Living Healthy on a Budget
If you’re like me, you’ve dreamed of having a personal chef in your home that plans and prepares healthy yet tasty meals at the drop of a dime. In reality, most of us shop for and cook our own meals while hoping that our food costs don’t break the bank. On top of this, we strive to eat foods which are nutritious and healthy, without sacrificing too much taste-wise. Read on for some tips on how you can achieve a nutritious diet while working within your budget.
Meal Prepping is Your Friend
It may take a bit more planning than hitting up a fast food joint but it is ever so worth it! Plan out your meal a week in advance and choose a day during the week to shop for/cook your ingredients. Purchase glassware or plasticware that is appropriate for the portion size you are trying to achieve for each meal so you can easily create portable meals for your week. Having meals ready to go helps minimize temptation to go outside and eat. It also helps ensure that you’re using your groceries to their maximum potential. I am guilty of buying foods, putting them into the deep depths of my fridge or pantry and then completely forgetting about their existence. This has resulted in wasted food and money.
Use Leftovers to Create New Meals
During our last family meal, we cooked a large ham and had leftovers for days. At a certain point, our taste buds decided we needed to be creative if we were going to continue to eat the leftover ham. What resulted was a myriad of new dishes: ham and egg omelets, ham fried rice, ham quiche, and ham bone soup. Don’t be afraid to unleash the power of eggs, greens, rice, beans, pasta, salads, soups and casseroles to use up leftover ingredients. Just be sure to not use ingredients past their “best by” date and freeze ingredients as appropriate.
Avoid Overly Processed Foods
Processed foods are often more readily available and convenient, think breakfast cereals, instant ramen, and frozen dinners, but are not healthy for your budget or for your waistline. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables (avoid canned or bagged) and whole grains which are fiber-rich and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Look for protein options that are affordable such as chicken, eggs, and beans versus buying that expensive cut of steak.
“Health is wealth”, a mantra Jessica’s mother regularly repeated throughout her childhood. Jessica values achieving balance and wholeness in both arenas of mental and physical health. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a practicing mental health therapist, Jessica promotes healthy living, self-care, mindfulness, and above all, kindness towards self.