Health

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Eating Healthy on a Budget

Think you have to be rich to eat healthy? Think again! Nutritionist and fitness trainer Robert Reames offers tips for eating healthy on a budget:

  • Buy in bulk. Separate then freeze and/or refrigerate portions for you and your family.
  • Don't eat out. Prepare and eat all meals at home from scratch. Profit margins are huge in the restaurant industry overall. Plan so you aren't stuck overpaying for a meal you really don't want.
  • Don't overeat! Portion sizes in America overall are just too large.
  • Don't eat takeout or delivery.
  • Don't buy deli concoctions. Take the idea that you see in the deli show case and make your own homemade version.
  • Use a crock pot to prepare many different kinds of soups, stews and sauces for your family. Bake a casserole. You can heat your crock pot for eight hours and it will only cost you 10 cents, whereas it costs 32 cents to run an oven for only an hour.
  • Take lunches to work and/or pack lunches for the kids.
  • Buy fresh foods at farms or farmers markets.
  • Grow your own vegetables and fresh herbs.
  • Make your own salad dressings using olive oil, vinegar and/or nonfat yogurt and your favorite herbs and spices.
  • Eliminate juices, sodas and any other form of processed hydration. You'll waste tons of cash on these. Stay with fresh water. Flavor with a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange for variation.
  • Buy a thermos or container that you can constantly re-use for water, soup, tea, etc.
  • Eliminate junk and processed foods. Excess sodium and sugar encourage over consumption. Not only are these foods bad value and a waste of money, but they are void of healthy nutrition.
  • Plan your grocery trips out. This will eliminate impulse buying. Also, don't go to the grocery store hungry.
  • Find one or two places close by to shop at regularly to avoid spending excess gas money on driving around.

Foods that are Excellent Value for Money and Nutrition:

  • Chicken, turkey and/or ground versions of these as well as lean ground beef: Buy frozen in bulk or bake a large chicken or turkey, then divide portions and freeze.
  • Eggs: These can be cooked many different ways and used along with other foods.
  • Fresh farmers market or frozen veggies.
  • Beans and brown rice: Add in a frozen or fresh vegetable. Use your own fresh herbs, spices and homemade sauces.
  • Quinoa, couscous or even high-protein/fiber whole wheat pastas in bulk.
  • Homemade soups, casseroles and stews.
  • Look for deals on large bag spinach and lettuce.
  • Iced green tea: A pack of 100 tea bags will cost $10-12 and will make gallons and gallons of tea.
  • If you drink coffee, prepare at home and travel with a thermos.
  • Go out to the country and pick your own fresh fruit, or buy from the grocery store in large bags versus individually.
  • Tuna: This can be used in many different ways.
  • High-fiber oatmeal: You can incorporate some whey protein powder, which can also be purchased in bulk, to add in your protein.
  • Use a Brita filter for fresh water versus buying plastic bottles.

Low-Calorie Fast-Food Menu Items:

 

If you must eat at a fast-food restaurant, you can still make healthier choices!

 

McDonald's:

  • Premium Grilled Chicken Classic: 420 calories, 10 grams of fat, $3.69
  • Ranch Snack Wrap (with grilled chicken): 270 calories, 10 grams of fat, $1.49
  • Premium Southwest Salad (with grilled chicken): 320 calories, 9 grams of fat, $4.39
  • Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait: 160 calories, 2 grams of fat, $.89

KFC:

  • Grilled Chicken Breast: 180 calories, 4 grams of fat, $3.24
  • Corn on the Cob: 150 calories, 1 gram of fat, $1.79

Taco Bell:

  • Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco: 160 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, $1.69
  • Fresco Bean Burrito: 330 calories, 7 grams of fat, $.99