You're chatting with your best friend on the phone and suddenly you blurt out: "Would you like to come spend the holidays with us?" She very happily answers back: "Sure, we would love to."

You hang up the phone and say to yourself: "Did I really do that, did I really just invite an extra six people for the holidays?"

Then a flood of thoughts invades your mind: What do I cook? How much will all this cost me? How will I find the time to do all of this?

Buying non-processed foods reduces costs For most people, eating healthy and keeping costs down are two conflicting terms. After all, a bag of cookies costs $2.50 while the new organic cereal costs $3.50.

However, healthy eating involves, for one thing, eating foods which are processed as little as possible. For example, snacking on a handful of nuts is much better than having two chocolate chip cookies, and having a piece of roasted chicken is far better than having some cold cut turkey. Foods that are minimally processed include fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, milk, some cheeses and yoghurts, nuts, legumes, grains (barley, rice, quinoa, etc.) and seeds. Buying non-processed foods also reduces costs because, after all, having to process foods and package them is a costly procedure.

Legumes (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils) and grains are two inexpensive, nutrient-packed types of food that the average American does not eat enough of: According to the USDA, only 7% of Americans eat the recommended three daily servings of whole grains a day.

Aside from stocking up on legumes and grains, another trick to reduce your grocery bill is to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. Vegetables which are seasonal during the High Holidays, roughly September and October, include broccoli, fennel, mushrooms, sweet peppers, cabbage, eggplant, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach and lettuce. Seasonal fruits for September and October include apples, pomegranates, mandarins, pears and grapes. If you really want to save money on your grocery bill, instead of doing your grocery shopping according to your recipes, try finding recipes that use these wonderful fruits and vegetables.

Here are a few other tricks to entertaining while keeping costs low:

First of all, know how much you need to prepare. How much a person needs to eat in order to feel satiated depends on a few factors. Out of the three energy-yielding nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) protein is the most satiating. You may have noticed how you feel fuller after eating a meat-containing meal rather than a bowl of pasta. Other foods that lead to satiation without eating large quantities include foods high in fiber content, and complex carbohydrates, as well as those high in water content. These foods cause the stomach to send hormones to the brain that indicate satiation and cause a person to stop eating. Such foods include fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. So how do you implement this in your Rosh Hashanah dinner???

Soups are a great way to start Soups are a great way to start. They contain a large amount of liquid and can be made out of almost anything. Why not then incorporate some nutritious and filling legumes or some seasonal vegetables? How about a good old bean and barley soup? Other soup ideas include: red lentils and sweet potato, cabbage soup, broccoli soup, pumpkin and sweet potato or spinach and chickpeas.

Soup is also a great way to start your meal since often with the holiday preparations we forget to eat during the day, and when we sit down to eat we're starving. If the main course were served right away most people would overeat. However, by first serving a hearty soup you'll have taken the edge off of the hunger of you and your guests. Also, for some unknown reason, hot foods tend to more filling than cold foods—another great reason to serve soup.

As a second course, why not serve a wholesome salad? We often toss a salad and place it on the table for guests to serve themselves. If, however, you serve it as a course (that is, you plate the salad for every guest and serve), the salad is no longer "optional". Not only that, it's healthy, filling and a very cheap food course. Make your salad festive by choosing romaine lettuce over iceberg lettuce. It is more nutritious and more appealing to the eye due to its color. Or, add some baby spinach leaves to your iceberg lettuce. Then choose a dressing. Most people like a dressing that stimulates a few of our senses of taste, such as an Asian dressing that has a sweet and sour component to it. Finally, jazz it up by adding interesting toppings like slivered almonds and cranberries, cherry tomatoes and avocadoes, mangoes and strawberries, pecans and mandarins… the list is endless, but keep the toppings healthy and colorful. Keep in mind that in a salad a little goes a long way so even if you buy an expensive topping such as pecans or dried cranberries, a small package will be more than enough even for a large group or people.

Jazz up a salad with interesting toppings If you wish to have an array of salads on your table here are a few ideas: go for a bean or lentil salad, egg salad (high in protein for a satiating effect), fennel salad (try it drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, yum!), grilled eggplant salad or marinated mushrooms. These are all salads made from seasonal vegetables.

Because you've served a soup and salad before, your main course can include a 3-4-ounce piece of meat rather than a 5-6 once piece. This further reduces the cost of the meal. Usually, chicken is less expensive than beef. However, if you would like to serve beef without going over your budget, you can buy a cheaper cut of meat such as a flank steak but cook it for a longer period of time in liquid to keep it moist while tenderizing it. Meat tenderizers are also available on the market and help tenderize cheaper cuts of meat. You can also try looking out for sales and freezing the meat for the holidays.

To cook your meat, try healthy cooking methods such as baking or roasting. These methods of cooking are not only healthier but save time compared to frying, which requires constant attention. Easy ways of adding flavor to your meat without using too much fat include using fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme or sage; cooking with garlic or onions; or using orange juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar or wine for extra flavor and tenderizing effect.

Along with your meat you should include a source of complex carbohydrates to balance out the meal. You can try old favorites such as mashed potatoes or potato kugel. Try making them more festive by adding sweet potatoes, turnips or cauliflower for a twist. This also increases their nutritional value. For an alternative, try exploring with new types of grains. Instead of rice, try a side dish of quinoa. Quinoa is extremely nutritious—high in fiber, protein and iron. It is also very easy to cook—it cooks just like rice and kids tend to love it.

Now that you are all full and slouched over the dinner table, you can bring out the dessert. Try serving something light to balance out the nutrient-rich meal. A platter of fresh fruits is always appreciated. Try cutting out large fruits with a cookie cutter for an extra festive look. If you choose to bake, try serving baked apples or an apple crisp (not an apple pie), which is not only healthier than many other alternatives but also symbolic for Rosh Hashanah. Another idea for serving baked goods is to serve them in muffin cups. This way you're serving a smaller piece of cake which would be appreciated at the end for a very large meal.

Let's not forget a group of special guests: Kids. I'm often puzzled when I see on a restaurant's Kids' Menu: chicken fingers and fries, hot dog and fries…Why is everything so unhealthy? A no-fail kid's favorite is BBQ chicken. Make a chicken rub by mixing some ketchup, mustard, paprika and honey. Rub this sauce all over some chicken legs and place on a baking sheet. Set your oven to broil and broil the chicken for 20-30 minutes on the lowest oven rack with the oven door slightly ajar. Serve the BBQ chicken with the side dish you've made for the guests (kugel, quinoa or rice) along with some raw veggies, such as sliced red peppers, tomatoes or salad. Easy, healthy and no fuss.

So enjoy your guests this holiday season by sticking to your budget and offering a wholesome meal!