Healthy Eating on a Budget: Is It Possible?
- 2 Minutes Read
Even though the students concluded that healthy eating on a budget is possible, a lifestyle change and planning are required. Enjoy these joint tips on how to plan and shop smart within each of the five food groups!
A few weeks ago, I posted the discussion question, "Healthy Eating on a Budget: Is it possible?" to my on-line weight loss class students at a local community college. Who better to ask than college students living paycheck to paycheck?
Even though the students concluded that healthy eating on a budget is possible, a lifestyle change and planning are required.
The activities that you plan each week dictate the types of meals you will be cooking.
Decide what time you want to eat and work backwards. For example, if I want to eat at 6:30, but I am the 5:45 carpool mom for volleyball on Mondays, I prepare an oven meal. Lasagna, with grated carrots mixed into the hamburger tomato sauce, is a family favorite! On Tuesdays, I am the 4:00 carpool mom for dance; I can plan a meal that requires some prep time before eating, such as stir-fry.
On days, when we eat at different times, a big pot of soup served with multi-grain bread with 3 grams of fiber or more per serving is a healthy filling meal.
Remember that healthy foods are available in a variety of ways; fresh, frozen, canned, and dried. Shop the sales and use coupons!
Since there are four people in my family, I buy 4 of every fruit and vegetable on sale that week. Since there are different sales each week, I buy a variety. Moderation and variety are keys to healthy eating.
When hamburger or chicken is less than $2.00 per pound, I buy at least 10 pounds and cook it in the oven in my roaster pan with the lid on, for at least 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until there is no pink and the meat is done. Then, I measure two cups of cooked meat, put it in freezer bags and store in the freezer. Later for a quick meal, such as tacos, chili, burritos, or chicken quesadillas, I just thaw the two cups of cooked meat in the microwave and have a meal ready in less than 15 minutes.
Buy bulk multi-grain rice, quinoa, oatmeal, wheat berries, brown rice and whole-grain cereals, which contain 3 or more grams of fiber per serving.
One weight loss student who was focusing on portion control noted, "A box of cereal used to last in my home 3 days tops, but now that I am consuming 3/4 of a cup, not the 1 1/2 cups my bowls hold, I have noticed I do not need to buy cereal as often."
Buy large containers of low fat yogurt, 0% fat Greek yogurt or low fat and dip out individual portions!
As my students and I can assure you, the more you plan, the easier it will be to make a healthy meal and stick to your food budget. Cook once, then eat two or three times, by freezing planned-overs to prevent impulse fast food meals!Meal Planning & Diets->Healthy Eating Meal Planning & Diets->"Plan, Shop, Prep, and Cook"