Making the choice to begin eating right can be a challenge, and for some people a huge commitment. The difficulties can keep you from taking the right path until far too late, wasting valuable years that could have been spent in good health with friends and family.
Fortunately, there are many ways to start eating right and save time and money right away. Fresh fruits and veggies, low-fat and low-calorie snacks, and low-fat cheese are great ways to fight off the cravings. Learn the following four principles of eating well while living frugally:
1. Re-stock your pantry
First, it’s important to throw out all your old junk food habits. You won’t be nearly as tempted to eat a cookie before bed if you have to drive to the store to get it.
Throw out everything that doesn’t fit with your current health plan. If you live with others, ask for their support. Stock the pantry with fresh, healthy ingredients for your favorite dishes. Follow a guide to stocking a healthy pantry, and find what works best for you.
This is obviously easier said than done; willpower can be a challenge. Recognizing when you have unhealthy cravings is an important part of this first step. One possible way to track your eating habits is to keep a journal and log what mood you are specifically in during each meal. When you look at it later on you can see if there are any correlations between how you are feeling and how you are eating. It is common for people to eat more unhealthy comfort foods when feeling stressed. If this is something you deal with, then also put an effort toward being able to recognize what triggers the stress in the first place, and practice ways to eliminate those bad feelings. It could be beneficial for your mind as well as your body.
2. Scope out markets
Shopping in the same old place can be detrimental to healthy eating, especially if you’re only looking for the best deals. If you shop at a new market, at least temporarily, you often become aware of many deals that you would tend to skip right by on your usual shopping route. It can be as simple as changing your routine by taking many paths through a new store.
If you are on a budget or don’t have many other options than a few markets in your area, but do have access to a patch of garden, consider gardening and growing some of your own fresh vegetables and fruits. This is a great solution to having to eat on a smaller budget, and gardening is also a great way to get some physical activity into your daily life. Working hard to grow your vegetables can be so gratifying, and will save you some money in the long run.
3. Develop stock recipes
Every home cook should know a few basic dishes for chicken, beef, pork, and vegetarian meals, as well as several sides. Expand your palate by learning several recipes.
Your approach may vary according to your individual diet needs, allergies, and desires. Find a stock of recipe lists to choose from in order to expand the selection of dishes you can cook at any time. By knowing how to feed yourself and your family healthfully at all times, you’ll be one step ahead of the game. This can save you time and effort in the long run.
If you are not an experienced cook, try anyway. At least put together a meal for yourself. Cooking a great meal for your family may take practice, but don’t be discouraged if things don’t come out perfectly right away. If you are very nervous about embarking on the uncharted territory of your kitchen, look up a local cooking class. They aren’t always cheap, but often with a little research it is possible to find large group cooking classes for a better price than an individual class.
4. Have a backup
When you’re short on time, fast food inevitably feels like the most convenient solution. Beat this at the pass by having a collection of healthy go-to recipes at your disposal. If you know you can whip out an excellent and healthy dinner at any time, you’re less likely to have to resort to something unhealthy for a quick treat.
If you are stretched for time when it comes to cooking, try to devote one night a week to preparing a few batches of healthy soups, freshly cut veggies for snacking, and some protein dishes that can be refrigerated throughout the week or frozen for future meals. This way, you won’t need to spend the money on those frozen food dinners that may not be as healthy as the front of the box may claim, and you can save yourself a bit of time throughout the week with those ready-to-go meals you’ve made yourself.
One good backup meal, even if you wind up eating it several nights a week at first, can be the salvation of your entire diet.