is in the weekly sale flyer…… long as it is healthy!

Grow your own when possible.  
Start a garden and grow your favorite veggies and herbs.  Using fresh herbs can really impact the flavor of those healthy recipes and make a big difference in cost savings at the grocery store.

Use technology. 
Check out Facebook and Twitter to find coupons for your favorite items.

Buy smaller portions, especially the protein. 
 Purchase one serving for each, no second servings on protein, unless it is plant-based.

Buy generic or store brand. 
Compare labels and save when products have little or no difference beyond brand name and packaging.

Eat before shopping.
Avoiding impulse buys means saving the cost of the impulses, as well as additional calories, fat, salt and sugar).

Join the store’s loyalty program. 
Try to combine sales and coupons for additional savings.

Try this recipe for a great taste of savings on your wallet!  Great addition to your recipe repertoire, especially on Meatless Mondays!

Black Bean Quesadilla Recipe

  • ¾ cup chunky salsa or Pico De Gallo
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 4 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • ½ tsp olive oil

Using a small-hole strainer, drain liquid from salsa, discard liquid.  Transfer leftover tomato mixture to a medium bowl. Mix in black beans, cheese, and cilantro until combined.  Divide black bean mixture evenly over half of each tortilla.  Fold tortillas in halt.  Heat large griddle over medium high heat.  Brush lightly with oil.  Place filled tortillas on griddle and cook, carefully flipping once, until tortillas are golden brown and crisp.  About 5 minutes.  Cut quesadillas into wedges.

Nutrition Information: 160 cals, 5 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 7 g protein 

Recipe source: The Best of La Cocina Goya: Healthy, Tasty, Affordable Latin Cooking


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.