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Eating Healthy on a Budget

One of the things I get asked most about is nutrition. Working out consistently and staying active is crucial, but to lose weight, keep it off, and feel good your nutrition is key. Many believe you must spend hundreds of dollars at bougie health food stores to eat well - so that leaves a lot of people eating the same way without realizing you have so many options. It's all about knowledge and I am here to share a little bit of mine with you!

Most of you have heard that it's best to shop the outside aisles of the grocery store - and it is true! The outer aisles will give you fresh produce, fruit, and protein. Think of the outer shopping being your groundwork, outline, and structure. The inner shopping fills in the gaps and adds a little variety.

  • Set a Budget

I am a big believer in budgets. I've always had one and always been thrifty with my money - it can be daunting at first, but it is crucial to staying on track. Set a budget for your weekly grocery allowance (this does not include eating out) and STICK TO IT.

  • Look for Sales

I don't believe in necessarily shopping around the sales, but I think they can enhance your meal planning. Look for things you normally purchase and see if your store is offering a sale or a sale on a similar item. Fresh fruit can sometimes be pricey, but you can score a great deal with weekly sales on varying fruit. It's a great way to try different things, too. Look for specials on fresh veggies, too. I always encourage to stick to FRESH veggies, but choosing frozen can sometimes save you a little bit so don't forget those are an option as well. You can get more for your money or save the extra. Meat is another place there are often sales - meat fresh from the deli counter is a better choice than prepackaged and it can often save you a little, too.

  • Start with a List - and get detailed!

I have made it a habit to never go shopping without a shopping list. And, not any shopping list but a very specific shopping list. Pick a day during the week (let's say Thursday) to write your list. Write out each day's menu for the whole week (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and all of the ingredients it will take to prepare that week's meals.

Check your pantry for items you already have as you decide how to plan your meals. This helps reduce waste and overbuying. Make sure you always have staples on hand and keep them stocked - items like oatmeal, soy/almond milk, protein powder, coffee and seasonings.

Once you have your list complete, it's time to go shopping!

  • Save the Specialty Stores for Small Items

Get the bulk of your groceries at your favorite local store and then if there's a really special protein powder or type of snack you love from a place like Whole Foods or Fresh Market, then make sure you make room for that in your budget and get it! Just because you don't purchase all of your groceries there doesn't mean you can't pick up a couple of supplemental goodies for your weekly trip!

  • Stick to the List

Stick to the list. Don't vary from the list. This can be SO tempting when you see new items or you think, "Oh, I need that!" or you go grocery shopping super hungry and pick up some extra snacks that weren't on the list. I LOVE Kroger's Click-List for this reason - I grocery shop online (based on my list) and that's all I order. Period. This eliminates filling up your physical or virtual cart with extras that could be junk food, soda, sugary snacks, or extra purchases that can push you over your budget. If you see something you really feel you need, add it to a note and put it on the list for next week.

Eating healthy shouldn't be stressful. Plan ahead (like in all things!) and you will see success and know you have the power to choose better options, regardless of your budget!


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