Start with oatmeal ( I buy the five minute kind which is tastier) for breakfast sprinkled with a few chopped walnuts and raisins and perhaps a little honey.

For lunch make a big Greek salad with your favourite lettuce, a slice of low fat Feta cheese, half a sweet onion, five black olives, two or three plum tomatoes ( which are cheaper) with oil and vinegar. Or take out the Feta and make it a Niçoise with the same ingredients plus half a can of tuna fish and a red pepper.

For dinner make a small quantity of spaghetti and accompany it with lots of fresh sauce made with a few tablespoons of olive oil, chopped sweet onion, garlic, four or five plum tomatoes and many mushrooms. You can add black olives and capers if you like and a sprinkle of oregano, thyme, or basil to taste. Or just make spaghetti ( keep the quantities low for the starch)  with a can of tuna crushed with the juice of one lemon and lots of  cooked vegetables thrown in. You can add asparagus cut up into pieces or green beans or even broccoli.

Another wonderful, cheap and low calorie dinner dish for the summer which a French friend from Marseille taught me to make is ratatouille. This is best made on a day when you can be at home to stir occasionally as ideally it should cook all through the day until the vegetables have turned into a thick sort of paste. You can make a huge pot ( double all the ingredients) and eat it for several days.

Chop coarsely one large sweet onion, garlic to taste, two large green or red peppers ( the red ones or even the yellow ones give the dish a better hue) and one large egg plant, two or three Zucchinis and place all in a large pot with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Let the vegetables simmer slowly all day or at least through an afternoon. Serve this hot or cold as a side dish with roast chicken or with an omelette which you can stuff with chopped smoked salmon ( you can buy just the ends which are cheaper if your local store carries this.)

You should be able to make these meals for under fifteen dollars a day and you might also (particularly if you exercise at the same time--walk or run for 45 minutes a day) lose several pounds in a week and save several dollars.

Sheila Kohler is the author of many books including the recent Dreaming for Freud.

Recent Posts in Dreaming for Freud

How to Avoid Thinking of Oneself as a Victim?

How to avoid passivity and take an active stance in your life.

How to Cope With the Envy of Others

Should one share one's good fortune with family and friends?

Does travel truly broaden the mind?

Should we send young people abroad?

How To Hold It All Together in Life and Literature

What are the techniques that enable us to create a cohesive whole?

When Is It Wise to Confess?

Should we own up to our crimes?

What Is the Motivation for a Criminal Act?

What lead the pilot to crash a plane with 150 innocent people on board?