Eating healthy does not mean deprivation for your taste buds or a strain on your wallet!!
At the heart of my cooking is using whole foods while staying on a budget. Stick with me and I will show you how to maximize your ingredients and minimize your time in the kitchen and food waste. Because let’s be honest—good food is too good to waste!
Tips on Healthy Eating (with a budget in mind):
- Become an investigator—of your food labels!! Read the ingredients; do not trust the claims of the products—”whole grains” does not mean that a product is 100% whole grain.
- Anything with hydrogenated oils has trans fat in it—avoid at all costs!! Even if on the outside it says zero trans fat–tricky schemes!!
- The less ingredients the better.
- Stick to foods you can pronounce. It is better for food to have additional fat than modified food ingredients. For example, fat-free half and half has 11 ingredients, while regular half-and half has 2. Another example is that pita chips have a very long list of ingredients while tortilla chips or even corn chips only have 3!!! Pita chips are less fat but much more processed. Even when choosing junk food, go for less is more in all ways—smaller ingredient list and eat the junk less often !
- Keep frozen vegetables stocked in freezer. Add them to eggs, soups, rice, pasta, chili, anything to increase nutrients and increase volume of food eaten for fewer calories. Also, chopped green peppers or the 3 pepper and onion blend is great to have on hand for fajitas and Chili to save money!
- Grass-Fed beef is the healthiest when obtainable—it has 3 times as much linoleic acid, known to fight cancer. Beef round and flank steaks are the best overall choices when using red meat.
- Whirl stale bread around in food processor. Place in freezer bag—whole wheat bread crumbs at moment’s notice!
- Instead of using the full amounts of meat called for in a casserole, soup, or stew, increase the vegetables or beans by up to 3 times and decrease the amount of meat drastically. This lessens not only the saturated fat, but also cuts the cost of the meal!!
- Use more fresh herbs to enhance flavor while keeping salt in check.
- Use sweeteners like honey, molasses and maple syrup when you can. They raise blood sugar at a slower pace than refined sugar. But still use all sweeteners lightly and only when needed.
- For baking, substitute half the butter or oil with a fruit or vegetable puree like applesauce or carrot puree. Yogurt works well in some recipes too.
- Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. It works great in dips and in my opinion is delicious topped on baked potatoes or with Mexican cuisine.
- Start a Meatless Monday tradition. It will be good for your body and good for your wallet. Some of easy, family pleasing ones to start with are Creamy Taco Bake, Baked Rotini, or One Pot Macaroni and Cheese.
These are quite a few tips. If you are overwhelmed, choose one or two to implement now and then bookmark this page to refer back to to add more healthy living tips into your life.