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eating healthy

3 tips to eat healthy on a budget

3 tips to eat healthy on a budget

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How can you eat healthy on a low budget? This is a question I have been exploring for a long time.  I am currently paying off a brand new car and I am paid California minimum wage. I prefer to eat organic food, for both the impact on my health and that of the environment, which is also more expensive. So making the right choices can be a challenge.

Embrace repetition

One thing I've had to get used to is eating the same thing every day for awhile. Also eating leftovers. This used to be really hard for me. I like new things, fresh choices, fresh food. But with a thin wallet oatmeal every day for breakfast for two weeks straight started to sound good. I would break that up with two-ingredient pancakes once or twice a week.
I almost always buy bananas, as they are inexpensive, healthy and filling. I alternate other fruits between blueberries, apples, dates, strawberries, raspberries. For vegetables, I always have a big bag of carrots and a large quantity of spinach or kale (kale is cheaper than many vegetables)-then I alternate between other vegetables to fill in. I try and keep a store of winter squash and sweet potatoes stowed away in the cupboard.
For protein I often buy eggs and chicken. Once in awhile I add a different protein in there for variation.  For me, a dozen eggs goes a long way. I often buy large packages of chicken at Costco or Trader Joes to freeze.

 

Be storage-savvy

Keep your eye out for coupons or sales, and stock up on things when they are on sale. Preserve food that won't last fresh, by freezing, drying, or canning.

Experiment with your staples

If you figure out a staple or two for each meal, you then have some leeway to change things up by getting a few other ingredients. It takes a willingness to explore and be creative in the kitchen, which I personally enjoy. There are so many things you can do with quinoa or with a bag of Pamela's gluten free pancake mix. With vegetables you can sauté, steam, or bake them; mash them, blend them, or eat them raw. Fruit can be eaten fresh as a snack or on yogurt, or blend it into a smoothie with peanut butter to make a filling meal. There are so many options and combinations to try, so don't let your empty fridge or cupboard scare you away from going for a new creation! (My fridge is emptier than most people I know...) If it tastes bad, you try something different. You figure out what works and what doesn't work. If you're really not sure, start by making a small quantity. If you're not good at creating new things with food, download Pinterest or other sites that are full of healthy recipes to give you ideas.

 

Decide that your health comes first, and plan what you will buy with your small budget. You may have to eat out less often, but in the end the reward is being happier and prouder of yourself for taking care of your body the way you have been wanting to.
Eat healthy on a budget
These are some of the things I do to live my ideals of eating organic as well as healthy on a budget. What are some of the things that help you keep a balance?

 

These tips for eating healthy on a budget were compiled by PumpUp member @bodysoulspiritfitness, a teacher and movement artist with a passion for healthy living and adventure. Follow her blog here.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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This is part of a series of recipes from PumpUp member @carolinewaters35. Follow her blog, the Dank Dietitian, here. 
This savory and sweet stuffed acorn squash is the perfect fall/winter weeknight meal. It’s a meal all on its own, filled with quinoa, dried cranberries, broccoli, and parmesan cheese. There are many variations you can make to this dish, including trying different veggies, different cheese, different cuisines (southwestern with peppers and onions? it’s possible). For meat lovers, try adding ground turkey simply sautéed in a pan with garlic and onion! This gluten free and vegetarian meal is a healthy way to end a long day. The quinoa contains tons of protein to supply your muscles with needed protein for recovery after a tough workout session. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium acorn squash, cut into quarters
  • 1 TBSP agave nectar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water or broth of choice)
  • 1 small head of broccoli florets
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBSP dried cranberries
  • Dash of sea salt
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice acorn squash into quarters, and lay down on foil lined baking sheet sprayed with non spray cooking oil.
  3. Drizzle agave onto all 4 pieces then top with butter.
  4. Add desired amount of cinnamon (and any other spices) to squash.
  5. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until tender all the way through with a fork.
  6. As squash is baking, cook quinoa according to package directions.
  7. Once quinoa is cooked, let cool.
  8. Add in dried cranberries and chopped broccoli florets to quinoa.
  9. Mix and scoop out ½ cup and add to squash centers.
  10. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese on top.
  11. Enjoy!

Follow Caroline on PumpUp @carolinewaters35, on Instagram @the_dank_dietitian, and check out the original recipe on her blog.