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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spa Week Continues with Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget

Taking good care of oneself has a lot of components: getting enough sleep, eating healthfully, exercising, good skin care, filling one's mind with uplifting music and reading, prayer, and so on.

During this week, which I have designated as Spa Week, I am focusing on eating well. Those of you who are regular readers know that in this area, as in all the areas of my life, I work from a tight budget. A lot of people are fond of using the government's qualifications on how much money should be spent to feed ourselves. Even on the thrifty plan, I find that if I am observant and careful, I can do pretty well on a lot less money. If you are curious about these figures, check out USDA Food Plans.

Here are some of my real life examples and by the way, I have to eat gluten and dairy-free, which can be a bit of a hit to the food budget. I make it a habit to be as flexible as possible in what I eat and drink to get the best available deals. This means that sometimes I am drinking almond milk and sometimes I am drinking coconut milk. It all depends on what I can get at the lowest price. If almond milk has a $1.00 off coupon and that is the best deal going, that is what I will have that week.

About a year ago, my local grocery store was clearing out some Bob's Red Mill gluten-free products, which normally run about $5.00 per bag, down to $1.00 per bag. I purchased several bags of creamy rice and creamy buckwheat and popped them into my freezer. Note, that I paid 20% of the regular cost and even that is much less than a gluten filled hot cereal. The creamy rice costs me 5 cents a serving before I add fruit to it and the creamy buckwheat costs 8 cents a serving!
I bought these a year ago and
put them in the freezer. 

My favorite way to eat creamy
rice is by adding strawberries
and bananas with a sprinkle
of stevia to sweeten it. 
The fruit I add to my breakfast is usually purchased on sale or when it is marked down to move it out of the store quickly. Again, I am flexible on what I eat so I get the most out of the money I have budgeted for groceries. A plus to this philosophy is that I also have great variety.
My bargain purchase of almond
milk plus protein shake mix and
fruit make for a filling, nutritious breakfast. 







Another philosophy I employ is to accept whatever people want to give me. In this case, I was given five packages of protein shake mix by my father-in-law. He had been sent them by a cousin and he was not at all interested in using them. I was thrilled because these are gluten and dairy free and I am always looking for ways to get low-calorie protein into my diet. Once people know that you are a person who is happy to receive items, you will be blessed with a lot of different things coming your way. I have been given meats of all types, all kinds of produce, lots of dry beans, furniture, clothing, even a car or two!

Another example of eating healthfully on a budget was finding a Kale Vegetable soup mix marked down at the grocery store. I would normally make my food at home from scratch but on this day I was having a busy day and so I was thrilled to find this soup kit for $4.00! Another plus on this was that I got two days worth of meals out of it so it was pretty cost efficient.
I wouldn't normally buy a
kit but this was healthy and
fairly inexpensive. 

All this healthy eating doesn't mean that there aren't any treats to enjoy. I recently discovered the joys of using frozen bananas to make "ice cream".
No sugar, no dairy, no guilt in this treat! Just slice fairly ripe bananas and pop into the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, just pop into your food processor and add a bit of whatever milk you like using for a plain version of banana "ice cream". I made a chocolate version for me and my youngest son by adding some cocoa powder to the mixture. You can add all sorts of tasty things to this for variety's sake. This is a good use of those really inexpensive markdown bananas we all see at the grocery store from time to time.




And there you have it, healthy eats on a budget! Just the kind of food that is called for during Spa Week!

4 comments:

  1. Great tips in this post! Your point about flexibility really hit home. We are trying to cut our grocery budget, and this made me realize that too often I'm tied to the same products and types of food. I could probably shave a few more dollars by being open to eating whatever's on sale.

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    1. I learned to be flexible when we lost over half our income and had to make our limited funds stretch. Now, it is a deeply ingrained habit. : )

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  2. These are some awesome tips, Holly. That is one thing I've struggled with in the past, as it seems (especially when eating out) that the more healthy foods are more expensive. You've opened my eyes to some new possibilities!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Abby. I hear people say all the time that healthy eating is expensive. To me, that was a challenge to eat healthy as inexpensively as possible! Once I changed my mindset, healthy food bargains were everywhere to be found!

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