Healthy Living : Save Money
Most of my clients think that healthy eating automatically means spending more money and time on your meals every day but in reality, it is quite the opposite.
Usually, the time-consuming element of clean eating is not the diet itself but the change that is associated with it. We all are just so used to eating prepackaged meals that we forget the ease and true joy of eating fresh ingredients.
I will admit that it is true that buying a more health driven grocery list might eat away at your budget but all you need are simple tips and tricks to keep your expenses controlled while still fulfilling both your stomach and your heart!
Making healthy eating easy means knowing exactly what you need and how much of it.I start my meal prep by picking my protein first and curating my weekly meal plan around that. My favorites are chicken and salmon.
Once, I have my protein, I know exactly what “extras” I need to buy to pair with it. For example, my daily requirement needs me to eat 8 ounces of chicken, I’ll add half a cup rice, for carbs, half a cup Greek yogurt, and my favorite veggies. All I do now is times this by seven and I now have exactly what I need for seven meals for seven days. By precisely buying my ingredients, I am not only saving on cost but also on time.
This might not work for you since I don’t get bored easily with the same meal but If you like a little more variety, follow the same method of picking your ingredients but change up the flavors. Let’s say you get a box of salmon, why not smoke 3 and cure the other in some salt? Experiment with different techniques, to cook your protein and this will ensure that you get the diversity you crave without the hefty price tag. And of course, all the while sticking to food that is good for you.
Cut your grocery budget in half by shopping for in-season items. Naturally, vegetables and fruit are going to be marked up in the dead of winter- so for those days, go frozen. I know, the drama around frozen food but unless you are adding a highly processed frozen pizza into your cart, it should be just fine.
Frozen berries and vegetables are cheaper when off-season and have the same health benefits as fresh produce, some might even argue that frozen food always retains its freshness, while regular produce might not guarantee the same level of nutrient.
Part of being an adult is getting a Costco membership- I am not even kidding, it will change your life! Bulk stores are great since you won’t just buy all your ingredients at the same time but also will almost always get your produce at an amazing price.
Now, that is a double whammy. Just be careful to not get too excited and be really selective on what you buy. Be realistic and buy only what you need.
Extra Tip: You can really save some money by buying spices in bulk since they are non-perishable if stored correctly.
The Double L (Large Meals & Leftovers)
The main reason we tend to eat out is using the age-old excuse ” there is nothing in the fridge”. Take that problem, straight out of the equation by picking one day of the week- Sunday works best and making your meals in advance.
Create large meals for the entire week- you can split this into bi-weekly, depending on your schedule. This guarantees that you never find a ready-made excuse to waste money and end up getting that overpriced meal, that is not only bad for your health but also your budget.
Another way to save money is to start saving your leftovers. Freeze vegetables or use your scraps in soups to add flavor.
Regularly using your oven and dishwasher takes a big toll on the electricity bill. Stay efficient and start using smaller appliances, like the toaster oven. Not only, is it quicker than the oven but also results is less cleanup afterwards. The same principle is used for dishwashers, cut your energy cost by half by not using unnecessary dishes.
I personally love one pan meals.
Cook at Home
This one is pretty obvious, but I don’t mean to just create the basic meals but also venture into the world of making your own kitchen staples like chicken broth, mayonnaise, dressing etc. Most of the bottled versions of these staples are full of unnecessary chemicals with matching unnecessary price tags, which all can be avoided by learning easy recipes, online.
My personal favorite add-on to make is chicken broth. All you need to do is roast the chicken in the oven, add water and seasoning. I also spice it up by adding herbs, onions, celery, and garlic.
Extra Tip: You can separate the natural fat of the broth by leaving it in the fridge, for a couple of hours. The fat will separate from the liquid and can be easily scraped off. Use the broth to add intensity and flavor to your soups while also giving you that nutrient hit
Use all these steps together to slowly start changing your lifestyle from one of takeout and unsaturated fat to saving, time and energy. Just look at it this way, by following these steps you aren’t just eliminating the extra added costs of gas, the un-comfort of fast food restaurants but also ensuring that your diet, gives you the right energy for a balanced lifestyle.