Eating Healthy on a Budget: How to Stretch a Whole Chicken

I recently made the mistake wise decision of downloading the Mint app on my phone. It’s like a responsible/annoying friend that tells you where you’re spending your money and alerts you when you’re going over budget…


Last month, I spent more money on food than I did on rent.  Granted, I live in a very reasonably priced apartment, but still… this was a shocking amount. Like, I could have made an international flight with my food budget.

I wasn’t even wining and dining myself at nice restaurants — the majority of this money went to the good people of Publix and Whole Foods. Since I’m primarily eating meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and other whole foods, my grocery bills have been astronomical lately.

It’s no secret that it’s really hard to eat on the cheap and eat healthy. But, it can be done. This month, I’m challenging myself to prepare whole, healthy meals that won’t make Mint yell at me. Starting with one whole chicken…


I bought a chicken on sale for $1.29/pound (my chicken was less than $7 total) and decided to see how many meals I could get out of it. Instead of buying 4 kinds of meat to get me through the week, this is much more economical. I won’t be eating as much meat per serving for each meal, but instead will bulk up my meals with more veggies.

Here are some ideas for using every bit of a whole chicken:

  • Roast the chicken and eat some roasted chicken as a meal
  • Remove remaining meat from bones and set aside for other meals
  • Use the chicken bones and vegetable scraps to make stock
  • Make soup or stew with leftover chicken and homemade stock
  • Use the remaining leftover chicken in: casseroles, chicken salad, curry, tacos/burritos/fajitas, breakfast hash, chicken pot pie

Stay tuned to see how I use my whole chicken this week and how many meals I can get out of it…

How do you cut down grocery costs while still eating healthy? I clearly need some tips, leave me a comment below!

Photo credit: Erin’s Sweet Life


  1. says

    God…Mint. That app was always mad at me. And I got entirely too many emails telling me my balance was low. To me, under $100 is NOT low, Mint. Sheesh. Anywhozit, I would die for that chicken. I would also die if I had over $600 to spend on food. If I had my way, I’d spend all the monies on food.

    • Kerry says

      Hahah, me too. It’s pretty much where all my money goes already, but stupid things like electricity and rent keep taking away from my food money.

  2. says

    Hahaha, that is so funny. I quit using Mint because I couldn’t deal with the judgement. I put a budget on paper so the only person that could yell at me is myself. Despite the high bill, isn’t it funny that most developed countries outside of the US dedicate more of their income to food than the typical American does… the articles are pretty interesting. I wonder if it is just the subsidized market, or if there are more deep-seated reasons. Excuse me, that was my environmental thought class talking. Anyways, feed me the chicken curry. That’s all.

  3. says

    I am shopping for a family of 5 and actually spend less now than I did when it was just my husband and I. I plan my meals so I don’t buy anything that I’m going to throw out. I buy in bulk and separate it into meals. When chicken is on sale, I buy chicken. When beef is on sale, I buy beef. Then I take whatever is on sale and make freezer meals. That way we don’t have to eat chicken 7 days in a row. We also do vegetarian 1-2 days a week (meat is expensive). Nothing pre-packaged, local farmer markets, and I never shop hungry.

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