Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eating Healthy On a Budget

 Have you ever thought that eating healthy is too expensive, and it’s more affordable to just eat fast food and other unhealthy convenience foods? It doesn't have to be that way. It’s true that healthy food tends to be more expensive than junk food, but it also goes further than junk food. It takes a little extra planning and preparation. 

Food that seems cheap, like fast food, actually adds up over time and takes a toll on your health. By adding a little more food preparation and planning to your day, you will save money on fast food that you end up buying out of convenience. 

Try to think of the days when fast food wasn't around every corner, and pretend like it’s not there.

1.       Start with your staples. Buy whole grain brown rice, 100% whole grain bread, oatmeal, lentils, beans, and whole grain pastas. If it is possible, buy these foods in bulk because they take much longer to spoil than produce. Buy dried beans and lentils, you get more for your money.

2.       Plan your meals a head of time. Cook a meal in a large quantity, say two or three servings, and save the left overs. This saves a ton of money on meals. Try cooking a stir fry of chicken, rice and vegetables on Sunday, so you have dinner for Monday and Tuesday.

3.       Eat more vegetarian meals. Not only will you save money, but will lower your intake of cholesterol and saturated fat. Eat beans, vegetables, and your choice of whole grain.

4.       Drink water. Filtered tap water does not raise your grocery bill like sodas and sugary juices do. If water is a little too plain, try making your own ice tea or lemon water.

5.       Eat eggs. These are one of the least expensive foods, but they are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals.

6.       Make your own snacks. If you make your own granola bars, popcorn, or celery and peanut butter, you will find that a little bit of money goes a long way.

7.       Eat fresh produce that is in season, this usually means it is less expensive.

8.       If you cannot always afford fresh produce, frozen produce is the next best thing, and it is considerably less expensive.

9.       Use your freezer. Freeze bread, left overs, meats, and other things so you will not have to deal with food spoilage and wasting money. You can eat it whenever you are ready.

10.   Make small changes. Notice that instead of getting that four-dollar bag of cookies, you can use that money to buy a bag of apples or something healthy.

You will start to notice that junk food is expensive when you could be spending the money on real food. The least expensive produce tends to be carrots, celery, and spinach which are all great for snacking and lunch.

Is Your Partner Making You Fat?

Is your partner making you fat? A lot of us get comfortable in a relationship and can put on 10 to 15 lbs within the first 2 years. It’s easy to do so when you spend a lot of time together, go out to eat on the weekends, drink together, etc.

 Here are a few helpful tips to help save your weight before it breaks your relationship!

1.Try different foods together. Try cooking healthy meals together and experimenting with healthier options. Also, us women are generally shorter and weigh less than men which means we need to cut our portions way less than our significant other. 

2.You can be together but don’t always EAT together. Every time your partner eats or snacks, doesn’t mean you have to as well. Sometimes we eat if we see someone else eating and not because we are hungry. Eat when it is comfortable for you. 

3.Break out of the rut. It’s easy once you have been dating a while or married for some time to spend your free time going to the movies which means snacking extra, going out for ice cream, or having a late night snack. How about suggesting spending your alone time going for a walk, a bike ride, rock climbing, something active? 

4.Focus on your love life and ignore being tired! Your love life is so important and helps control your weight gain. It is actually proven, an active sex life leads to shedding those extra pounds.

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Cutting Sugar From Your Diet

                Today Americans consumes about 150 pounds of sugar per year. That is pretty horrifying when we consider that Americans consumed about 7.5 pounds of sugar per year in 1700. In our culture, it is easy to have dessert every day. In addition to sweets, sugar is hidden in unsuspecting foods, like crackers, salad dressings, or breads that are not even really supposed to be sweet. Soft drinks are the worst offender however, because a twelve ounce can of soda contains about eight teaspoons of sugar. It only takes four twelve ounce sodas to equal a quarter pound of sugar. Here is some advice on how to cut down on sugar.
·         If you get used to less sugar, you will be satisfied with less sugar. Try cutting sugar intake down slowly. And once you go from three teaspoons to one teaspoon or even one half teaspoon in your coffee, you will be satisfied when you retrain your taste buds. Don’t go cold turkey, just cut down gradually.

·         Use spices to flavor your food instead of sugar.

·         Try stevia, an all-natural herbal sweetener that is 30 times sweeter than sugar. This can be found in health food stores. Other sugar substitute are full of chemicals, so stick to what’s natural.

·         Drink way more water. Make it less boring by adding lemon, lime, berries, or soda water to it.

·         Check food labels. Avoid foods that have high fructose corn syrup. Look for the labels that say “no added sugar” or “Half the sugar” but just make sure these foods aren’t making up for the lack of sugar with artificial sweetener.

·         Set boundaries on dessert. Because desert is so abundant in our culture, we have to be more proactive about our intake of it. For example, try to only have it on weekends, or special occasions. If dining out is not such a frequent occurrence, only have it at restaurants. It seems so harmless, but it’s not something you should be having every day.

·         Try cutting your sweet drinks in half with unsweetened ones. Mix soda water or water with your juice or lemonade, or diet soda with your regular soda. Mix unsweetened tea with your sweet tea.

Go for a walk when you start to feel the sugar cravings. This will switch your focus and stop your cravings for sweets.

 Lindsey Croston
Kurriosity writer/editor