A while back some “celebrities” decided to demonstrate how hard it was to eat healthy while poor. One, who shall remain nameless, ridiculously went to a high-end organic store and made terrible food choices (such as a dozen eggs and a weird number of limes).
Anyways, following the food advice of spoiled actresses as opposed to credentialed health coaches is never a good idea.
Below is some actual advice you can use to make healthy food choices that will keep your food budget and your HealthStyle on track.
Write a weekly plan and shopping list (and keep a food budget)
You don’t have to eat the same things week in and week out. But taking the time to check out new recipes and sticking to your shopping list/budget will pay off big time in the saving money department.
Cook From Scratch When Possible
Can not emphasis this enough. It doesn’t have to be TV Food Network quality but learn to cook. It is an important life skill that will save you so much money and, frankly, improve your health and well being.
Cooking is fun. It can be socialible. You always know exactly what is in your food. If you’ve never cooked before there are literally hundreds of cookbooks for beginners out there. How To Cook Everything and anything from Cook’s Illustrated’s library are great places to start.
Cook and shop in Bulk
If you are making one of something, why not make two or more? Not only will you save on energy but time later on when you are too busy to cook and voila, a ready cook meal just waiting for you in your freezer.
And by the way, the freezer is your friend. Not only for storing those bulk batches of delicious, home cooked foods but also for saving those bargain items you picked up at the store.
Because yes, buying in bulk may seem expensive but when you portion out those large packages of meat and realize you don’t have to buy protien for the next month, it suddenly makes sense.
Even buying certain veggies that can be roasted and frozen are a great cost savings. And handy for throwing together quick and healthy casseroles, soups, stews, and bowls.
If it’s on sale and you use it, buy it.
Sure, it’s not on your shopping list and we told you to stick to your shopping list. But if it’s a good deal, then take it. Stock up. If it saves you money in the long run, then do it.
Always plan your meals expecting leftovers. Don’t dress your salad, let everyone put their own salad dressing on their own portions. That way if there is leftover salad, it won’t “cook” in the salad dressing and you can save it for days, using it for lunches or another dinner. Add sauce to each individual portion of pasta and store any leftovers separately so that leftover tomato sauce can be the basis of a chili while the plain pasta can be turned into a light pasta and veggie chicken salad. When you think of each meal as having the potential ingredients of another meal, you reduce your chance of wasting food and increase your savings.
Shop Seasonally Until You Can’t
Eating seasonally is wonderful. Produce is always the freshest when it is local and just harvested. If you are blessed with farmer’s markets and the prices are lower than the supermarket (sometimes they are not, be price savvy), then hit the farmer’s market.
Also, don’t be afraid to check out any ethnic markets. Many different cultures rely on fruits and vegetables in their cuisine more than Western cooking so their produce department has a high turnover resulting in fresher product.
Alas, seasons change. Do not be afraid of frozen or low sodium canned goods. Quite frankly they are probably just as good or better than fresh-but-out-of-season produce because that “fresh” produce was picked while not quite ripe, had to travel long distances and is probably quite old. Frozen and canned produce is picked riped and processed fast, losing few nutrients.
No Junk Food
There is a reason it is called “junk food”. Don’t buy it. Or if you do, buy it on sale and rarely, only as a special treat. Empty calories is really just a waste of money. As mom always said, if you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, you are not hungry enough to eat.
Embrace the Legume
Last but not least, forgo the meat. At least every now and again. Going meatless on a regular basis by incorporating lentils, peas, and beans into your weekly menu saves you tons of money, adds variety to your diet, and can expose you to interesting recipes from other cultures like India where many folks rely almost exclusively on legumes for their protein. Whole grains like Quinoa, oats, and brown rice are also delicious additions to any healthy diet.
Your food budget is up to you. But if you find yourself needing support developing a better HealthStyle, why not turn to us.
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