It is possible to eat healthy meals on a budget, it is a false rumor that eating healthy has to be expensive. Here are a few budget friendly healthy eating strategies that will keep you healthy but not empty your wallet.
Avoid pre-packaged healthy foods and wash and chop your own foods – Our population values a highly convenient lifestyle and this has transitioned into our current food supply. But the more convenient a healthy food is, the higher the cost, unless you’re buying low-quality foods. Instead of purchasing pre-washed and chopped produce cut and wash them yourself at home. Challenge yourself to find foods that are in their whole natural state as much as possible, plain oats are cheaper and healthier than the flavored oatmeal packets. Instead of individual yogurt cartons, purchase a pint or more at a time. The more individualized and the smaller the package, the more cost will be added.
Look for items that are in season– Finding produce like vegetables and fruits that are in season will always be less expensive than those out of season. Another bonus of foods that are in season is they are at their peak nutritional value.
Grow your own herbs– Food has to taste good in order to enjoy it, but flavor in unhealthy cooking comes from excessive fats, salts and sugars, healthy cooking flavor comes from herbs and spices. Buying fresh herbs all of the time can be expensive and wasteful if the entire portion is not used. Growing your own herb garden is a great way to always have flavor on hand for a healthy dish and just picking off what you need will save money and reduce waste.
Stick to the nutrition meal basics. Center meals on vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. Avoid extras like rolls, crackers, or other processed items. Homemade oven baked chicken strips, carrots and guacamole is a healthy friendly base to build a meal and does not contain any processed packaged items.
If you fail to plan you will pay for it. It’s extremely important to plan a grocery and food budget. Planning causes us to pack lunches more and eat out less which is healthier anyway. Plan your healthy meals for the week so you are able to develop a list and you will avoid unnecessary trips to the store that only end up costing you more money. This will help you focus at the grocery store and only buy what you are planning on using, avoiding processed junk foods.
Budget Friendly Recipes
These meatballs are great for both kids and adults. Ground meats like turkey, chicken or beef are more economical then traditional cuts of those meats. These meatballs are a tasty way to incorporate protein into any meal or snack.
Prep time: 10 min.
Cook time – 10 min. (or until meat is done)
Number of servings – 4 people ¼ lb. of meat each
Serving size – 2-3 meat balls (depending on how big you make the balls)
Difficulty – easy
1 lbs. ground beef, chicken or turkey
Pinch of sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp. fresh ginger (if you only have dry ginger that can work too)
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp. 100% maple syrup or local honey
2 Tbs. canola, grape seed or safflower oil
Your favorite Asian dipping sauce (peanut, hoisin, etc.)
Combine all ingredients and roll into balls, bake, grill or pan fry till they are cooked all of the way through. Serve alongside sautéed veggies and your favorite Asian dipping sauce.
Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories: 276, Carbohydrates: 3g, Fat: 15g, Protein: 30g, Sodium: 74mg, fiber: 0g
Estimated Cost/serving: $1.82
BANANA PROTEIN SHAKE
Protein shakes are an economical way to incorporate protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables into any meal replacement or snack. Buy protein in bulk and use produce that is in season. Not to mention shakes are a great “on the go “cool meal for a busy summer lunch!
Total servings- 1
5 ice cubes
~1 c almond or coconut milk or water
1 T natural peanut/almond or cashew butter
1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder
1 handful of raw spinach
Blend the below ingredients in blender or smoothie maker.
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 297, Carbohydrates: 24g, Fat: 11g, Protein: 29g, Sodium: 290mg, and Fiber: 6g
Estimated Cost of shake: $1.50
Dr. Kantor’s greatly anticipated new children’s book, The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice, is now available. Be sure to order this highly reviewed book, filled with healthy living tips for the whole family. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.