How to Get Your Family on Board with Healthy Eating when You’re on A Budget?


I’m asked questions similar to this all the time:

Changing your lifestyle of how you eat is a challenge and is much harder when you have a family who fights against you and limited funds to cover the extra cost. I know the saying about  “can you afford to be fat” and “you have to invest in your body”, but money can be a real issue with a lot of people especially now. What advice would you offer to those of us in these situations?

If you’ve been looking for ways to stretch your grocery budget without filling up on cheap, empty calories, read on. With a little pre-planning, you can eat well without racking up a huge grocery bill. Here’s how to find nutritious foods that won’t blow your budget.

Stick to the basics. Shop seasonal produce, lean meats, and other foods on the periphery of your grocery store. The center aisles are usually where packaged and processed foods are kept. Watch for sales on meat, and buy nuts or beans in bulk.

Plan your meals ahead of time so you’re not winging it when you hit the aisles. Look for apps that help you plan meals and track deals. Make a list and stick to it—don’t be swayed by unhealthy sale foods. And to prevent impulse purchases, don’t go to the grocery store hungry.

Healthy Foods that Are Easy On Your Wallet

These days, it seems like we’re all trying to stretch our dollars, either by necessity or because we’re becoming savvier about the benefits of saving more and spending less. It’s a myth that the healthiest foods are the most expensive. With a list and a plan, it’s possible—and surprisingly simple—to eat healthily without blowing your budget. If you want to keep your wallet fat and your waistline trim, try to put more of these food items in your shopping cart the next time you’re at the grocery store.

1209143_565646883494683_1058313216_nSweet Potatoes. Also marketed as yams (which are actually a variety of sweet potato), this versatile food is as nutritious as it is economical. Sweet potatoes are used in everything from baby food to main dishes to desserts.

Why they’re good for you: At about 140 calories each, sweet potatoes are filling, easy to cook, and loaded with vitamins A and C, iron, and thiamine. They also contain beta-carotene, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Sweet potatoes are also low in sodium and a good source of fiber.

745cdb7e-0b2a-43b4-ad2a-8fad5b81bab4Beans and Lentils. Long regarded as one of the ultimate frugal foods, beans are as versatile as they are nutritious, with a plethora of flavors, colors, and varieties to choose from. Stock up on the dried (and cheapest!) kind, as well as still-a-bargain canned beans. You’ll have tons of cheap, healthy meal possibilities.

Why they’re good for you: Beans and Lentils are one of the best sources of dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Beans are also high in amino acids, and when combined with grains (like the brown rice mentioned below), they make an excellent source of animal-free complete protein.

picP8sh7YBrown rice. One 2-pound bag of brown rice can provide as many as 20 servings. You can combine brown rice with an assortment of other ingredients, or simply enjoy it with a few simple seasonings. Bonus? Brown rice has more flavor and nutrients than instant white rice.

Why it’s good for you: Brown rice is a great source of fiber, vitamin B, iron, manganese, and selenium, nutrients that are essential for keeping the immune system strong and healthy, lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. At about 75 calories each and often less than $2 per dozen, eggs contain more than a dozen essential nutrients, which make them a healthy bargain. And there’s no need to avoid eating eggs for fear of consuming too much cholesterol. Research has shown that egg consumption, when limited to 1 or 2 a day, contributes less than 1 percent to the risk of heart disease when other factors are considered.

Why it’s good for you: Eggs have a high proportion of nutrients to calories, which means that they help you stay feeling full and energized while they help you maintain a healthy weight. Eggs are also an excellent source of folate, protein, lutein (which promotes eye health), and choline (which helps brain function).

MF7442Whole-grain pasta. Tasty, filling, and always an economical way to feed a crowd, what’s not to love about pasta?

Why it’s good for you: Whole-grain pasta is low in sodium and fat and high in complex carbohydrates, which helps you maintain a consistent energy level. Unlike its refined white flour–based brethren, whole-grain pasta is also a good source of fiber.

slide_226174_971662_largeFrozen vegetables. While fresh, raw vegetables (and fruits, for that matter) that are in season should always be a first choice, having a supply of frozen vegetables on hand is an inexpensive, nutritious, and versatile backup plan.

Why they’re good for you: Frozen vegetables retain almost all of their nutritional value, since they’re picked and frozen while at their peak flavor. When the perishables in your refrigerator have, well, perished, it’s easy to reach for a bag of frozen vegetables and add them to any meal.

How To Eat Healthy When Your Family and Friends Aren’t

BONUS: Try these recipes for healthy, low-cost eating.

Three-Bean Pasta 

three-bean-pasta-salad-65d46070-320e-4d60-81f4-e016390ae28e-ss1 lb. uncooked whole-grain farfalle or other pasta

1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen green beans, thawed

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. In a large bowl, combine drained pasta, beans, onion, bell pepper, and chickpeas. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over pasta, toss, and serve. Serves 6.

Chunky Vegetable Chili

745cdb7e-0b2a-43b4-ad2a-8fad5b81bab42 medium sweet potatoes

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

1 Tbsp. chile powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 28-oz. can tomatoes (with juice)

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup cubed zucchini

6 Tbsp. sour cream (optional)

Place first nine ingredients (including juice from tomatoes) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, then stirring frequently until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, replace cover, and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until zucchini and sweet potatoes are tender. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of sour cream (if desired). Serves 6.

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I have been an International Sports Science Association Certified Personal Trainer since 2009, a Certified Boxing Fitness Trainer and I love helping women over 40 stay fit and healthy or getting their health and fitness back after spending all their time taking care of others.

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All material herein is provided for information only and may not be construed as personal medical advice. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The publisher is not a licensed medical care provider. The information is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.