Wednesday, October 14, 2015

12 Tips to Eat Healthier on a Budget

Budgets can be tight, but making small changes when you can, makes a big nutritional impact in your "diet."

1. Relying a little more on cheap convenience food than you would like due to budget or time? Try adding a salad, fresh fruit, or vegetable as a side dish.

2. Replace lettuce with spinach. Spinach is antioxidant rich, full of nutrients and vitamins, and add more of a nutritional punch than iceberg lettuce.

3. Replace sour cream with plain Greek yogurt for less fat, and added protein.

4. Add raisins or nuts to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, ect., to get some heart healthy essential fats or to up your fruit consumption.

5. Add wheat germ or flax seed to generic brand pancake mixes for a whole grain punch. It tastes great in yogurt and smoothies. Wheat germ contains Vitamin E, and folic acid, B vitamins, Omega 3 Fatty acids, and Physterols. Physterols help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels. Flax seed contains Omega 3 fatty acids, and fiber.

6. Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season, buy in bulk and freeze the rest. Eating fruits and
vegetables in that are current in their natural growing season helps strengthen the immune system.
Fruit can be frozen and blended as smoothies, used to make healthy ice cream, or put in a fruit salad or side dish. Frozen vegetables can be used to make a stir fry, can be added to the crock pot, or used to make vegetable soup. They are convenient, and don’t spoil as quickly

7.  Pouring vegetable soups over brown rice or whole grain noodles pack in vitamins and nutrients, fill you up, and is easy to prepare.

8. Turn a salad into a meal. Add nuts, chicken (or your choice), dried fruit or raisins, sunflowers, shredded cheese, etc. I like to shred leftover chicken for my salads. Lunch meat works great too.

9. When you repurpose leftovers, you get a new dish, and its great for those picky eaters who don't
like leftovers. Using leftovers more quickly mean less waste and money saved.

10. Try less expensive cuts of meat. You can still enjoy meat even though you are on a tight budget.
Keep an eye out for less expensive cuts of meat. Cook with chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Experimenting with different cooking methods, such as the slow cooker ,will make tougher cuts of meat tender and juicy. It also makes the meat tender and easier to pull off the bones for stews, chicken salad sandwiches, chicken and and rice, and other meals. You can freeze the left over chicken for later. Buy a whole chicken and plan menus to include meals that use legs, thighs, and breasts all on different nights. Roast a whole chicken to eat off of for a few days. Whole chickens run about $1.16 per pound, while you may end up paying $5 or $6 per pound for individual pieces.

11. Eat more beans and whole grains. Beans and whole grain like quinoa and brown rice are great to stretch and bulk out a meal, and can even be served as a meal by themselves. I like to use black beans in my meat dishes or in place of meat. Beans and lentils also make hearty and nutritious soups and are great pared with rice or fresh vegetables. Dry beans are the cheapest item for your meals, can be stretched the furthest for meals, and have a longer shelf life.

12. Buy more pasta. Whole grain pasta is cheap, easy to prepare, and is quick to make. It is also very versatile. Mix with olive oil,  add diced tomatoes, and garlic, or have fun adding your own mix-ins such as mushrooms, spices, and herbs.

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