Healthy Eating On a Budget

by Lynn on April 20, 2010

Many food budgets have been tighter lately. With food costs rising, and paychecks going down here there are many things we can do to stay on a budget and still eat healthy. One of my favorite is eating what’s in season, or eating what’s growing in my garden. I’m always ready for summer to get here because I know I’ll eat healthier, and it will still be cheaper on my budget.

Here are a few of my favorite healthy eating tips for people on a budget.

  1. Clip coupons (watch for double and triple coupon opportunities).
  2. Cook from scratch, pre-packaged food is more expensive, and less healthy.
  3. Don’t eat out too often, it’s a huge budget drainer.
  4. Eat in season fruits and vegetables. They’re cheaper, and they’ll taste better. A tomato tastes way better in July than in January, and it’ll cost you less.
  5. Check out the farmer’s markets, especially for in season local produce. You’ll be supporting local small businesses and saving money at the same time.
  6. Buy in bulk, if you think you’ll be able to use it all. Don’t buy bulk if you think it will be too much, or go to waste. You may be able to split larger quantities with a friend.
  7. Use more whole foods. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was to shop the outside lanes of the grocery store, and avoid most of the inner aisles. If you look at the layout of the grocery, most of the whole foods are around the outside aisles, and many of the inner aisles contain processed foods.

What tips do you have for eating healthy on a budget? Please feel free to share.

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Vegetable Grilling Tips

by Lynn on April 20, 2010

It’s grilling season! I love getting outside and cooking on the grill through the summer. There’s (usually) less kitchen mess, and why cook in the kitchen when you can stand outside on a beautiful spring or summer day and cook your meal?

The best part is when I’m lucky I can get my husband to man the grill, and I don’t even have to cook at all! Or we grill together and talk over our day while we’re cooking.
grilling vegetables
When you’re grilling out usually your thinking about grilling meat, like chicken or steak, but grilling is a great way to cook your vegetables too. You can cook them less and still have a dish that’s loaded with flavor.

Here are some vegetable grilling tips to get you started:

1. When you’re grilling your main dish grill your vegetables too.

2. I like to  skewer my vegetables and make a vegetable kabob. This works great for mushrooms, onions, small tomatoes, peppers, and pineapple.

3. You can also chop them up and wrap them in foil. I love to dice up potatoes, carrots, and onions. Add a little salt, pepper, olive oil and grill.  Yum!

4. Slice large vegetables and cook them right on the grill. This works great for peppers, eggplant, asparagus, and artichokes.

5. To grill corn on the cob, remove the outer layers of the husk (leaving a layer or two on the cob, and soak it in cold water, for about an hour before you plan to grill.

6. For extra flavor marinate your vegetables in your favorite marinade for about 20 minutes before you’re ready to cook.

7. Fresh vegetables don’t always need extra flavor, many are loaded with flavor themselves. To bring out the natural flavors in your vegetables, and to keep them from sticking to the grill, brush them lightly with olive oil.

8. Turn your vegetables regularly, to keep them from burning on one side.

9. Most vegetables are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork.

What’s your favorite vegetable grilling trick?

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Do You Track Your Food Intake?

by Lynn on January 18, 2010

Keeping track of your food intake is one of the most important steps to getting control of what you eat and changing your lifestyle. I know for me it was definitely a life changing experience! I had no idea I ate so much food, or that what I ate was mostly empty calories.

food journal

Just grab a notebook or some scrap paper and keep track of what you eat every day for a week, even before you start to change your habits. Once you have a journal of what you’re eating, work on making improvements, and portion control.

For me it didn’t work to change my diet drastically in one day, but it has worked to improve my diet over time. Journaling my food intake is an important part of that process.

When I quit writing down what I eat, I start to slip back into my old habits. I guess writing things down is my way of being accountable… to myself… for what I eat.

Image: Istockphoto.com

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Healthy Quick Supper Tips

by Lynn on January 15, 2010

There are many nights I’d like to head for the nearest drive through, because there just doesn’t seem like enough hours in the day to get supper on the table. For those nights I like to use some quick but healthy ideas to help me get the family fed.

vegetables

Here are a couple of my favorite tricks:

  • On days when I do have a little extra time I cook a little extra, then freeze or refrigerate the extras to use another night. One food that’s great for this is chili. The first night we have the soup, and another night we might throw it over some baked corn chips with some lowfat cheese for some instant nachos, or over some whole grain pasta for chili spaghetti. Both take minutes to throw together.
  • Chop your fruits and vegetables ahead of time, so their ready to go when you’re cooking.
  • Add some frozen vegetables to a can of low sodium soup to bulk it up a little and make it heartier.
  • On pizza night (which is usually Fridays here), if I don’t have time to make my own crust I’ll use a premade crust, whole grain if I can find it. Then I’ll throw on my own toppings like fresh mushrooms, peppers, olives, onion, tomato, and basil, with a little mozarella sprinkled over the top. Quick and yum! You can also use whole grain pita pockets and make personal pizzas for everyone, still quick and easy!

I just constantly try to think of shortcuts I can take for busy nights, and still put a healthy meal on the table for my family. If you have some favorite shortcuts please feel free to share.

Image sxc.hu

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The 80/20 Rule For Healthy Eating

by Lynn on January 12, 2010

My goal for 2010 is continuous improvement on my eating habits, but my goal for the year is to achieve and maintain an 80/20 balance of good food to bad.

So what does the 80/20 food rule mean? It means that 80% of the time you’ll be choosing healthy foods that are low in fat, high in vitamins, have good low glycemic carbohydrates, and plenty of fiber. These foods include whole grains, most fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, and lean meats.

The 20 part of the 80/20 rule is the 20% of the time you can eat foods that aren’t quite so healthy for you, just because you enjoy them.

Check out this video for even more details on the 80/20 food rule:

I’m planning to follow the 80/20 rule this year with my whole family. I’ll be back to share some of our recipes and healthy eating tidbits along the way.

You can find the book they talk about in this video: Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! at Amazon

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Healthy Eating~ Continuous Improvement

by Lynn on January 11, 2010

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year of course is to improve my eating habits. Instead of making a drastic change or trying a drastic diet this year, I’m going to go for continuous improvement as my diet motto for the year.

healthy eating

I’ve been reading and studying healthy eating for several years, and I’ll do really great for a while, then I fall off the band wagon and beat myself up about it. For the new year this year I adopted a motto, ” continuous improvement” in all areas of my life.

Small changes can make a big difference and they can definitely add up after a while. The bonus is, it’s easier to stick to small changes in your diet or eating habits than it is to try to stick to a life altering diet and suddenly making the change within a day or two.

So stick with me this year while I work on making healthy changes to my own life, and sharing what I’ve learned with you.

Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!

Image: sxc.hu

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IMG_5274

One of my favorite things to do during the summer when the garden and orchard are in full swing is to freeze some of my berries, and peaches to use later in snacks and recipes.

Then in January and February when the snow’s flying I can pull them out of the freezer, and taste a little of summer’s sunshine in the middle of winter. It’s a great winter pick me up.

I love to pull out some strawberries, blueberries, or peaches and add them to a little plain or vanilla yogurt, then sprinkle on a little granola cereal for a home made fruit and yogurt parfait.

I don’t have a specific recipe. I usually throw in about a cup of fruit, about a half of cup of yogurt, and a sprinkle of granola for crunch.

Yum! It’s healthy and delicious.

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Cheese quesadilla appetizer It’s freezing here this weekend, -10` F, brrrr! I have some fun food links to help warm you up this weekend.

Chocolate Avocado Milkshakes~ A very unusual combination — are you brave enough to try it?

Turkey Goulash with Cavatappi~ Can you say comfort food? Delicious, fast turkey goulash with cavatappi pasta.

Chocolate Gadgets~ Who doesn’t love chocolate? Check out these 10 fun chocolate gadgets.

Are you a Nighttime Eater?~ If you or someone in your family is a nighttime nosher, come along with Jean as she explores the whys and what-to-dos.

Busy Family Meals brings us taco soup, a real kid-pleaser, is also a great Once-a-Month-Cooking recipe!

Turkey Goulash with Cavatappi~ Can you say comfort food? Delicious, fast turkey goulash with cavatappi pasta.

Valentine Day Cookies~ For a delicious Valentine’s Day gift, or a special treat.

15 Appetizers and Snack Foods For Your Superbowl Party~ If you’re planning a Superbowl party, or just hanging out at home here’s a list of fun easy recipes for the big game.

Have a great weekend, and stay warm!

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$10 In Healthy Coupons

by Lynn on January 14, 2009

Get $10 in valuable coupons when you subscribe to the Eat Healthy America newsletter. The coupon booklet also has helpful tips and favorite healthful recipes. Sounds like a win win to me.

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Preparing Your Pantry For Weight Loss Success

by Lynn on January 12, 2009

pantry jars What’s in your pantry, refrigerator, cabinets? What foods do you have stashed away so no one else sees you eating them? Guess what? Whether someone sees you eat the food or not, it will still show up on your hips, belly, and behind that you’ve been eating a little extra on the side. So your secret eating binges are not really so secret.

How can you prepare your pantry and fridge to help you in your weight loss goal, and not sabotage you every step of the way?

Here are a few tips to get your kitchen (and you) going in the right direction for the new year.

  • If there’s something in your pantry that calls to you or tempts you every step of the way, get rid of it. Especially if its high in calories from sugar or fat without much to redeem itself in the way of vitamins and fiber.
  • Plan ahead by chopping up your vegetables and fruits as soon as you get home from the market whenever possible. Bringing home that fresh pineapple, or stalk of celery does no good if it just sits in the fridge and turns to juice before you throw it out. If they’re chopped and ready to grab for a quick snack you’re more likely to eat them.
  • When you’re cooking a healthy soup, or some chicken for supper, make a little extra for lunch the next day. That way you have something to grab and heat quick when you’re on the go, instead of heading for the nearest drive through. It’ll be cheaper and healthier.
  • Fill your pantry and your fridge with natural foods, whole grains instead of white flour, look for foods that aren’t loaded with sugar, salt, and fillers. Buy products as close to how they were naturally produced as possible.
  • Check the labels on foods before you purchase them, check the calories, fat grams, fiber, sugar, and nutrients. Make informed purchases at the grocery, then you’ll know what you’re grabbing from the pantry.
  • Buy organic whenever your budget will allow. I know budgets are tight these days, but whenever you can afford the organic version, buy it. Even better grow your own garden and raise your own produce. There’s nothing better than a tomato straight from the garden in mid July.
  • If you need sweeteners use honey, maple syrup, or pure cane sugar. You’ll use less and still feel satisfied.

What tips can you share to help prepare your kitchen for weight loss success?

Image via Stock.xchng

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