I’m kicking off the New Year with a double-whammy blog that will set you up for success.
What makes it a double-whammy blog, you ask??
Whether your New Year’s resolution has to do with (1) saving money OR (2) eating healthier, this blog has you covered (hence the double-whammy). 👏👏
But, all jokes aside, eating healthy has become even more challenging for many families given the current recession, and this topic has been on my heart for a while now.
The good news is that you CAN eat healthy on a budget, and today I’m going to show you how.
And if you don’t believe me, just know that the folks over at Harvard University agree with me on this. 😏
According to their handy-dandy analysis of 27 different studies, a healthy diet only costs $1.50 more per day than an unhealthy one.
That’s pretty encouraging, right??
So, let’s chat about how to make this a reality for you + your family.
“Biggest Bang for Your Buck” Foods.
First things first — focus on foods that pack a nutritional punch without a hefty price tag.
Here are my “go-to” budget-friendly foods:
- Organic Eggs
- Organic Oatmeal
- Organic Bananas
- Organic Quinoa
- Organic Brown Rice
- Organic Dried Beans & Lentils
- Organic Canned Chicken
- Canned Tuna or Salmon (wild-caught)
- Organic Frozen Meats (chicken + beef)
If you can, buy these foods in bulk for added cost savings.
Except for the bananas — those never seem to last very long…
Another powerhouse staple food = seeds.
Rich in nutrients, protein, fiber, and healthy fats — seeds are a great way to improve your health. You can literally add them to every meal. Chia seeds are great in smoothies & oatmeals, while flax and hemp seeds are a fantastic addition to salads, breads, and healthy desserts. And don’t forget pumpkin seeds, which are loaded with magnesium and zinc.
Okay, now that we’ve got some staple items in place, what the heck are we gonna cook? I won’t let you resort back to your college days — eating cold black beans out of a can.
(or was that just me?) 😳
Let’s get your wheels turning with some meal ideas.
Budget-Friendly Meal Ideas.
If you love to cook, you can probably think of a million ways to whip together delicious meals using the items above. But if not, I’ve got you covered.
Let’s start with breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day because it provides the fuel you need to feel energized & focused. Pick 3 breakfast options from this budget-friendly roundup and put them on rotation.
Next, this black bean quinoa bowl is the perfect lunch option because you can switch up your toppings day-to-day. Avocado, salsa, greek yogurt & cilantro are all fantastic choices. 😋
If you’ve got lunchboxes to pack, here are some of my favorite kid-friendly options:
- Organic PB&J on Whole Grain Organic Bread
- Organic Sliced Bananas
- Organic Trail Mix
- Greek Yogurt w/ Honey (protein-packed)
When it comes to dinners, your best bet is to focus on making double batches of high-protein meals — so pull out that slow cooker or instant pot. Think hearty chilies, beef stews & meatloaves. If you have extra space, freeze half for the following week.
I won’t drown you in recipes because you have Google for that.
But let's talk about some creative options you may not have considered before.
3 Creative Health Hacks To Save You More 💰
Now, this first one might sound a little wild, but for some of you, it may be a perfect money-saving option.
1. Buy A Whole Cow
If you have a large family that eats a lot of beef, a great way to save money is to buy a whole cow. You can do this from a local butcher or order online from a number of farms that offer nationwide shipping. Although the initial investment may not be doable for every family, it’s a major savings in the long-run if you can swing it.
Fair Warning → your steak, ground beef, soup bones, and roasts will come in close to 400 pounds & require a 20 cubic foot freezer to store properly.
Look for organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed & grass-finished beef from a reputable farm like Prosper Meats — which offers nationwide shipping.
High-quality meat is high in vitamins & minerals as well as healthy fats. Plus, you can rest easy knowing the animals on these farms are raised ethically, with a smaller impact on the environment.
2. Join an Online Cooking Club
Consider joining an online cooking club like this one by Simply Real Health.
Paying for a cooking club may sound counterintuitive when we’re talking about saving money, but at $10/month, it will more than pay for itself.
Because one of the biggest challenges is simply sticking with your plan. Too often, we get stuck in a rut or overwhelmed by options so we give up. Or we sneak in a couple of fast food runs or end up eating cereal & chips for dinner. 👀
Simply Real Health Founder, Sarah Adler, built her entire business & brand around the simple concept of whole-food recipes with 5 ingredients or less.
How perfect is that?
Her cooking club offers:
- Fresh, healthy meal ideas
- Simple healthy ingredients
- Fun tutorials & live sessions
- A like-minded community
- Pre-made shopping lists
Full disclaimer → I haven’t tried this cooking club myself, but I’ve had multiple patients mention it to me, and they love it. Plus, it sounds pretty darn appealing to me, so I may just sign myself up this weekend!
3. Shop The “Clean 15”
Buying organic helps you avoid pesticides and GMOs, but it’s definitely more expensive. To help you decide which produce to buy organic and which to buy conventional, follow the Environmental Working Group (EWG) annual report. They publish a list every year showing which produce contains the highest level of pesticides (Dirty Dozen) and which contains the least (Clean 15). The most recent list can be viewed right here.
The key is always to find what works best for you & your family. Not everyone is going to be able to buy a full cow, and that’s just fine. 😂
But, with a kitchen full of budget-friendly staples, some tasty recipe ideas & an online club to keep the momentum going — you should be on your way to healthier, more sustainable meals.
Which Will You Try First?
Let me know which of these health hacks, budget-friendly recipes, or money-saving tips you liked the best.
Or, which one you plan to try first!