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eating healthy on a tight budget

Healthy eating is easier than you think. Yep, you heard right. When you focus on whole foods that can be found in nature, the concept can be simpler than you think. We’re talking about real food here ladies!

Think back to the way your parents might have eaten when they grew up. In those days, there weren’t many of the processed foods that we see on grocery store shelves today. Most mothers didn’t work and had time to prepare nutritious meals for their families. But fast forward to today and what do we find? We live much busier lives, dual-income families have become the norm, fast food restaurants are everywhere, and the number of processed foods we consume is at an all-time high. And as a result, people are ailing from more chronic health conditions than ever before. The benefits of healthy eating are numerous and you will find that it isn’t as hard as you thought once you get into the habit. Of course it’s impossible to cover everything but here are some ways to get started:

1.  Avoid processed foods.

Instead focus on whole foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, lean meat, Greek yogurt, eggs. Avoid the veggie chips and cheddar goldfish crackers…and the empty calories.

2.  Prepare more meals at home.

Save eating out for a special occasion or a Friday night and prepare a few meals at home during the week. Not only will you save money, your waistline will thank you.

3.  Replace soda with water.

Ditch the Diet Coke and drink water instead. It may be hard at first but doing so even one or two days a week will improve your health in more ways than one. How much water should you drink? If you aren’t thirsty and your urine is light yellow in color then you are likely doing things right. 

4.  Plan your meals.

Make a list of dinners for the week. Get your family involved and come up with choices that will satisfy everyone. Consider choosing dishes that include similar ingredients so you won’t have food that goes to waste. If you do have food left over, have a night for leftovers or take a portion to the office for lunch the next day. And, take into account a day where the scheduled meal just isn’t going to happen, and have something to fall back on that can be prepared quickly. My go-to: breakfast for dinner. Make a pan of scrambled eggs and serve with whole wheat toast and berries or veggies on the side. Violia!

5.  Go grocery shopping for the week.

You have your list of meals, now it’s time to go shopping. Stock up on food staples that you’ll eat up during the week for snacks and meals. You may even have to stop at the store during the week to pick up an item but you’ll have the bulk of your ingredients waiting for you at home.

6.  Use portion control.

Pay attention to serving sizes. It’s easy to overdo it and eat enough for two people especially if the meal is your favorite. Avoid the post-meal food coma. If you still feel hungry after the meal, wait a few minutes, sip on water and give your gut time to register that it’s full. Do this and chances are you will find that you’re not hungry anymore.

7.  Have dinner as a family.

Eat a meal at the kitchen table with your spouse and/or your kids and talk about your day. Make the mealtime device-free and engage your kids in conversation – you will find that you eat more slowly and enjoy the meal more. Most of all, cherish your time together.

Feature image via Stocksnap
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