Yoga for autistic kids, Getting skinny with “fatty” foods, and being Organic on a budget. Eat recommended amount of veggies for less than $2.50 / day. Mission: definitely possible.
Living the Organic lifestyle seems to expensive, doesn’t it? And the food doesn’t seem appetizing. You’re thinking Kale smoothies, dried berries, lots of unsalted nuts. Do you often wonder, “how do people eat that? How do they live that way?”. The answer is, a lot of people don’t. Being Organic is often associated with lots of biking, hiking, smoothie making, sustainable farming, money spending, Subaru driving, REI gear wearing, Whole Foods shopping, non meat eating individuals. We’re here to tell you that’s actually a very small percentage of people who enjoy Organic products. Most importantly, you DON’T need to be one of those people! We explore how you can incorporate small changes while staying true to yourself.
1. Prevent & enjoy an active, healthy retirement
You’ve heard the saying that every cigarette takes away 5 minutes of your life. Now reverse that for eating fresh fruits and vegetables and think about adding minutes ON to your life.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) says that healthy diets with fruits and vegetable may prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.
While some people are just genetically predispositioned to acquire certain diseases, eating fruits and vegetables help boost your immune system whether you’re fighting the flu or simply living your life.
2. Doing the math
Did you know that you can consume the daily recommended amount of vegetables for about $2 to $2.50 / day (USA TODAY)? Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most natural and affordable way of preventative medicine, and it costs you under $2.50 / day. Proper nutrition costs you PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR compared to the costs of prescription drugs, doctor visits and expensive health insurance (Natural News).
Powerful nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin D cost pennies and can be found in most vegetables and fruits, so there’s no need to take additional supplements if you’re already eating foods that contain them.
While in some parts of this country fresh vegetables do cost more, there are currently many options for fresh produce, including SPUD.COM, Amazonfresh.com, Greenpolkadotbox.com, and freshdirect.com. In most cases, many of the fruits and vegetables found in these delivery services cost less than high end specialty grocery stores. Amazonfresh also offers free delivery if you spend a certain amount, so if you have a big family, this might be advantageous. Costco is also a great place for fresh produce, although not all have an Organic section. When you can, try to spot the GMO Free sticker on fresh fruits and produce.
Lastly, be that person at the grocery store (or online) who busts out their iPhone calculator to calculate price per oz or price / lb. Don’t be ashamed of looking cheap. In the end, your wallet is affected and not anyone else’.
3. Get skinny with it.
Find out what keeps you full and never allow yourself to starve. Develop healthy eating habits first, then start incorporating more fruits and vegetables (if you haven’t already). While crash dieting can help you lose weight fast, it’s also easier to gain those pounds back (and more) when you start eating regularly again, because your body goes into starve mode and stores extra fat since it’s not sure when you’ll have your next meal.
Here are some ‘fatty” foods that make you feel full, which sometimes also means you can spend less.
- Fatty Fish – Fish contains lots of good, unsaturated fats (Omegas) that are important for your brain and can also make you feel full (not hungry). According to Livestrong, a 3 oz salmon poached salmon fillet contains only about 95 total calories. Most salmon fillets are 6 oz, so double that, and load the rest of your plate with leafy greens. While wild salmon can be expensive, you can always steam cod or tilapia with just sesame oil, some soy sauce and garnish with green onions. You’ll be surprised at how refreshing and delicious it is.
- Leafy Greens – Leafy greens are virtually fat free and you can eat entire CUPFULS of them with very little calories. A cup of cooked spinach (from fresh) only contains 74 calories but is chock full of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Iron, and Protein. Also, a lot of these calories are burned off in the digestion process, so you’re literally metabolizing what you just ate while you’re eating. How exciting is that? Spinach is also inexpensive, so buy lots.
- Citrus Fruits - grapefruit, lemon, papaya, guava and tomatoes are all rich in Vitamin C, which helps the body process fat faster. They also contain loads of water content so we feel full for some time. Papaya is not cheap, but lemons are. Make dressing with olive oil and lemon juice – you’ll be hitting your fruit and veggies intake goals by doing this.
- Oatmeal – it’s cheap and it’s fast but ONLY IF it’s the old fashioned, non sweetened kind that you just add water to. Premixed oatmeal is full of sugars (carbs) that are hard to burn off.
- AVOCADOS! – Although it’s 70% fat (yes, you read that correctly), these are the GOOD kind like when we talk about FISH. These are necessary, monounsaturated fats that promote healthy cholesterol levels and make you feel VERY FULL. The kind if fat in avocados is entirely different than processed, saturated and trans fats, and can actually help in losing weight. Eat an entire avocado with a tiny amount of salsa on top and you’ll be surprised at how full you feel after. This is one of the best snacks!
4. Veggie hater? Not if it’s stir fried…
Fresh vegetables are not present in every household in America, and that’s a huge problem. One of the reasons is the way it’s cooked. Most people steam vegetables and just add salt and pepper. Once in awhile this is OK, but if you had to incorporate veggies into your diet everyday, this is boring and tasteless, and your family will lose interest in it. We have advice for you: STIR FRY IT! Try using coconut oil for Southeast Asian inspired dishes as it can withstand serious heat. Sautee with olive oil on medium so it doesn’t burn.
Instead of servings your veggies and your protein separately, combine the 2. Slice up a small amount of meat to simply “add flavor” to your veggies. Next, julienne or slice your cabbage (regular or napa), broccoli, or cauliflower, add some soy sauce, and voila! You now have a tasty dish that is LOADED with veggies and contains some meat, balancing out your meal.
If stir frying is not for you, try to bake them in olive oil and fresh spices. The point is, try to cook them differently and find you and your family’s favorite way of cooking them. You can get more ideas from this WEB MD article.
Oh, we already know your excuse. “You don’t have time”. Actually, making everything can save you time if you learn to manage it correctly. Say you prepare everything Sunday. For the next three week days, toss everything together. It takes minutes, not hours, because you’ve already prepped it. Or make a huge batch of stir fry on Sunday and eat it for the next three days. This also allows you to bring cooked food to work, saving you money and calories.
These are the things you should always make from scratch -
- Rice – be it brown or white or wild, buy in bulk and boil it yourself. Flavored rice is expensive (because someone else has put in the time and you’re being charged for it) and it’s unhealthy. Have you ever seen what’s in the ingredient list? It’ll surprise you. A 15 lb bag of brown rice sells for $27.00 on Amazon while a pack of 12 cooked brown rice packages cost $21.00 (for a total weight of 5.55 lbs). You do the math.
- Salad Dressing – Salad dressing is extremely easy to make. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a dash of dijon mustard to “glue” it all together. No added sugars or calories. Or, dress with fresh lemon juice and sprinkle some salt and fresh black pepper on arugula. Some of the best ideas are the simplest ones.
- Pizza dough and bread – Make it for less than $0.30 / pizza. You control the ingredients and your wallet.
- Salads – Staff member Carrie makes a chicken salad that feeds her entire family of 4 for $20 (at $5 / person) that tastes just like their favorite one at California Pizza Kitchen (at $12.25 / person).
- Rotisserie chickens – If you love buying Rotisserie chickens at the store, make your own. Put an entire chicken in the crock pot in the morning and go to work (but you should brine it first for flavor). Come home and serve your family.
Walking is free, low impact and good for your waistline. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking can help you:
- Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Stay strong and fit
Yoga is good for joints and muscle pain. Get a yoga video, learn the moves, and do it at home with the family! Help your kids improve their concentration by being the “teacher”, or have them be the teacher! You can learn about the benefits of Yoga from WEB MD here. Studies also suggest that Yoga may improve behavior of kids with Autism.
In short, being healthy on a budget does mean spending more time in the kitchen an at home, but it’ll be worth it for you and your family! You will feel the benefits of eating healthier now and your wallet will experience the benefits later on in life. It’s not instant gratification, but instant gratification is what leads so many to weight gain and diet related diseases. So take some time to work on your life so you can live it.