Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

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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Vegas Food Planning
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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FoodNutritionWeight Loss

A Week In a Healthier Life Series – Part 1

Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging around how you can achieve a healthier life in a 7 day span. The series will be 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

Preparing Healthier Weekly Meals

Many people view their lives as busy for various reasons including work, children, and travel. Regardless of your work and personal life, you can plan for the majority – if not all – of your nutrition for the week while at home.

For our household, the weekly meal preparation typically happens on Sunday. Depending on our work week and taste buds, we plan for 3-5 days worth of meals. Including full oven cooking time and clean up, meal preparation requires 2-3 hours. Here are sample weekly meals for 2 adults.

Breakfasts

8lbs egg whites, 4 whole eggs, and a splash of 1% milk. For added carbs, wrap the eggs in a light tortilla wrap for ~80 more calories.
Male ~315 pounds: 2 cups for 309 calories; 58g protein, 5g carbs, 5g fat
Female ~145 pounds: 1 cup for 158 calories; 29g protein, 2g carbs, 2g fat

Lunches or Dinners

Option 1:

Chicken breasts with steamed broccoli, carrots, green beans, and spinach/kale mix.
Male: 8oz chicken breasts and 2 cups of veggies for 460 calories; 75g protein, 17g carbs; 8g fat
Female: 4oz chicken breasts and 1 cup of veggies for 246 calories; 40g protein, 11g carbs, 4g fat

Option 2:

Chicken breasts divided into four portions of 4 oz chicken breasts with .5 cup long grain rice and .5 cup peas or corn.

Option 3:

Four pounds lean ground turkey, blended with spinach, diced tomatoes, broccoli, and mushroom split across 2 cup containers.

Extra Protein and Dinners

Plan to cook extra meat because it is great for a quick last minute meal. For example, if you cook extra chicken, shred it up with added veggies and use it in fajitas for dinner.

If you can manage dinner at home, ground turkey or boneless chicken tenders can easily be pan fried and blended with veggies for tacos, fajitas, or stir fries. Frozen seafood can also be defrosted during the day and quickly pan fried at night.

Snacks or Meal Alternatives

For a quick snack, grab fresh fruit such as a banana or apple. Whey protein shakes and bars can be easily swapped in for meals; simply read the labels to mix the proper portions and make sure the nutritional breakdown is best suited for your diet.

Water

Do not forget to drink lots of water. Women should consume 2.7 litres per day, while men should consume 3.7 litres. Purchase a bottle that will hold at least one litre – making sure to drink the complete amount in ~3 hours and repeat. You should be able to drink 3-4 bottles per day.

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

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