November 18, 2017

BUT…I’m on a budget, I can’t eat healthy!

healthy eating budget

Really?  Broke?  You can’t eat healthy, but you have enough money to get pizza or have wings and beer…hmmm, I guess your version of broke and mine are two totally different things.

I am so tired of almost every post I see written about clean eating or healthier options is followed by people making excuses about how expensive it is to eat clean or healthy. There is a way to eat clean on a budget and not feel the pinch in your wallet. Trust me, as a single mom, who hasn’t been able to work a full time job and have a steady income in the last 4 years since my accident…I have LEARNED how to still eat clean and healthy! So I decided to pass it all on to you!! And guess what…it’s FREE knowledge!

WHAT’S THE SECRET TO HEALTHY EATING ON A BUDGET?

First, learn to cook your own food. Yes, you read that correctly! Stop eating out, stop ordering to go or pizzas, stop buying snacks at convenient stores, and stop buying coffee!! All of this adds up and it adds up quickly!! Also, if your budget is so tight, you wouldn’t have the money to do any of this ANYWAYS! So really, this should go without saying, but unfortunately people hide behind the EXCUSE that it costs to much, when in reality what costs too much is giving up your fancy coffees and your over priced smoothies.  So really it is a pretty OBVIOUS that if you want to save money, learn to cook! Also you can cook in advance, so you can just grab and go and not make impulse food purchases. Remember to switch up your cooking styles so you don’t get bored. There are hundreds of different ways to cook chicken healthy!!! TRUST ME!

healthy eating budget Second, if you have a Costco, Sam’s or BJs Club around you…get a membership!!! Not only can you save by buying in bulk, but almost always their gas is slightly cheaper too.  You can also purchase your Fish Oil, Vitamins, and Protein Powder there. Now the Protein Powder isn’t the high quality, but remember you are on a budget! Also you can get great prices on chicken, ground turkey and red meats. Yes, they aren’t organic or grass-fed, but your options are limited if your bank account is. You can also buy your everyday personal and household things here too. Did you know they all take coupons too?! I use BJs here and for example, if I get a three pack of toothpaste…I can use 3 coupons on it…1 per box! Start learning how to coupon, that piece of paper is like having FREE cash in your hands! Also, when some stores have coupons like $10 off your entire purchase…this is like $10 of FREE meat or veggies!! Why would you pass this up!

Third, stop buying things in cans and boxes…if you remember this, usually NOTHING clean comes in one AND on top of it the price you pay is also for the packaging it comes in! Last time I checked, we don’t consume cardboard and aluminum as food. You can also buy some great healthy and clean options in bulk, like beans, whole grains (barley, quinoa) and even whole grain flours (if you choose to keep grains in your diet).

Fourth, you don’t have to buy all your fruits and veggies ORGANIC! There are plenty that are very low in pesticides that you can purchase NOT organic. These include: Onions, Pineapples, Avocados, Cabbage, Asparagus, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Sweet Potatoes, Grapefruit, Watermelon and Mushrooms.  There are twelve known as the “dirty dozen” which I would recommend buying organic, those are: Apples, Celery, Sweet Bell Peppers, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines (imported), Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce (all), Cucumbers, Blueberries (domestic), and Potatoes. Another way to save is to grow your own fruits, veggies and/or herbs! What better way to save money and even gas, no driving needed to walk outside and pick what you want to eat! One other way is to visit your local Farmer’s Markets…talk about FRESH!!  And remember this also, buy what is in season, that’s when it is at it’s lowest price!

healthy eating budget

Lastly, remember there are different forms of less expensive sources of protein like beans, tuna, eggs, nuts, or Greek yogurt.  If you are thinking about starting to eat clean (or even started to) and your budget is tight, take a good look at where you are spending your money. Is it going towards those fancy coffees and smoothies I mentioned prior or how about those frozen microwaveable meals (if you want to call them that). How much do you spend on beverages like juice, soda or even alcohol? It takes just a little bit of extra thought to save some money, but in the long haul you making it a priority will save you so much…like in your health! If your health isn’t important to you, IT SHOULD BE!

After all, we all deserve to be HEALTHY!!

Here’s a little guide to help you on your NEXT trip to the grocery store ~

Protein Options:

Protein powder (I use whey isolate)
Eggs (organic or cage-free)
Boneless/skinless chicken breast
Lean ground turkey
Canned Tuna (in water)

Seafood (Tilapia,Wild Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp)
Plain Greek Yogurt

Fibrous Veggie Options:
Spinach
Broccoli
Asparagus
Kale
Bell Peppers
Mushrooms
Cauliflower
Brussel Sprouts
Green beans
Artichoke
Zucchini
Cucumber

Healthy Fat Options: (Read about Healthy Fats, HERE)

Almond butter (Organic if possible, there should be oil on top, low/no sodium)
Oils (EV Olive(In the darkest jars), Safflower, Coconut, Flaxseed, Macadamia Nut)
Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios)
Avocado

Complex/Starchy Carb Options:

Old-fashioned Oatmeal/Steel Cut Oats (Gluten-free options are available)
Quinoa (Gluten-free options available)
Sweet potato
Yam
Whole Wheat Bread (Gluten-free options available)
Brown Rice

Fruit:

Apples
Pears
Blueberries
Raspberries
Strawberries
Lemons (for water & fish)

Beverages

Water*
Unsweetened Almond Milk (I like vanilla)
Green tea bags
Coffee

Condiments

Balsamic Vinegar
Salsa
Chili powder
Mrs Dash (is a staple in my kitchen)
Mustard
Cinnamon
Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
Stevia

All Fresh Herbs (Basil, Oregano, Cilantro, Rosemary, etc)

Vitamins

Fish Oil (especially if you don’t eat fish)
Multi-vitamin