Healthy eating on a budget? I thought it was expensive to eat healthy. That’ what my 18 year old niece thought to when she reached out to me months ago wanting some tips on weight loss. Though she is far from being overweight (she has quite the stunning figure actually) her sedentary habits and poor food choices have her thinking more about her health. For the record (since I know she will read this) we are going to focus on becoming more active and eating the right foods. We WILL NOT focus on the scale, but rather how we feel.
Food is our fuel. If we fuel properly, we can carve out that beautiful and healthy shape we desire and feel so much better in the process.
As with most high school graduates entering the real world, my niece is broke. There is a common misconception that eating healthy is expensive. In many ways it can be, but there are certainly enough options that can actually make eating healthy a savings. That’s right…I said it.
Eating Healthy Can Save You Money!
Here are some money saving tips for my niece and I wanted to share them with you too.
- Simplify. Make your meals basic and don’t be afraid to repeat foods throughout the week. I have a feeling she was doing plenty of repeats with the processed chicken nuggets anyway. Now we just need to transition the food choices.
- Make this a gradual process. It will be overwhelming and you will feel defeated if you try to change all of your eating habits in one quick swoop. Maybe the simple act of drinking water for the first week and getting rid of all sodas and teas will be a good first step. Maybe that is too much and you just cut back to 1 soda a day and the rest water.
- Stop & Breathe! I can already see you need and attitude adjustment. If you want to change your habits, you have to change your mindset. Instead of saying “I can’t afford it” or “I could never give up soda!” Start saying “I will make a way to make this fit my budget” and “I can make baby steps to eventually hit my no soda goal.” Weird right? It was like I read your mind!
- Figure out right now WHY you are doing this. Why is it important to you to eat better? What will your future look like if you continue with your current habits? Who do you know who has poor habits? Do you want to be like them? Who do you know who has great habits?
- Shop on the outer aisles. Here is where you find your fresh fruits, veggies, meats and dairy.
- Look for sales and what is in season: If you eat according to what is currently growing in your area during the current season, you will save! A quick google search before you hit the store will help.
- Shop at a farmers market. You are sure to find deals on all kinds of fresh goods!
- Make a list: If you go to the store PREPARED you will be less likely to feel lost and you won’t have a need to aimlessly grab junk.
- Try New Things: Big kids don’t whine about the way things look or smell. They try them and then they keep trying them because this is about fueling your body not about gratification (though I promise you will start to love some of the things you hate if you work on that mindset and keep trying!)
Here is a simple grocery list
- Potatoes (you can get a 5 pound bag for a couple of bucks)
- Sweet potatoes
- Berries (these can be purchased cheap when in season)
- All fruits and veggies: Load up!
- Salad greens
- Nuts (cashews and almonds can be pricy- maybe as an indulgence from time to time)
- Ground beef (buy a couple of pounds and freeze it into smaller portions or cook it all and freeze the cooked portions in individual bags). Use it for tacos or lettuce wraps or seasoned with salads.
- Chicken (breast are great but I am totally cool with the thigh for a price saver)
- Spaghetti squash (TRY IT!)
- Beans (you can get dried beans in a 2 pound bag for $1). That will last a long time!
Those are just a few. You just have to explore and again, look for the sales!
I hear the excuses starting to flare…
But I’m A picky eater – PLEASE! You have to start taking care of you! If you don’t eat well now you will pay for it later and end up on medications. Highly processed foods are destroying our bodies and our minds. It’s time to put on your big girl panties and do things you don’t like because it is good for you and life is about so much more than instant gratification. Your body will thank you and YOU WILL start to love and appreciate the better foods. You will actually get to a point that you don’t enjoy the processed, greasy and sugary snacks. You are going to feel awesome!
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Can you give me that long?