FoodNutritionPersonal HealthWeight Loss

Eating Healthy on a Budget

People have told me they cannot eat healthy on a budget. These same people think nothing of spending $13-20 for one fast food meal and get take out 2-4 times a week. This post takes portions of my grocery bill and splits it across the cost per meal.

Before the Store

This past week, we decided our meat-based proteins for the week would be chicken, turkey, and pork. Because we are two people wanting a variety in food instead of mass cooking the exact same thing for every meal, we go to the local grocery store. We also don’t have a deep freeze, so only purchase enough for the active week. If you are extremely budget concerned, look for deals in store and online. I would also recommend going to stores that sell in bulk, such as Costco if you are feeding four or more people.

For two people, we spent $28.70 to get: 2 small pork tenderloins (on sale for $6.55 total); 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts ($10.17); and 2 pounds of 99% lean ground turkey ($11.98). From a produce perspective, we bought one large can of diced tomatoes ($2.99), one package of mushrooms ($2.99), one large box of spinach ($3.99), a large bunch of asparagus ($5.79), and 2 broccoli crowns ($0.98). Other items we keep in the pantry include white rice ($3.99) and cans of veggies which we buy for as little as $0.69 per can.

Healthy Meal Planning

Sound familiar? It should. If you do not plan for meals, you are planning to fail yourself.

The three common meals I make are: chicken breast with a vegetable; ground turkey with veggies mixed in; and a breakfast base of scrambled egg whites. Here is a snapshot of my breakfast and lunch today:

Breakfast

Food Item Cost Purchase Quantity Meal Portion Meal Macronutrients and Calories Cost per Portion
Egg whites $4.99 32 ounces 6 ounces 19g protein
1g carbs
0g fat
88 calories
$0.63 (1 cup uncooked is ~6 ounces cooked)
Asparagus $5.79 1.5 pounds 1 ounce 1g protein
1g carbs
0g fat
6 calories
$0.24
Mushrooms $2.99 8 ounces 2 ounces 2g protein
2g carbs
0g fat
12 calories
$0.75
Ezekiel bread $4.49 20 slices 1 slice 4g protein
14g carbs
1g fat
80 calories
$0.23
Total calories: 186 Total cost: $1.85

Lunch

Food Item Cost Purchase Quantity Meal Portion Meal Macronutrients and Calories Cost per Portion
Boneless skinless chicken breasts $10.17 3 pounds 3 ounces 26g protein
0g carbs
3g fat
140 calories1 ounce is 47 calories
$0.63
Broccoli $0.98 1 pound 2.5 ounces 2g protein
5g carbs
0g fat
25 calories
$0.25
Long grain white rice $3.99 2 pounds 1/2 cup 2g protein
22g carbs
0g fat
103 calories
$0.28 (2.5 dry cups created 8 cooked half cup portions)
Total calories: 268 Total cost: $1.16

For dinner, I had the ground turkey mixed with diced tomatoes, spinach, half an avocado, and half a cup of black beans. This came to 308 calories (31g protein, 31g carbs, 8g fat) and $2.70.

My total meal spend today was $5.71 and 762 calories. While this is slightly on the low side, I have protein shakes around my workouts and this leaves me room for snacks, such as carrots or a banana. I also do meal prep for my husband who consumes almost double my portions. For him it is ~1500 calories and an $11.50 day. Total cost to feed the 2 of us is a little over $17 per day. Rounding up to $22 a day for coffee and the odd other item, this is a $110 work week for 2 adults. One person could spend this much on fast food in 5 days across 4-15 meals and consume 1310 calories in one meal alone.

Reasons or Excuses

  • Is it because you don’t plan when you go shopping? – write a list
  • Is it because you don’t measure portions when serving food? – buy measuring utensils and a scale
  • Is it because work keeps you busy? – make time…put time into your calendar if necessary
  • Is it because you have kids, who keep you busy? – make food time bonding time and pull the kids into the food prep and educate them on healthy eating choices

If you have kids, be the adult and shape the diet for the house. Don’t tell me that your kids will not eat (by choice not allergy) certain foods. If you need help with different flavors, find options such as Flavor God to mix things up.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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Losing Weight Is Easy

I never ever thought I would say or believe it, but losing weight is easy. Many people say they need to lose weight. Many more people have been told by doctors that they must lose weight, yet 46 states report obesity rates of over 25%. Like anything else in life, losing weight consists of parts, steps, or phases. Step one, which is definitely the hardest part, is mentally owning it. The most important aspect of weight loss is patience. It takes years to put weight on, so be patient to take it off.

My Moment

At my heaviest, I knew I had to lose weight. I didn’t have diabetes or any life threatening diseases, but I had overall body aches and wicked plantar fasciitis in both feet. I was also generally miserable. Sleeping was uncomfortable and very restless. Standing was impossible for more than 15 minutes. Walking – which I love to do – was 30 minutes maximum.

My “what the hell have I done to myself?” moment was the black and white picture taken of me during RSA USA 2016. It brought me to tears. I knew I had to do something and stop with the excuses.

Eating Less or Moving More

Joining the gym was the next step. I have joined gyms before and had trainers before. I have also done weight loss programs before. Both yielded partial results. Neither were performed at the same time. When I joined the gym in 2016, because I said my goal was to lose weight, my trainer discussed nutrition at every session. As my trainer pushed me physically, and my body was struggling to keep up, I started to listen. I didn’t think my diet was all that bad. I also thought that since I was moving more, the weight should simply fall off. Logging my food and discussing food choices and alternatives was a wake up call.

People that have been fit or healthy most of their lives do not realize how difficult it is for an unhealthy person to bring the world of nutrition and exercise together. Advertisers promote weight loss programs or gyms, but never do they collaborate. Why would they? The long term success rates of weight loss only programs have guaranteed continued revenue. Someone physically moving, but not changing nutrition for complete improvements guarantees continued gym memberships.

Reminders

  • Step one – mentally own it.
  • Ongoing patience is required.

It took me over 20 years years to hit 260 lbs, but it only took me 11 months to lose more than 100 of it.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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ActiveNutritionWeight Loss

Owning Your Excuses

Poor You

You have excuses. You feel like crap. You are constantly tired. Your kids take up all your time and you can’t make time for you. You do so many things for so many other people. You are not healthy and possibly overweight. During the week, your life revolves around work. Because of your week routine, your diet consists of coffee and pastries for breakfast, burger and fries for lunch, and maybe another form of take out for dinner. If you are having a good day, maybe you prepared your dinner at home.

Over the past few weeks, I have blogged about ways to help you drop the excuses and take steps to make your life healthier during the course of one week. The posts were broken down as follows:

  1. Preparing Healthier Weekly Meals
  2. Working in an Office
  3. Eating on the Road
  4. Planning Multiple Workouts
  5. Maximizing the Commute

These five articles are concepts to help you become a better you. If you want to stop feeling like crap or feeling tired, do something. Change something.

No Excuses

My life didn’t change overnight. Over the course of several weeks I took steps to own me using the concepts in my previous articles. The first part in fixing me was getting me moving. As I got moving more, I really wanted to lose weight and feel better, so I started logging my food to better understand why the weight wasn’t dropping faster. I honestly didn’t think my diet was all that bad. Was I ever wrong. Many meals averaged ~1000 calories and my macronutrient ratios (proteins, carbs, and fats) were terrible. I used this data to make changes.

I might not be a nutritionist, but I have successfully become a healthier person using the tools I have shared. If you are looking for help in getting moving and feeling better, drop the excuses and call me.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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FoodNutritionWeight Loss

A Week In a Healthier Life Series – Part 3

Eating on the Road

While the advancements in technology have made remote working and teleconferencing easier, many people still must travel for work. If you know where you are going and have an idea of your schedule, you can plan your diet.

Failing to Plan

Even though it has been a while since I did a lot of travel for work, when I did it years ago, I failed to plan. I have no excuses. I knew where I was staying because it was always the same hotel working for the same company. Within walking distance there were a couple of restaurant options. Within a quick car ride, there were shopping centers with grocery stores and healthier restaurants. I could have gone to the grocery store and bought snacks to keep in my room. I could have had a small fridge placed in my hotel room for free. Instead, I ate out of vending machines and ordered room service when I was starving – resulting in very unhealthy food choices.

Planning to Not Fail

When I was down ~70lbs, work had me spending almost a week in Vegas for a company conference. I knew where I was staying and what my days were going to be like. The only unknown was dinner plans. Thankfully I have been there enough that I know restaurants and menus to plan accordingly. When I landed, I checked in to the hotel, dropped my stuff in my room, hit the gym to walk off the effects of the travel, and then I went to a nearby store and bought snacks.

This coming weekend, I am going to be traveling back to Las Vegas for the GRRRL Live event. While it is only going to be for a few days, I am planning my food. Because I have only stayed on the strip, I have mapped and researched restaurants and grocery stores near my hotel. My plan is to have healthy snacks with me so that I can maximize my time at the event and not binge on crappy food. The event even says “Snacks: We’ll have snacks in your swag bag, but for those of you who need ALL the foods, we recommend coming geared up with extra snacks.” No excuses – I have been warned.

If you must travel, spend 10 minutes researching where you are going. Whether you go for a day or a week, you need to eat – preferably healthy. The Internet is a fabulous research tool that can help you eat healthy wherever you land. No excuses – Google for your health and diet.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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