Healthy Eats for CHEAP

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Eating healthy is a struggle! Not only do I have to give up Five Guys and Chick-Fil-A, but Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme are breaking my bank!

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I’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you eat like the best you, all while saving money.

1. Planning, Planning, Planning

The key to eating healthy for cheaper is planning. I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone to the grocery store without a list and left with bags filled with junk snacks and prepared foods that I didn’t need/most likely wouldn’t finish. Create a meal calendar outlining exactly what you plan to eat each meal of every day this week. Go to the grocery store and only get what you need to prep for those meals – nothing more, nothing less.

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I know what you’re thinking – what if I like having options? I worry about the same thing – how can I possibly plan to eat chicken on Thursday when I may be in the mood for fish by then?! Just be sure your weekly planner has enough variety that you’re not sick and tired of what you’re eating by the end of the week. This is a great way to be sure you’re only spending what you budgeted for – but also keeps you on track to eating healthier meals!

If you have no idea where to start to meal plan, start by using one that’s already filled in for you.  Pinterest has plenty of these healthy meal calendars.  I also like this one from Food Heaven Made Easy.  It’s specifically built for vegetarians, but you can easily add lean meats like chicken and turkey.

2. Try Out Meatless Monday

I got this idea from my fave DJ, Vashtie.  She’s a vegan – but recognizes that not everyone can be on that level quite yet. A great way to take a small step towards eating healthier is with Meatless Monday’s (or Tuesday’s or whatever day).  Pick a day out of the week and commit yourself to being vegetarian for the day. Hopefully after some time, you’ve found meatless meals that are down right delicious and you’ll be able to commit to more than one day a week.

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Red Lentil Rice Cakes with Tomato Salsa (Cooking Light)

Vegetarian isn’t that bad, just look at that rice cake!  For this recipe and others like it, visit Cooking Light

3. No Fast Food!

This should be a no-brainer for a healthy eats post, right? But I still have to say it! As much as you’d love to stop at Chipotle (yes, this counts as fast food) or Wendy’s, give it a rest and plan on cooking.  Cutting out fast food restaurants, even for just a week, could save a small family (two parents, one child) up to $300.  That’s easily two Saint Pablo tickets!

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4. Buy Fruits and Veggies in Season

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Fruits and vegetables that are in season will be cheaper.  This makes sense – blueberry prices will be much higher in the middle of December compared to the late summer months because there are less available.  Check out this interactive fruit/veggie calendar for more info.

5. Skip Out on the Frozen

Frozen foods are usually more expensive and may not be as healthy as fresh options.  I’m the queen of cheating on this rule, because I love buying frozen fruit to use in breakfast smoothies – and buy frozen chicken breast on occasion – but I’d save myself more money by buying some fresh strawberries and chicken without wasting.

You don’t have any more excuses! Get to work!

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For other  healthy eating tips, be sure to check out Food Heaven Made Easy, an awesome blog written by Wendy and Jess – two vegetarian dietitians who have mastered the art of eating healthy without spending your entire paycheck.  (They also have a podcast!!)

Have any other tips/tricks that were left off the list? Don’t hold out – comment below!

 

 

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