Before I gave a series of lectures for the employees at Holt of California, I asked what they considered to be the major barriers to eating healthfully. Their response: not enough time and not enough money! As an over-worked, unpaid dietetic intern, I was experiencing those challenges as well. However, my personal commitment to healthy eating forced me to come up with some solutions. Here are some of my tips for eating healthfully with no time and no money:
1. Drink tap water! Forget sodas, bottled water and other expensive drinks. Tap water is free! Not only that, tap water water is better for the environment and contains cavity-preventing fluoride. Staying hydrated prevents dehydration headaches (the cause of 70% of all headaches), keeps you from overeating and keeps skin healthy. So save the money you would have spent on other beverages, and use it to buy healthier food!
2. Plan ahead, and buy in bulk at the grocery store. A weekly trip to Costco, Walmart or Sam’s Club rather than several trips to a nearby store saves you both time and money. Stock up on healthy, low cost staples like oatmeal, brown rice, dried beans and canned goods.
3. Buy seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables from the farmers market. Think the farmers market is too expensive? Think again! See my Top 5 Secrets to Scoring Great Deals at the Farmer’s Market blog by clicking here.
4. Make a healthy dinner in bulk 1 night per week. Cooking in large quantities saves you time and money. Plus, leftovers = healthy meals all week long! So pick a night (mine is Sunday), find some large pots and pans and get cooking!
5. Pack a lunch. This doesn’t take too much time, and it certainly saves money. Consider the following:
- Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread
- $0.60, 3 minutes to prepare
- 1 locally grown apple
- $0.30, 0 minutes to prepare
- Chopped cucumber
- $0.50, 2 minutes to prepare
- 1 container of fat-free yogurt
- $0.60, 0 minutes to prepare
- Total= $2.00, 5 minutes to prepare
Outgrew PB&J in the 4th grade? How about dinner leftovers, bean dip + baked pita chips, or salad wraps? I like to portion out my meals in plastic containers for the entire week on Sunday so I can grab it and go.
6. Choose healthier convenience foods. If you really get stuck and you’ve got to grab something quick, you can still make a healthy choice! If it’s a packaged food: read the label. Look for something low in saturated fat with a short ingredient list. Eating out? Check out http://healthydiningfinder.com/ to find some healthier options nearby.
What are your tips for eating healthfully with limited time and a limited budget?