Healthy Cooking on a Budget
By Karen Greenberg of Karen’s Healthy Lifestyle
We often hear that eating healthy is expensive and inconvenient. While it is true that fresh ingredients can cost more, healthy cooking doesn’t have to take any more time or effort than eating processed foods. With just a little planning, and a different method of shopping, dinner can be completely transformed.
When my family started eating healthy last year, we had to learn how to eliminate processed foods from our diets. We slowly stopped purchasing almost everything that came in a box or a can and replaced those items with fresh ingredients. This way of eating helps cut down on sodium and chemicals not normally found in foods. Many believe that eating more naturally will help lead to weight loss as well as keeping the body free of artificial ingredients.
Here are a few tips on how to eat healthy while sticking to your food budget:
Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in-season. Ask the produce manager if you are unsure. Also, most grocery stores will give samples of their product if you are unsure if you like a fruit or veggie. Just be sure to ask first! Many times they will have great ideas for how to prepare or eat a particular food. Don’t be shy to admit that you’ve never tried something.
Use frozen fruits and vegetables for smoothies, soups, and stews. These are generally less expensive and are as nutritious, if not more-so, than the fresh produce.
Buy lean meats when they are on sale. If you want to make lunch meat from fresh meats, ask the butcher to slice it. They will usually do this for free.
Look for a bakery outlet in your area. Some name-brand breads can be purchased at a fraction of the cost in an outlet or the “day-old” section of the grocery store. Remember to stick with whole wheat products when you can.
Stick with staple foods and find your creativity
A couple of recipe ideas:
Eggs, eggs, and more eggs. One of the most perfect protein sources, eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways. Try eggs with whole wheat pancakes for dinner one night. It’s a quick, easy, and inexpensive meal. Scrambled eggs are a perfect way to sneak in more veggies. Add onions, mushrooms, and green peppers for a colorful and delicious lunch.
Frozen fruit (thawed) with a bit of whipped cream on top makes a wonderful dessert
An apple with peanut butter on top can jump start your morning. A perfect combination of protein and carbs, this meal is said to wake you up better than a cup of coffee
Dissect your favorite fast-food meals and substitute healthy ingredients to prepare an at-home alternative.
Preparing healthy snacks and meals sounds a lot more difficult than it really is. Once you get started eating fresh foods, in exchange for the processed foods, you will find that it can be fun and interesting. Don’t be intimidated…. just go for it! Start with small changes to your diet so you are more likely to stick with it.
What is one small change you can make this week?
Karen can be found writing on her blog over at www.KarensHealthyLifestyle.blogspot.com
Be sure to check out my article on Karen’s blog about my vision of healthy living!