10 Ways to Eating Healthy - Even on a Restricted Budget
Eating healthy on a restricted budget is something most people think can’t be done. It is a misnomer to think that healthy foods cost a lot more. It all depends on where you shop and how many compromises you're willing to make. The bottom line is this: Once you develop healthy habits, you will be amazed at how much better you feel. You’ll lose a few pounds (or maybe more) and you won’t be craving junk foods any longer! Hooray for you!
The human body runs most efficiently when the foods you consume are in (or very close to) their natural form.
Refined foods are by far, much harder for your body to process while plant based foods are easily digested. Foods that are not nutritious also often leave you wanting more!
Then of course, there’s something else that needs to be put out there before you start on a healthy eating plan! If you are NOT committed to eating healthy, then following a few rules of thumb isn’t going to help. This is something you’ve got to want to do, not something you feel forced to do.
It is also not punishment! It is a positive change of perspective!
When you get to that point, here are some helpful tips that will help you follow through on eating healthy. You are investing in yourself when you are ready to make the switch to ditch the artificial sorry-excuse-for-food!
10 Ways to Eating Healthy on a Restricted Budget
Before you ever go into the store, know how much $$$ you have to spend. This will help you make decisions based on your own economics. You will also need a detailed list and the willpower to follow it strictly. You should also never shop when you’re famished, which helps deter you from picking up extra stuff you didn’t plan on purchasing.
Once you’re in the store, ignore sections of the store that contain boxed or processed foods. Concentrate your shopping to the outskirts of the aisles, which is where most of the fresh food is located.
Select whole foods that nourish. Foods like eggs, oatmeal, nuts, fruits, vegetables, cheese, whole grains, legumes, and seeds. It's also good to purchase organic flour and make your own cakes and even pizza dough, and go heavy on the vegetable toppings.
Eating out should be considered a luxury… and to me it truly is! Every once in a while, it’s nice to sit down to a meal and have someone else do the prep and wash the dishes! That’s a fact. However, it can also be pricey! If you’re on a budget, that’s exactly why it shouldn’t happen very often.
It’s funny too. Now that I eat at home mainly, food elsewhere just doesn’t taste as good to me. I can taste chemicals a mile away and the food just isn’t as good as what I make at home. Yuck! (And I truly used to love it!)
Pack your own lunches if you’re stuck out of the house all day. You can throw together your own pimento cheese, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad and other low cost fixings at home… which is much cheaper and more nutritious than buying fast food every day! (Get some great recipe ideas here.)
You don’t have to use traditional bread either, unless you just want to. Tortilla’s make great wraps you can make on the fly. Also include some non-gmo chips to go along with your sandwich. You can also skip the soft drink and stick to water when you’re trying to cut calories and save money!
Ditch processed foods as much as possible. Most foods that are sold in a box, jar, can, or bag aren’t very healthy. The exception to this rule is organic foods or non gmo foods! Recently I found some delicious organic spaghetti sauce in a jar that was extremely tasty and low priced. Ready-to-make meal helpers are packed in harmful chemicals your body doesn't know what to do with - so they get stored as fat. They have few nutrients and should almost rarely be part of a healthy eating plan.
Refined foods come with extra stuff you don’t want, like sugar (sold as HFCS), tons of sodium, unhealthy oils, and preservatives. Many times the fiber and water content in processed foods has been removed, which keeps you going back for second and third helpings because they don’t satiate hunger.
Plan ahead for meals during the week! I know it’s not always easy to know what you’re going to feel like the following week but if you’re on a restricted budget and you’re committed to eating healthy, you need to! Ask children or your spouse what they’d like to have to get ideas. I would also mention that it’s good to make meals you can stretch or have leftovers with. Eating healthy soups, stews, casseroles, and dishes like lasagna are great meal-extenders all week long.
Cook at home more often. That means, ruffling up your sleeves and getting busy in the kitchen! So many delicious dishes are truly easy to make, you'll be eating healthy in record time! If you have kids, get them involved. They can be a great help chopping, washing, or measuring! Those skill sets carry as well! The bonus is that you’re training them up to select healthier choices and to be self-sufficient for later on in life
*One thing to consider if your cookware. Teflon coated pots (full of PFOA'S and PTFE'S) and pans can leach into the food you're cooking. Use cast iron, green pans, thermolon, anodized, and ceramic instead. They truly aren't that expensive but if you're scrapped for cash and can't afford them, use wooden spoons to stir with. Metal spoons scrape the teflon off the pans, which can then mix into the food.
Large pieces of meat like chuck or shoulder roast are great for pot roast. Turkey and chicken (whole) work well for casseroles, stews, and soups. A pork butt roast can be used for pulled pork sandwiches or combined with veggies to make a stew. Here’s how to extend one to last all week long.
Always look for cuts of meats that are on sale and when you find a good buy, grab a few of them to freeze for later if you have that capacity. Meat is getting more costly to serve so always look for bargains.
Go heavy on the veggies! As much as you might like meat, vegetables fill you up faster and can vastly extend a meal. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, onions, greens (by the bunch) are just a few options for your family. If you can't find anything you like fresh, check the frozen food section of the store or go organic in the can.
You can fix them a multitude of different ways to help change things up as well. Learn how here.
Making the change from eating fast foods to eating healthy takes determination, flexibility, and a lot of will power. It cannot be done overnight so be patient. Remember, you are the driver and the foods you eat are what fuels your car, so to speak.
Once you’re well on your way to a healthier lifestyle, your body will reap the benefits. Mentally, you’ll be relieved knowing you are doing everything you can to fight dis-ease and malnutrition. Instant gratification is great but so is doing things the old fashioned way and receiving long term gratification from a job well done!
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
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