We make an conscious effort to eat healthy. Somedays, with our busy schedules, it is not an easy task. But no one ever said life was easy, right? Here are some of the things we do to eat healthy without spending too much on groceries... we all know I am fully capable of spending $450/ month on groceries for our family of 2.
Make a meal plan & a grocery list. We have been using these "what to eat" and "all out of" notepads for years. They stick on the fridge so they are easily accessible throughout the week but keep me organized at the store. If it's not on the list that means we do not plan on eating it and should not buy it. Simple as that. We always take into account work schedules and weekly activities while making the plan so we do not over purchase.
Don't go grocery shopping hungry. Simple. Eat breakfast, make a meal plan for the week (if not already done) then go to the store. We do not hesitate to go to 3-4 different stores (2 of which always have samples galore). Those samples can add up to an additional meal... especially when I go past the pimento cheese 3 times.
Always have a back-up. Life does not always go as planned, those times are usually when we eat the worst. We always have a stock of easy meals of lean protein and veggies in the freezer to make should our plan change. Our fave is salmon burgers (usually without the bun because we do not have any on hand) and steamed broccoli. Simple, fast, delicious, and healthy.
On Pinterest does not mean healthy. I will fully admit, I am obsessed with Pinterest but some of the recipes on there are out of control. I wish I could find a way to filter my screen so I do not see things with excessive amounts of cheese or chocolate. Just because someone else is eating it does not mean I need to. Some of the desserts on there are worse than going to Olive Garden and KFC in one day!
Eat green. I have to make a conscious effort to integrate green vegetables in our meals. Just because we do something often does not mean it comes naturally. Also, just because it is full of vegetables does not mean it tastes bad. Some of our favorite means are vegetarian. Our produce market has tons of produce at a great price. We also get strawberries at Sam's Club because of the great price. If I really need something special I will get it at Whole Foods.
Whole Foods does not always mean whole paycheck. Know your prices. In comparison to Walmart & Target, olive oil is cheaper at WF. As is anything by Bob's Red Mill and 1 gallon of milk. Recently I bought a huge bunch of organic kale at WF for $4. At the produce market a non-organic bunch of kale 1/4 of the size was $3. I got a great deal at WF. Sales and coupons also make everyday items cheaper too, you just have to have a list and know your prices. I make my meal plan based on what seafood is on sale at WF so we can eat quality food at a good price.
Eat whole grains. We are very conscious of the carbs we eat, whether bread or pasta. I will never go carb free so I make sure I am getting some nutritional benefit. I love pizza. Did you know WF has large, freshly made, customized takeout pizza on Thursdays for $9.99. Now you know! I order mine on a whole wheat crust so I feel less guilty. Its healthy and affordable.
Avoid sweetened drinks. I only drink 5 different things: water, wine, coffee, tea, and juice. Water = no sugar. Wine is a treat. I drink my coffee with steamed milk... no syrups! My tea is clear or iced, no sweetener necessary. My juice is homemade and usually contains vegetables. Natural sugar is not the same as added sugar! Most of these you can make at home so are very affordable too.
Write everything down. Like any other goal, weight loss takes effort. I use the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. I always have it with me so I have no excuse. I have one rule, if it goes in my mouth I must write it down. Many restaurants have nutrition into in the app so you can check it out before you even see the menu. Once you see those numbers in front of you, you cannot deny anything. Keeping in mind one bad day does not ruin anything. Everyday you start fresh!
Prepare your own meals. I like my food fresh and from scratch. We love to go out for dinner but limit it to once (maybe twice) per week. Dining out is significantly more expensive and harder to control what goes in your mouth.
Don't buy unhealthy stuff. You can guarantee that if I am behind you in the check out aisle I am looking at everything you are buying. I hate to admit this but I may even be judging your purchases... but I do it silently as it keeps me from making bad choices. I am competitive by nature so I always try to have items as healthy or healthier than the person in front of me. In reality, I do not care what you buy but it helps me to make healthy choices in a world of unhealthy food.
Wow. I could go on forever. Maybe I will have to continue this another day. But I will say, these are mean main reasons I am down 4.31% on my new years goal #1.