Most of my childhood I grew up on frozen foods, Churches Chicken as our Sunday lunch tradition and grabbing food on the go because of the involved lifestyle I had as a kid. We had our home cooked meals thrown in there every now and then, but let’s be real, my favorite meal was mac n cheese from a box or a sonic chili dog after a soccer game. You also can not forget that my roots involved greasy breakfast tacos as a staple in my life. This kind of lifestyle was not out of laziness or lack of knowledge in the kitchen, but purely from being busy and living an ‘on the go’ lifestyle. My sweet little self burned too many calories on a daily basis that all the fast food ingested, it still could not keep up with my activity.
TRUE STORY: When I was in 4th grade, my mom took me to the doctor because I was not feeling well. This was pretty abnormal as I did not get sick often and overall was a pretty healthy little girl. Come to find out, I was perfectly fine, I just was not consuming enough calories for my growing body. The doctor then suggested for my mother to take me to McDonalds and feed me Big Mac’s for a solid week. Can you believe that?
I did not grow up knowing what exactly a balanced meal looked like nor knew the definition of organic. The closest I got to organic was sliced apples, but as I got older and transitioned into college, I started truly caring about how I fueled my body versus what was just convenient. I started my journey of health where budget was tight and there was not a lot of money to spare for the so called organic fancy foods.
I remember being overwhelmed with reading every label, looking for the name brands, obsessing over everything being organic and just taking that first step to change. The prices gave me anxiety and my budget told me I could not afford the change. I thought that it would be impossible to eat healthy and I was discouraged, but my passion for nutrition was on fire and I cared too much to let it all go because of the price tag.
I learned to prep, plan and be creative. More importantly, I learned to take charge of my life and make every day count
Here are 5 easy tips to conquer your fears, eat healthy on a budget and seize the day!
- Do not shop when your hungry. This seems silly, but it should not be overlooked. When you are hungry (or hangry) you are tempted easier and cave to what is easily accessible. Plan a grocery list, follow it and check out. Simple.
- Look for sales. You do not need to buy the name brands. Buy the generic brands. They are just as good. If you sit and take the time to read labels, you will realize that you are getting the same nutrition for half the cost. Be smart with your resources.
- Stick to produce in season. This might limit your recipes, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Every now and then treat yourself to something out of season, but go for what you can afford and stay within your budget.
- Cook at Home. This seems like a no brainer, but the less you go out to eat then the more extra change you will find in your pocket. You also will have more control of your nutrition in the process and not have to go through the temptation of what a menu might present to you.
- Plan and Prep Meals. This is one of the most important tips as it helps you plan to succeed throughout the week. I know that I am my most successful when I have stayed to my grocery list and planned my evening recipes for the week as well as planned my lunches. If you have a busy schedule, I encourage you to portion out your meal and have it ready in an easy to go container.
Taking the steps to become healthy can be a big change, but stay encouraged and never give up in the process.
Your body deserves the best.
You deserve the best.