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Published on June 15, 2018

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

It seems that healthy food far out prices the cheaper, faster, but much more health-destroying option. It can be really tempting to throw in the proverbial fork and think, ‘yes the drive thru is totally the easiest, cheapest and therefore best option’. But I beg to differ in that opinion.

Eating healthy on a budget is important because being your best self needn’t be the only thing you spend your money on. Gone are the days where eating healthy means that you can’t have a social life or travel. Now you can have it all; eating healthy and have spare money in order to enjoy the best things in your life.

In this article I’m going to show you how you can eat healthy on a budget so you can enjoy your body, energy and results of eating healthy whilst also having the funds to do all the other things you want like traveling and hanging with your friends.

Why eating healthy is important

Eating healthy is defined here as eating a balanced diet profile containing all three macronutrients and all the micronutrients. It has many benefits:

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  • Protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer, allows your body to grow and repair and provides essential building blocks for hormones, neurotransmitters, enzyme and antibodies. By consuming adequate protein, your body with be satiated longer–therefore, needing to snack less frequently.[1]
  • Fat helps to support metabolism, cell signaling, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. And by doing so eliminates cravings for fast, unhealthy foods that add up to a small fortune over the month.[2]
  • Carbohydrates help you get more lean, improve performance and/or lose weight.[3]They are a preliminary source of energy within the body – when they are broken down, they travel to the liver to replenish energy stores after which they enter the bloodstream and other cells of the body to allow for movement and concentration. Often consumed as vegetables, they can be cheap and high volume for their calories; therefore stimulating satiety quicker than their smaller, more calorific fast food options.
  • The macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) are the building blocks of your body. The micronutrients (driven from vegetables and a balanced, varied diet) are the cement holding the building together.[4]

If you’re anything like me and want to feel amazing on the inside, look great on the outside and be able to perform at your top capacity whilst remaining pain-free, eating healthy is essential.

If you want all of that and to still be able to enjoy your life, rather than simply living out of Tupperware for the foreseeable future, then doing so on a budget is the utmost tier of goal.

How to start eating healthy on a budget

Firstly, it’s important to make eating healthy on a budget a priority. I see so many people ‘fail’ when it comes to just eating healthy that adding another ‘string to that bow’ can over complicate into inaction. As I would say for anyone looking to make positive change, begin with a solid ‘why’. As Tony Robbins says,

“Find your why, find your way.”

In order to begin really committing to eating healthy on a budget, ask yourself why it’s important to you, how it will affect your life and what the benefits will be.

Once you’ve gained that clarity, I suggest looking at the points I’ve listed below and pick one or two to start with.

Eat Healthy without costing much

Figuratively and metaphorically food doesn’t have to cost a lot and doesn’t have to cost the health of the planet. Often the price of food is hiked up because of the great lengths that have gone to obtain it (think planes, agriculture, GMO, engineering, water consumption, transport, etc).

The great thing about the hacks I’m going to give you is that they won’t only help you to eat on a budget, but they’ll also have a positive impact upon Earth.

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Eating Healthy from your kitchen

This is my favorite place to start; as often when one is attempting to cut back on food spending, the first thing that goes is the ‘eating out’ part. When in actual fact we can make a big difference from our homes first.

By making these simple and easy choices first, you will see big impacts upon your spending at the weekly check out. Those extra pennies can be stored away for more outings with friends, travel or simply saving for your future.

Here are the ‘at-home-hacks’:

  • Eat slowly. Unless you’re a body builder aiming to gain weight, eating slowly will help you manage and maintain weight because you naturally eat slightly less. By taking upwards of 20 minutes to consume each meal will allow your body to notice when it is satiated rather than over-eating your budget.
  • Invest in a good foraging book or join a free foraging community group on Facebook. Foraging books such as Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers is my favorite. And forage away – I often will pick up bits and bobs (especially wild garlic in Spring) on my morning walks with my pooch to include into breakfast.
  • Make friends with your local farm shop, farmer or green grocer. The more you can connect with real people who have their hands in the ground, the more likely they will let you have the best, most fresh and abundant food available locally (i.e. anything that is over produced will be cheaper and if it’s local, there won’t be an included transportation costs). You can even pickle and preserve over-abundant food to store for later in the year when it is no longer in season.
  • Use up everything in your fridge before buying new produce. Save waste, consume everything you’ve bought – just keep an eye out for moldy stuff because you don’t want to get ill.
  • Go for walks and pick food from free plants because it’s nutritious and free. Just don’t pick the hallucinogenic type!

Eating healthy from a working kitchen

I won’t lie to you – I blooming love a good brunch. I actually feel that without an occasional brunch, I’m missing out on life. I love the act of going somewhere new, meeting friends and hanging out in cool spaces. So when it comes to eating healthy on a budget, this is one thing that I really struggle and don’t want to let go of. So I’m going to share with you now my mini-strategies I use when I go out to eat.

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Mini-eating-out-strategies:

  • Grab a light snack before you head out so that you’re not in a state of hanger and ordering a 3-course meal without realizing it until the bill smacks you in the face.
  • Go with friends and order together a few sides with the strategy to try to taste as many things as possible on the menu whilst spreading the price load between you.
  • Order a starter not a main. It’ll probably be big enough if you use that eating slowly tip I mentioned earlier.
  • Opt for tap water rather than expensive cocktails and lattes which quickly add up on your bill.

Make it work for you

Eating healthy on a budget is really about finding what works for you and keeping it simple. Try the above tips around food that you love – eat varied food that is available in abundance, use up all your left overs to make crazy tasty concoctions that’ll become signature dishes and enjoy your food with friends.

This is really what we all want with our food, at a basic level – to connect and enjoy. Just go do that as much as possible and you’re literally going to be doing all the things you need to do in order to eat healthy on a budget.

The Great Wall of China was not built in a day, and neither will your eating healthy on a budget habits. Conquer them one at a time, starting with the easiest. All the pennies add up!

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For more inspiration on budget and healthy recipes, check out this article: 40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] NL Perform: A Bit about Protein
[2] NL Perform: Fat and Health
[3] NL Perform: Carbohydrates for Weight Loss
[4] NL Perform: Going Deep – Nutrition – Part 3

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Camilla Dempster

A prenatal/postnatal expert who teaches women to ditch the binge/restrict/guilt cycle around their body, food and exercise.

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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