10 Tips to Eating Better on a Budget

Want to know how to make delicious and healthy recipes with kale, quinoa or organic turkey breast for your family?
Well, you’re in the wrong place sister!!!
This blog is about eating REAL food in a healthy way with no fuss or fancy stuff. 

We’ve all seen mouthwatering images of beautiful and healthy meals on Pinterest. You know the ones. The amazing recipes that have about 30 steps and require exotic ingredients you have to travel to 5 stores in town to find. And when you do find these obscure ingredients you have a mild coronary when you see the price tag. Nice try fancy recipe blogger! But what about REAL people out here? The busy moms and female entrepreneurs with other stuff to do than drive around town looking for “tropical fennel grown on the eastern side of a mountain in spring”?

I want to help YOU, the busy woman on a budget, give you, and your family, the healthiest food possible without having to take out a second mortgage to do so. That is what this blog post is about.

Most women, looking for inspiration when trying to learn new ways to concoct nutritious meals for themselves and their families turn to the internet.

There’s no shortage of great recipes from nutrition experts that look wonderful. Recipes for beautiful meals that make the mouth water are abound. If you have ever searched for a healthy recipe to make at home, if you’re like me, you’ve been excited by a picture but then very quickly let down upon reading the long (and odd) list of ingredients. Vegetables you have never heard of, let along know where to buy and spices you can’t pronounce followed by directions that would take hours (if not days) to complete. They sound lovely, but they just aren’t realistic for a busy life.

It’s all too easy to get frustrated and give up the search for ways to make healthy food on a budget at home. We have to find ways to eat healthy that are actually doable in the midst of a busy life, AND that don’t cost a fortune.

Here is my list of 10 (and a bonus #11) totally doable ways to eat healthier at home on a budget (and get your family on board with you for those of you with kiddos).

The goal is NOT for you to adopt every single suggestion here. The goal is to pick ONE thing that you can start doing next week, just one. Work that one change until you are ROCKING it weekly and it becomes part of your ‘norm’. Then, you can add a second challenge from the list and grow slowly.

Don’t make this stressful.

Start with the baby steps.

This is a long game. It’s important to take baby steps when it comes to health. I have a lot of ideas to help you start!

It’s Adorable!
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Infographic of 10 Steps to Eating Healthy on a Budget by Gemma Rayne Fountain

1.) Start With You!

Friends and family can make it a challenge to change. You can be inspired to add more veggies to your meals but that doesn’t mean everyone in your home is too. So, what do you do? Don’t worry about them yet. Start with you!
If you’re making chicken nuggets for dinner, add a salad or a vegetable and make sure you eat that first, before anything else on your plate. Have kids? Comment on how yummy the salad is and leave it at that. No lecture, no pressure for others to eat the veggie. Start by showing your family how it’s done.

2.) Drink Water

Start serving and drinking more water. Try to slowly eliminate sugary drinks in the home (this includes diet drinks which contain dangerous chemical sweeteners). Do you or your kids drink full juice? Start watering down the juice. Only a tiny bit at first, and as your taste buds get used to it you can slowly add more water and less juice. You can make water more fun by adding lemon slices, cucumber slices, orange slices, etc.

3.) Never Put Dirty Produce In The Fridge

NEVER put an unwashed fruit or veggie away in the fridge. As soon as you get home from shopping, pile up your produce next to the sink. Fill the sink with water (add some sea salt, lemon juice and vinegar to help clean off any gunk), add your produce, let it soak while you put away other groceries or fold some laundry. Remove the produce from the water and pop it onto a towel on the counter to drip dry. Then put it away in the fridge. It’s ready to eat! You’re doing this to eliminate the step of ‘washing’ each time you want to eat a fruit or a veggie. You’re helping make healthy food into ‘fast’ food.

4.) Serve Fruit

Put fruit out while you’re cooking or doing chores to nibble on as you work. Fruit is a great gateway food for kids and teens to prepare them for veggies. Serve fruit first. Serve it for breakfast, snacks and dinner. Fruit sugars are good for you. It is natural sugar, not the kind of sugar to be fearful of. So eat the fruit!!

5.) Shop Produce Stands

Whenever possible, stay away from the large chain stores when shopping for produce! The best prices for fruit and veg are at produce stands, local farms, flea markets, farmer’s markets, etc. I did a little experiment not too long ago. I went to my local grocery chain and purchased a set list of produce (broccoli, carrots, apples, cantaloupe, etc) and spent $86. I then went to a local produce stand and purchased the exact same items, and spent $35. I saved $51!!! FIFTY-ONE DOLLARS! That is one heck of a saving and well worth the extra trip to produce.

6.) Join The Club

Join your local warehouse membership store (ie Sam’s Club or Costco). It is TOTALLY worth the cost of memebrship. Save up and pay the membership fee and start shopping there. They have great prices on produce, even a number of organic options. Buy bulk on items that store or freeze well. I buy whole grain bread, organic jarred spaghetti sauce, almond butter, organic applesauce, mixed nuts, healthier snack foods (like Veggie Stix, baked chips, granola bars, etc) and so much more at our local Sam’s Club and we spend a fraction of what we would spend at the grocery store.

7.) Make Healthy Food Into Fast Food

Create healthy ‘fast’ food snacks to keep in the fridge. It takes a little planning but can have a huge impact on your wallet and your health. Here are a few snack ideas: Boil and peel eggs and store them in the fridge. Chop veggies and store them in clear containers next to dip in the front of the shelf. Put fruit in bowls easy to see and grab up front in the fridge. Freeze grapes in baggies, these are a yummy snack. Pop your own popcorn and keep in baggies for the kids to grab or for you to keep in your purse.

8.) Leftovers Are Queen

Always cook more than you need, a lot more. After dinner prepare numerous storage containers with ready meals in them. These can be grabbed to take to work for lunch or grabbed to be heated up at home. I cook chicken about twice a week, but I cook 10-12 thighs at a time. There is always a container of cooked chicken ready to go in our fridge. I can eat the chicken cold, just as it is (I season it a lot when I cook it), or it can be chopped and added to a salad. I can throw it between two pieces of bread as a sandwich, add it to pasta with olive oil, or eat it with rice flavored with Braggs Amino Acids (tastes like soy sauce). See how versatile extra cooked chicken can be?

9.) Don’t Give Up

It can take time and a lot of trial and error to get good at eating healthy on a budget. Keep trying. Two steps forward, one step back is STILL great progress.

10.) Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

Celebrate every single triumph on this journey. Let go of the less than perfect attempts and chalk it up to ‘experience’. If you can adopt 2-3 new, healthy, and economical habits each year, you are doing amazingly well.

BONUS TIP:

11.) Keep It Simple

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be fancy. I think this is where a lot of people get frustrated. Trying to recreate culinary masterpieces for each meal is exhausting, I mean, who has time for that? So, make it easy and keep it simple.

You can do it!

While it might be nice to get fancy with your recipes every now and again you can TOTALLY make real, familiar and comfortable food in a healthy way with a little thought. 

I hope this helped.

If you have ANY questions on this topic I’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

Best of luck!!

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