Friday, March 23, 2012

Eating Healthy On A Budget

I am a college student and Chris is fresh out of college. It is safe to say that we are working on a budget, as many others are. One thing that I hear a lot is that eating healthy is expensive. It can be if you're not organized about it, and do what I used to do, and go to the grocery without a plan and just grab whatever you feel like it at the moment. This was costly and often led to us having nothing really to make a meal out of. Somewhere along the line I started a new habit of sitting down the day before grocery day and coming up with a dinner menu plan for the week. We have leftovers, wraps and salads for lunch and fruit, yogurt and coffee for breakfast.

Today, instead of a recipe, I'm doing a how-to: eat healthy on a budget

Eating Healthy On A Budget
What You Need:

  • A weekly planner (I bought mine from the dollar section of Michael's, it's magnetic and is always on the fridge) 

  • Cookbooks/blogs/pinterest to search through recipes you may want to try. 
  • A budget (ours is $70 a week, not including dog food or those "I just need one thing" runs to the grocery)
  • Lined paper; it can be any lined paper and size, this is to write your list on
  • A pencil
The Process: 
  1. Gather up your cookbooks and recipes you would like to try. If you're busy like me, you want to plan for quick, easy meals on the days you have a lot going on and longer, more complicated meals on your easier days. 
    1. Example: If you look above you can kind of see that on Friday/today, I'll be making Mexican Casserole. It takes about an hour to make, no big deal on a day I should be home by six. Sunday, however, I'll be out of town most of the day so we're just having leftovers for dinner. 
  2. It helps to plan a couple of meals with similar ingredients. 
    1. Example: Next Tuesday we're having Lentil Tacos, which has a lot of the same ingredients as the Mexican Casserole. This helps cut down on costs. Just be sure to not eat the similar meals back to back. 
  3. Write out your list. If you know the price of ingredients, add that to your list. 
    1. Example: I know the price of nearly everything we buy so I add it to the right side of the page. As we go along, I mark if something was on sale or cost more than expected. This helps us stay on budget and if we end up having wiggle room we get something not on the list that we enjoy such as a nice bread to go with the lasagna. 

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