"Americans may reduce the amount they spend on food in response to a sour economy but some experts fear they may pick up weight in the process."
This news report lays out the possibility (probability) that the "unfolding recession could inflate U.S. waistlines further as more and more people fall onto hard times and seek cheaper food."
Inexpensive, comfort food does not have to be bad for you! There are few things more warming and comforting than beans (seriously). A bag of dried beans (great northern! black beans! pintos!) usually costs under $1 and makes a massive pot! Put the beans on to soak before you leave for work or soak overnight. About an hour before dinner, drizzle a little veg or olive oil in a pot, toss a little chopped onion (or not) and cook until softened and transparent. Rinse off your soaked beans, pour into the pot, cover with water and sprinkle in some of your favorite dried herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, whatever!), salt and pepper to taste. Usually takes less than an hour to cook. While they're cooking, saute some skinned chicken thighs in a wee bit of oil (to save even more money on this inexpensive part of the chicken, buy the thighs with skin and do your own skinning), salt and pepper to taste (a little garlic powder and cayenne if you have it). Serve the chicken over the beans. Cheap, healthy, and comforting!
Beans have long been a source of protein and are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I am high on beans! The Idaho Bean Commission has a detailed rundown of all the goodness contained in beans. Read it here and here's to beans!