Whether you’re simply trying to eat healthy or dieting, you don’t have to destroy your budget to do it. In fact, it’s cheaper than eating at the cheapest fast food restaurant, especially if you have a family. Plus making your own is far cheaper. You can make a healthy meal for four for as little as $10, which is far less for a whole meal at a fast food restaurant, which isn’t exactly diet friendly. With careful budgeting and good meal planning, you can feed your family for less and eat healthier in the process.
If fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, opt for frozen.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh if they don’t have additives and sauces. They’re allowed to ripen on the vine and immediately cleaned and frozen with minimal processing. Even canned foods without additives are healthy. You can make some adjustments, like if the green beans have salt added, rinse them a few times in water and you’ll eliminate much of the salt. They may have a few less nutrients, but they’re still a healthy option and both save money.
Plan your meals ahead and cook them all at once.
Meal planning is both a great weight loss aid and budget aid. Plan your meals around the sales that week and make sure you use leftovers for other meals. If you cook a whole chicken, it can be used for several meals, first as roasted chicken, then as chicken salad, part of a Buddha bowl and finally, as the base for a soup. The same is true for fresh veggies. Clean them, cut them and pack them in the refrigerator for snacks, salads and soups. Fruit that’s already cut can be snacks, added to salads and used as dessert for several meals. You can combine it with yogurt, a half a banana and nuts as a sweet treat that’s diet friendly.
Use protein that’s less expensive.
There’s nothing wrong with having a meatless Monday to save money. Beans are a nutritious source of protein and are extremely inexpensive. Eggs are another quality inexpensive protein product and egg salad made with yogurt dressing is a calorie saver. Canned tuna can be at the head of your menu for an evening to save both calories and money, just as hard cheese, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese and yogurt. With the money you save, you can buy a delicious steak to celebrate all the weight you lost.
- During the months when produce is especially inexpensive, buy and freeze extra for later. You can also buy directly from a farmer at farm stands or a farmer’s market. You-pick or growing your own garden is also a rewarding way to save money.
- You don’t have to buy all organic fruits and vegetables. The clean 15 list from the EWG is a list of fruits and vegetables that aren’t contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. Choose organic when choosing fruits and vegetables from their dirty dozen list.
- Plan to use leftovers. When you meal plan and cook all at once, you can pack food in individual serving sizes. Instead of putting extra on the table, plan to use those leftovers for lunches and other meals.
- You don’t have to be on a diet to appreciate a great salad. Grilled veggies and leftover meat that’s chopped can be the best topper. You can even marinate the meat and reduce the dressing or eliminate it entirely.
For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim