Many people don’t eat healthy because there is an enormous misconception that it is more expensive. I’m here to tell you that is far from the truth. My boyfriend and I have only been living on our own for 7 months. We don’t have a lot of cash to be throwin around! But I am a firm believer in caring about what you put in your body. Emerging into “adult life“, I have come across some great tips on how to save on your grocery bill, make fresh food last longer, and how to get protein in your diet without consuming any meat at all! This does not mean you can’t eat meat. The “meat free” diet is a personal choice Jeff (my boyfriend) and I have recently made. Not eating meat has saved us money though!
- Don’t Do All of Your Grocery Shopping In One Place
When I first started grocery shopping after moving out I did all of it in one place (Hyvee). I didn’t necessarily care about the prices, I just wanted to get it all out of the way. My mom recently took me to Aldi to pick up a few things and I was floored at how cheap everything was! I was under the impression that Aldi was a store that carried expired food. That was totally wrong. Aldi carries everything you would need, there just isn’t as much of a variety. Aldi is a little bit more work as far as weekly shopping goes (you have to bring your own bags) but it’s one hundred and fiver percent worth it. Now I said Aldi doesn’t carry a huge variety, so you might need to pick up the majority of your items here, and then go to your normal grocery store for the rest.
2. Buy Frozen Fruit/Veggies
I know it might sound crazy, but buy frozen fruits and veggies! After a long day of work you wouldn’t believe how easy throwing a bag of steamer veggies in the microwave actually is! Everyone gets grouchy when they’re hungry and nobody likes to slave away in the kitchen after working all day. Frozen veggies are a super simple add in to any recipe. Frozen fruit is pretty much all I use in my smoothie bowls anymore. Frozen fruits and veggies also come in ORGANIC!
3. Add Spinach/Kale to Anything and Everything
Spinach and Kale are extremely easy ways to add protein to any meal. Having pasta for dinner? Add some spinach to it. Making a lasagna? Add some spinach to it! When you cook spinach in with something it practically has no flavor. Kale is perfect for smoothie bowls. Smoothie bowls can be packed with tons of protein if they include: kale, spinach, and peanut butter! Kale and spinach don’t always stay good for long so FREEZE it! I normally buy a fresh bag of spinach/kale and use it until the sell by date. Once the sell by date has passed, toss the left overs in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer. It doesn’t change anything about the spinach/kale for recipes or smoothie bowls. I wouldn’t recommend using frozen spinach/kale in a salad though.
Use beans in place of meat. This is another tip that works well for vegetarians/ non vegetarians. Beans can literally replace any meat in any recipe! If a casserole asks for chicken try black beans. I recently made a recipe for sweet and sour chicken and veggies, instead of chicken I used chickpeas! It’s not supposed to taste like meat but it definitely works just as well. Black beans work well with almost all recipes. My most impressive bean replacement meal were my black bean burgers. It was my first try at making any kind of veggie burger. It was surprisingly fast and effortless! There are countless veggie burger recipes on the web. I’ll be adding mine soon!
5. Pumpkin/Sweet Potatoes
Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are pretty similar in taste. I love making muffins out of a boxed cake mix and adding a can of pumpkin to it! Pumpkin has tons of health benefits. Sweet potatoes can also be used a number of ways. Make them salty or sweet, whatever you’re in the mood for! My favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes is a buffalo “chicken” recipe (obviously I don’t use the chicken). Just pop the sweet potato in the microwave, take it out and cut it open, then add your choice of buffalo sauce, cheese, and sour cream. Add chicken or beans if you would like. This can be a side dish or a meal in itself!
6. Buy Nuts and Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of iron besides meat. Salted pumpkin seeds are a delicious and healthy snack! Sunflower seeds are perfect as a salad topper. I like to buy unsalted almonds and drop a hand full on top of my smoothie bowls. Many nuts and seeds can also be versatile in the salty/sweet category. If I eat too much before working out my stomach hurts, so nuts and seeds are the best pre-work out munchie!
7. Buy Healthy Grains
Making your own meals can be expensive seven days a week. Luckily there are plenty of fillers to last for weeks! Don’t just buy pasta or rice. Try a variety of grains. I always keep our kitchen stocked with whole grain spaghetti, brown rice, and quinoa! Those are only a few of the many different pastas and grains you can buy. Oats are the perfect breakfast filler. Topping your smoothie bowls with oats or making a bowl of oat meal as a snack works out great.
Eating healthy can be easy and inexpensive. You don’t need to go 100% healthy cold turkey. Start with little things here and there. Try Meatless Mondays, then add another meal in the week that’s meat free. Go to a different grocery store that you haven’t used before. If you know of a farmers market, give it a go! Don’t let the “groove” of things get in your way of exploring new things!