Last week we decided that we needed to kick up our healthy lifestyle change a few notches. We were doing okay (food-wise, not exercise-wise) – much better than we were at the end of 2015, but along comes the weekend and Friday night pizza and then it’s a downward spiral from there for the next two days. How many times can I say, “OK. We are GOING to eat healthy meals and I am GOING to exercise – EVEN ON THE WEEKENDS.” And here I am saying it publicly over and over on the internet and I still can’t stick to it. I know I am not the only one who will say it’s time for a change and keep starting over and over, not giving 100% – because those people on Facebook annoy me – and now I am one! HA! This time will be the last time. I promise. Third time is a charm.
My husband and I have done a workout in the morning for 8 days in a row now. That is a record for me. I have never worked out 8 days in a row. Never mind on a Saturday AND Sunday. I haven’t even had a peanut butter cup or a Coke in 8 days. 8 days! I am so proud of us. We are doing the 21 Day Fix. It focuses on daily exercise and portion control. It has taken a lot of meal planning and prepping to follow the diet. But now that we’re into the second week, our meal planning was a breeze because we knew how much we needed to eat when. I’ve lost 5 pounds in the first week so I am excited to keep going!
In my former life, before I was a mommy, I was a Nutrition Instructor. I worked mainly with low-income populations teaching people how to eat healthy on a budget. So, my skills sure have come in handy now that we are on a slimmer budget with just one income. Eating healthy can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be!
Here are a couple things to keep in mind when you are trying to make healthy choices without breaking the bank:
- Find a good discount store to shop at. We recently went to Aldi and I was blown away by the amount of inexpensive healthy products they had. We hadn’t been there in years and I was so mad we hadn’t gone in there sooner!
- Shop at a farmers market for fresh produce. Of course, what is available depends on the time of year, but there are markets open year round. Typically if you go closer to the closing time, many farmers will mark down the produce to get rid of it.
- Select fresh produce that is in season at the grocery store. If fresh strawberries aren’t in season and they are expensive, think about what they’re for. A smoothie? Try frozen!…see number 4. This is a good availability guide for Michigan.
- Remember frozen and canned fruits and veggies are a good option. They both have similar nutritional content to their fresh version because they are frozen/canned at the peak of freshness. If choosing canned, you want to select “no salt added” or “sodium free” for veggies. For canned fruits, look for packed in “100% juice” or “water” so you don’t get any extra sugar. We eat so many frozen veggies because it’s so easy…you don’t even have to wash and chop!
- Shop what is on sale. Our meals usually revolve around the sale ad. Look at the ads online before you go shopping.
- Make a meal plan. This is where the ads come in. I also usually look in the cupboard/freezer when I do this and plan meals around what I already have. Also, plan to use leftovers and incorporate the same ingredients into more than 1 meal.
- Make a list and stick to it. The more times you go to the grocery store the more money you end up spending on “extra” things! Also, the more time you spend in the store also leads to extra impulse buys.
- Use the “unit price” to determine which brand/size/version is cheapest. The unit price is typically the cost per ounce. To determine the unit price you divide the price of the product by the number of ounces it contains. For example a 16oz can of green beans for .89 cents would have a unit price of .06 cents/ounce (.89/16=0.06). You can compare this price to fresh green beans or frozen to see which is cheapest. You can compare it to broccoli or corn. (Remember 1lb of fresh produce is 16oz.) Sometimes you don’t even have to do the math because the unit price will be listed on the product tag on the shelf!
- If it is something you use a lot, but in bulk. Make sure to check the unit price first to make sure it is actually cheaper, sometimes it isn’t.
- Freeze foods before they go bad so you don’t have to throw things away! If you have fresh veggies that are going to spoil, wash them and chop them up and throw them in the freezer! We have a large container of Greek yogurt in the fridge that we won’t be able to eat before it goes bad. My plan is to freeze it in ice cube trays and store the yogurt cubes to use in smoothies! You could also make frozen yogurt pops with fruit in popsicle molds.
I’ve missed teaching nutrition classes lately so thanks for reading my virtual nutrition lesson! We’ve made a lot of yummy meals this past week so I will be posting some recipes soon!