Healthy meals begin in the pantry and in our fridge, yet stepping back a little further, healthy eating starts with meal prep and a budget. We generally know what healthy foods to bring to our plate; however, when I speak to people about eating healthy meals and meal prep, they tell me:
Healthy eating costs too much.
Healthy food takes too long to prepare.
I tend to disagree. I agree that it takes some thought and time to shift towards a healthier way of preparing meals on a budget, but I don’t believe it has to cost too much. Below are a few approaches to begin making some changes that will last.
First thing: is a food -feel awareness.
Despite some grumbling from patients, I will ask them to become aware of what they eat daily. I am not too strict on this, as my main goal is for people to begin to feel how food affects their everyday life. So in the journal (which I call, The Food Mood journal), I ask them to fill in what they ate and how they felt when eating and after eating ( up to 72 hours after). By the way, kids love this because they want to feel good so they can play).
Many people are stunned once they make this awareness. Some people realize cashews give them stomach aches, or gluten makes their nose congested. And this makes it easier when planning meals, shopping for meals, and budgeting for healthy foods. Because when people come to see how certain foods can negatively impact their feelings, they tend to make the changes themselves – which is ideal as it will more than likely become long-term.
They begin to feel better, be more creative, have more energy, and perhaps have weight loss. With this, people become proactive in their health which is empowering plus makes grocery shopping easier and typically less expensive!
Healthy eating costs too much
Now we become detectives – observing daily diet habits that may be draining our bank accounts. Do you go out for coffee every day? Do you eat out for lunch more than two times a week? Try the below suggestions:
- Look for local farmer’s markets or a weekly delivery of local seasonal fruits and veggies. I have used Fresh Farm to You, Misfits Market , and Butcher Box.
- Look into joining a local food co-op.
- Shop at Trader Joe’s or other shopping clubs. My local Costco has much local produce and organic foods at much lower prices than at the supermarket.
Healthy foods take too long to prepare
I am not a passionate cook; however, I adore the result: yummy, nutritious foods that fuel my body. When my kids were little, I secretly hoped that one of them would embrace the kitchen and begin making our dinner meals, but sadly, it didn’t happen, so I have learned to make simple meals to prepare.
- I stocked my kitchen with basics: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, eggs, salmon, ground beef, tortillas, rice, rice pasta noodles, tomatoes, kalamata olives, some cheese – goat and mozzarella, chickpeas, nut butter, frozen berries, and vegetables. This makes shopping more manageable as well.
- Have a few meals that you know everyone loves. Some of ours include wild salmon with brown rice and roasted asparagus, fried rice with loads of veggies and a colourful taco night.
- Invest in a crock pot to make soups, stews, and chili which we eat for dinner that night and freeze some for later.
I prepare vegetables by roasting (coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper; place in 400⋅ ovens for 10 minutes). It is super-fast, and everyone likes them. Simultaneously, I will bake salmon coated in pesto, and within 30 minutes, we will have a meal).
PS One last tip for healthy eating on a budget: do not shop hungry
Thank-you #unsplash for the image