Health Tips, Thoughts and Inspirations
The content of this blog will vary, dependent on the topic I feel led to share with you. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to those who choose to read it.
Is it possible to eat healthy within my budget? The answer, thankfully, is YES! It can be done! It takes planning, but it is possible. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Eat food in season and check our your local farmer's market. Foods that are in season are less expensive since they are more easily accessible and also more healthful for your body. When possible, shop at your local farmer's market. It will cost less than the same item in the grocery store. Why? The produce you find at your farmer's market hasn't traveled hundreds (or more) miles. The costs and environmental issues connected with food that has been shipped a great distance are eliminated. It supports your local growers, rather than the "middle men," keeping the money in your area. And of course, it has been allowed to ripen naturally, which also increases its nutritional value. If you have children, take them with you to help pick out their favorite vegetable. When it's something they have chosen, they are more likely to eat it. If you visit the market towards the end of the day, you may be able to get whatever is left for a lower price because the farmers do not want to pack it up and bring it home. But remember to be fair! This is their living!
2. Shop the sales and buy extra. For food that has a longer shelf life, watch for sales and buy extra when it is on sale. This will work well for frozen vegetables or fresh foods that you can freeze yourself. If you don't like the prep work, watch for frozen vegetables that are on special.
3. Plan your menu around the weekly specials. Before planning your menu for the week, check the current items on sale. Are they things your family will eat or be willing to try? It's can be fun to try new things and it will also help you to be creative! Planning your menu may seem daunting, but it will save you money and the nightly stress of "what's for dinner." Overwhelmed by the idea? Check out the Plan To Eat app at www.plantoeat.com. You can download your own recipes, plan them out, and it will organize your grocery list for you. I love this tool!
4. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Again with the planning....I don't know how many times I have gone into the grocery store without a list and ended up coming out of there with a big bill and nothing to make for supper. It's frustrating, isn't it!? I have been amazed at how much less waste there is when I do the planning beforehand. Throwing food away is throwing money away.
5. Try less expensive cuts of meat or compare the cost of getting directly from a local farmer. Meat can be expensive. The less expensive cuts can still be prepared in a way that makes them tender (and delicious!) using the slow cooker. Skin-on chicken thighs will cost less per pound than skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Not only is it better for you to get it with the skin and bones still intact, it also has more flavor! Don't be afraid of healthy , natural fat. If you can find someone local to buy your meat from, you can ask them if it has had any hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.
6. Modify leftovers. Not a fan of leftovers? Alter them a bit and it's something completely new! For instance, you can remake leftover chicken into salads, soups, or wraps by incorporating more vegetables, greens, a side of rice, stretching that chicken into lasting a few meals.
7. Meatless Mondays (or any day that works). Change things up! There are plenty of meatless recipes that could fit into your budget! Search the internet for something that looks appealing and easy. Beans and whole grains, like quinoa, freekeh and brown rice are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves. Eggs are also a great source of protein and can be eaten at times other then breakfast.
8. Grow your own food. This may not always be a possibility depending on where you live, but it is inexpensive and rewarding to grown your own food when you can. Greens are easy to grow! Check this website for more easy to grow veggies. http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/easy-edible-plants/easy-edible-plants_7. Square foot gardening has also become a popular concept, making it possible for more people to grow their own produce in a small area.
9. Eat at home. Making homemade meals rather than eating out or ordering in will not only save money, but you will be eating healthier since you control what is put into the food. Oftentimes, when we eat out there are also beverages ordered along with it that add to the cost quickly.
10. Focus on nutritional value per dollar. When you factor in the vitamin/mineral content of a fresh avocado, apples, and sweet potatoes versus a bag of chips, 12-pack of pop, ramen noodles, or whatever packaged food it is, what are you really getting for your dollar? However, there are some fruits and veggies that can be more cost effective than others. Some of your best "deals" in the produce section can be kale, broccoli, leafy greens, spinach, carrots, watermelon, plums, bananas, and pears.
What are your tips for eating healthier on a budget? Please share in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!