Mid Week Motivator- Eating Healthy Despite A Tight Budget

Getting healthy is hard. It takes motivation and determination. Eating healthy is key in this and at times can seem insurmountable because of the perceived cost. I am proof that a person can live on a extremely tight budget and succeed in not only losing weight but in maintaining it as well. The first step is something I have addressed in the past, cleaning out the fridge and pantry. The second step is buying the good healthy stuff.
Recently a friend made that sort of comment, that she wished she could eat healthy but could not afford it. Trust me, you CAN do this on a tight budget. It takes planning and turning away from those old habits. While it is possible to eat healthy on a budget, it is not possible to purchase both the healthy food and the junk food. It means taking from your eating out budget and putting it into the grocery store instead. Having less money for the drive thru or “treats” will be hard but it is worth the sacrifice.
Also do not fear! Eating healthy does not mean eating boring food with no taste. Actually you will learn to enjoy the natural flavor of things. I have found that when I do eat something prepackaged or from a drive thru that the taste is not as good. Eating healthy is an investment.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of so much flavor. Yes it can take planning and even preparation of these foods but that can also be fun and expand your palate. I have always enjoyed eating fruits and vegetables so this transition was not as difficult for me. I have discovered I do get more bang for my buck when I purchase fresh, healthy food than when I do go through a drive thru for a quick meal. It helps to keep only the healthy foods in the house too. While you may have a craving for that not so great snack, there is no choice but to eat what you do have in the house.
It also means venturing into the kitchen and breaking out those pots and pans. I am no cook but here is how I watched what I ate. Paying attention to serving sizes in addition to swapping one food for another was key. Using smaller plates to eat off of helps as well, the fuller your plate looks the less likely you are to want to more. Use this as an opportunity to try out new recipes, especially if you have children cooking as a family can be such a bonding experience. As a single woman I tend to make a lot of a side like brown rice or couscous ( my latest obsession!) or chicken and eat that for a week for dinner.
I can eat the same thing over and over. This helps me in a few ways, first I know what to expect to pay at the register when I purchase the same things. I also know how much calories I am consuming. I shop at a few places to get the best deals for my money. One is a grocery chain called Aldi, they have really great prices for fresh fruit and vegetables. I also go to my local Publix and I take advantage of their buy one get one sales. This allows me to stock on items like Oatmeal, coffee, peanut butter, coconut oil etc. Look for sales and ask friends about local farmers markets and deals. Living in South Florida I also take advantage of the various fruits and foods that I can get for free. This time of year is Mango and Avocado season. The mangoes are right outside my kitchen window and the avocadoes I get our generously given by a friends father in law from trees in their nursey.. I never have to pay for them.
Let me just say too that I have never used powders or vitamins during my journey. First I just could not afford them and second I was already consuming so much of the good stuff that I was getting what I needed from them. I also drink a lot of water, this cuts down on your calorie intake, and I just find it cheaper all around.
If you are looking for guidance on what to buy or eat check out Myfitnesspal.com where you can join a community and it will help you learn how to buy. Don’t be afraid to ask question about different fruits and vegetables either, not everyone knows what to do with a cumquat! Or what to do with a pomegranate ( believe me they are delicious!). It is a whole new world but so worth it to explore! I promise you, once you start to invest in eating healthier you will not want to go back.

Next week I will address dealing with a sweet tooth and not going off your diet. Yes it can be done!

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