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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest Post: HEALTHY EATING ON A BUDGET

Personal Finance 4 The People is pleased to team with others who are able to share their expertise in various areas. We hope to combine our efforts to bring a greater financial effort inorder to help you reach YOUR Financial Independence. Today's guest post comes to us from Candise Jordan.

DON’T LET TIME OR MONEY GET IN YOUR WAY OF HEALTHY LIVING



Most Americans live very hectic lives that can make it pretty hard to eat healthily. Working long hours, picking the kids up from school, taking them to practice, church meetings, family plans, etc. We live life in the fast lane, on the go so that’s how we eat “fast”. Why do you think fast food is so popular?

Now, as if it wasn’t difficult enough to make time to eat healthy now in this economy we have to worry about finances. Dollar Menus and $5 Value Meals sound like good deals but are they really??? I too fell victim to the dollar menu hype but then I realized I wasn’t really saving any money I was just gaining weight. Now with a little planning I’m actually eating right and saving money. Here are a few tips to help guide you:

1. Contrary to popular belief buying Organic is not super expensive. You can find organic products in your local health food stores. Safeway has an Organic Brand named O that cost about the same and in some cases are even less expensive than name brands and Giants has Nature’s Promise which is almost ALWAYS on sale.

2. Choose whole grains, beans, legumes and other fibrous food. When you eat foods high in fiber you’ll fill up faster and eat less therefore your meals will last longer. Saving you $$$ If you eat a bunch of junk food you end up hungry and have to buy more food.

3. Shop wisely. Stock up on sale items & buy your most eaten items in bulk. Buying store brand is also a good way to save a few dollars.


4. Believe it or not a home cooked meal is actually cheaper than fast food even the infamous “dollar menu”. A quick meal such as Spaghetti can be made in 20 minutes for less than $13.00. 1 box Safeway Organics whole grain pasta $1.89, 1.3lbs of Shadybrook Farms Ground Turkey 93% Lean is $4.49, Organic Spaghetti Sauce is $3.50, and a bag of Organic Frozen Veggies $3.00. Total Meal cost $12.88 for 8 or more plates. You can feed the family and still have leftovers for the week.  If you were to take that $12.88 to McDonalds you could opt for 2 value meals or 4 meals if you chose dollar menu items only. That’s less than half of the servings you would have if you cooked. Not to mention less nutrients and way more calories, sodium, and cholesterol.

5. Timing is everything! If you don’t have a lot of time to cook whenever you have some downtime cooks multiple meals at once so you have leftovers through the week.

6. Another problem my clients have is eating throughout the day. You have to constantly feed your body for energy and nutrients. When you skip meals your body goes into starvation mode and holds on to as many calories as it can to reserve for energy later. Also, when you skip meals you are more likely to overeat once you do eat. This soar in blood sugar can cause diabetes and weight gain. Pack your lunch including snacks: your lunch can be that left over spaghetti. Your snack can be fruit, Stoneyfield Organic Yogurt ($1.00 each), or even Nature’s Valley Bars $2.99 a box (it’s cheaper to buy the box than the individual bars)

7. Frozen Dinners are cheap & quick. Make sure that whatever frozen dinners you choose the daily value is less than 20% in sodium, cholesterol & fat. Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, Organics by Safeway, Morning Star and Kashi are good choices. If they are not filling enough add nuts, an additional vegetable or beans as a side.


8. Plan your meals around foods that you already have. For example, if you have a can of beans at home don’t go out and buy ground turkey for the night. Cook a quick beans & rice dish. You always want to make sure you use what you have before they expire. Throwing away food is like throwing away money.

9. If fresh veggies and fruits cost too much frozen is the next best option. It is cheap and doesn’t lose as much of its nutritional value or add as much sodium as canned veggies & fruit.

10. Prepare for the grocery store: First make sure that you eat before you go to the store. When you go to the grocery store hungry “everything looks good”. You’re more likely to buy foods on impulse. You also need to make sure you have a list ready. Check out the weekly specials and plan accordingly.

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