Good and Cheap: Eat well on $4/day

There’s this myth out there that food that tastes great or that’s healthy has to be expensive.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But do you think you could eat well on $4 per day?  To prove it can be done, Leanne Brown undertook the task of bringing together a collection of gourmet-ish recipes for meals that can be had at the low-low, budget price of just $4 per day.  Remember when I said I was going to be providing you with some recommendations for how to start cooking from scratch?  The PDF of the book is available for free here, but I’m GIVING AWAY a hard copy to one of you!  Keep reading to discover how to participate in the cookbook giveaway.  Called Good and Cheap, this book is fantastic.  Seriously, I LOVE her peanut sauce recipe and have used it for stir fry, wraps, and to Good and Cheaptop my burger.  Her creative use of toast, oatmeal and popcorn are great ideas for keeping stapes interesting and nutritious.  She does an excellent job of focusing on vegetable rich meals and simple snacks with lots of recommendations for how you can customize the recipes for whatever you have on hand.

Why $4/day?  Because that’s the average amount per person received by recipients of SNAP (Special Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps).  I don’t know about you, but $4 wouldn’t go too far in our house…except that we cook so many things from scratch!  Leanne does a great job of making cooking approachable and easy for anyone who may have limited skills…and inexpensive for anyone who may have limited funds (isn’t that everyone?!).  In addition, for every book purchased, a book is donated to someone who needs it but can’t afford it.  I had a great chat with Leanne recently.  Here’s an excerpt from our call:

Sherry (SCC): What kind of feedback have your received from the book’s readers – both those on a budget and not?

LEANNE BROWN - photocredit Jordan Matter

Author Leanne Brown created an excellent resource for those on a limited food budget – including me!

Leanne (LB): We sent tons of cookbooks across the country to more than 600 nonprofits last summer (via a kickstarter campaign). In many cases, kids learned the recipes and then went home and made for their family and then sent in pics.  [Hooray for kids in the kitchen!]

My favorite story is about Brenda who got the free PDF.  She’s a grandmother in TX raising two grandkids on limited income and usually needed help from food pantry each month. She said the book helped her make most of what she had to provide nutritious foods for her family. Eventually, she was able to live within their budget, lose almost 30 lbs, drop heart medication and one other medication. Mind you, Brenda, not Good and Cheap did this. Yet, it shows you don’t need fancy diet or a lot of money to be able to change your health and eat well. It shows the natural power of food to change health with small choices.

SCC: I love your quote from the book, “Kitchen skills, not budget, is the key to great food.”  What does that mean to you?

LB: As a kid, felt intimidated to even be able to shop in the beginning, even though I knew how to cook. Scratch cooking is simple, but takes time to begin a general rhythm to it. People may not want to admit they don’t have skills, but they really shouldn’t feel that way. It makes me wonder why don’t we teach this in school? I took home economics, but it didn’t really teach me how to make real meals.  Male and female should learn [this important skill].

SCC: I love the “buy one give one” concept of your book.  Can you tell me more about that?

LB: We expect to be able to distribute 50k books from this printing (visit to order). Donations will be made through [a third party distributor] which will work with non-profits to apply to get free copies.  The books are also available at cost ($5/each when you buy in boxes of 36). People can purchase books and donate, and even make tax deductible in-kind gifts.  The most important thing is if people who can afford it buy one, so that we can help get more into the hands of others [who can’t afford to purchase them].


Okay, so it’s just a little “bribe” to get us connected!

To register to win your copy (only 1 winner) of the book, please do at least TWO of the following (do all of them and get 4 chances to win!):

  • Comment below to tell me how you eat well on a budget AND
  • “Like” my Facebook page here OR
  • Follow me on Twitter here OR
  • on Instagram here.

I’ll announce the winner here a week from today (July 30).  And if you would like to go ahead and buy a book for yourself, a friend, your neighborhood (and GIVE books away at the same time), please visit Leanne’s website.

P.S. The publishers gave me a copy of the book to keep and one to give away!  Other than that, I was not compensated in any way and really, truly, honestly think it’s a keeper.


  1. Natalie C

    I eat well on a budget by buying in season produce when possible and shopping sales ads.

    • Smart shopping, Natalie! Leanne talks about that a little in the book too. I love spring, summer and fall because of the amazing abundance of produce (especially right now). I need to get better about looking at the sales. Great tips.

  2. Marilyn Wright Yon, MS, RD, LD

    I study the Publix ad each Thursday for Friday’s shopping trip and menu planning and I try to avoid going back to the store multiple times (though seem to always have to fetch bananas mid week since they ripen so fast). I could probably save more by shopping at multiple stores but I do not have time to go to so many places (maybe quarterly trips to Whole Foods for certain staples that are good buys there). It is humbling to plan meals for a family now (with toddler interfering often and laundry piling near) even with all the training you and I have had as registered dietitians. We have a small garden and I try to go to the farmers market most weekends though we do not live close to one with a variety of produce (when did farmers markets become more artisan markets not selling much produce??).

    • Oh, Marilyn, you’re so right about the farmer’s market! I love to go, but I really want more produce and less charcuterie. The prices also reflect that artisan attitude in some booths too. Good for you for studying the ads. That’s two for that method and I know it would do me good to do so as well. I do plan meals, but usually just around what I have on hand vs. what I need to buy. I look at pantry, fridge, freezer, then consider what I could add, what looks good when I get to the market, and then do a bit of improv during the week! Keep at it, fellow toddler mom. It’ll pay off in bid dividends down the road.

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