Eating healthily and finding healthy alternatives are not luxuries saved for those who have extra cash to spend. Everyone can make subtle adjustments to everyday recipes to eat a little better today – without breaking the bank.

In fact, that’s precisely Leanne Brown’s mission. Ms. Brown is a food-studies scholar, and she wants to help everyone dine well on a conservative budget. To do this, she created a cookbook called Good and Cheap with recipes spanning every meal of the day – snacks included. Her artistry is simple, using ingredients commonly found in your pantry or local grocer; it is elegant enough to pique the interest of a new recipe (e.g., Spicy Panzanella); and it has a touch of home-cooked style (e.g., My Dad’s Baked Beans) to warm your heart. Many of her recipes are entirely kid-friendly, too (e.g., Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars; Yogurt Smash).

Here are four tips for making modest changes to your diet that Ms. Brown says you can do with a budget of $4 a day. (These tips are also found in the online version of her cookbook.)

  1. Buy foods that can be used in multiple meals. Keep ingredients like flour, yogurt, garlic and lemons (or lemon juice) in stock to add flavor to a variety of meals.
  1. Think seasonally. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are generally cheaper (and more full of flavor and nutrients) than out-of-season produce.
  1. Don’t buy drinks. Brown reminds us that we really just need water, or sometimes milk. Packaged drinks can be full of sugar and pricy.
  1. Always buy eggs. Any time you’re scrambling for an easy meal at the end of the day, eggs can be an inexpensive and nutritious solution.

To learn more about her cookbook or the Good and Cheap project, visit A printable, condensed version of her cookbook is available to download for free.


“How to Eat Three Good Meals for Just $4 a Day,” Joanna Prisco,, Aug. 17, 2015.

“Cheap and Healthy Recipes,” BBC Good Food,, accessed on Sept. 3, 2015.

To download the PDF version of her cookbook for free: