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Eating on a Budget

Healthy eating on a budget is difficult but not impossible. Some practical ideas which may help you save some money..

Spafinder contacted me this week requesting an interview for an article on eating on a budget.  I sent the author a few of my basic thoughts as a pre-interview prep and thought I would let you folks have a copy.   The question was what advice to give people eating on a budget.  Enjoy!

My main thing is that you have enough energy to do the things you want to do throughout the day.  So you are eating to fuel the body at the right times and not over fuel and not fuel with things that will ultimately zap your energy.  Know your personal health issues and allergies and eat to them.  A unique step in my approach is to also to fuel the spirit.   Always include foods you love and yet be adventurous to try something new; if you like it then kudos.  (Some loose science from the Shangri-La diet alludes that the body digests new things differently than our old stand bys and can trigger the body into weight loss. - it is real loose science but an interesting theory.)

From a budget perspective eat as natural and organic as your budget allows.  Making your meals in batch and freezing is more cost effective than boxed dinners or eating out. Planning is important when working on a budget.  Too often we eat by 'What do I feel like having?' approach.  I suggest you go back to the 50's mentality, i.e. if it is Tuesday it must be rice and beans. 

Fix a weekly schedule for the busiest days of the week (for most it is Monday through Friday) and then let your remainder days be free form. If meatloaf Mondays sounds too boring then shift it up to every two weeks plan.  The key is to plan ahead so it is as little thinking as picking up the phone and calling for a pizza after a full day at the office.  If you are a meat eater, consider incorporating a few vegan meals into the schedule like veggie soup, rice and beans, meatless spaghetti or chili and tomato soup with grilled cheese.  I also recommend a weekly large pot of veggie soup and a batch of rice which can be kept in the refrigerator and used in your meals.  Soup before your meal can also cut the calories you eat at the meal.

Always have good snacks on hand, again depending on your health condition and allergies, but if you can tolerate them keep fruits and vegetables, crackers and cheese, pretzels and peanut butter, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt and rice.  Do your preplanned meals at your caloric level and eating plan. 

When food is properly spaced throughout the day to account for your activity level, you should need very little additional food, but you may get in the situation where you feel hungry.  Drink a 12-16 ounce glass of water because it may be dehydration instead of hunger.  If you are still hungry in 20 minutes then have a prepared snack.  Don't eat on the go or grab a few pretzels from the bag because you will blow your caloric and financial budget if you start mindless eating. 

It is all about mindful eating, knowing what you are putting into your mouth and enjoying the look, taste, smell and texture.  Set the table and sit down for even your snacks. Don't do anything else except eat, make it your primary activity for those few minutes. When we do things like eat and drive or eat and watch TV we are so distracted we usually don't taste our food and are left unsatisfied.  Ask yourself as you are eating if there is anything to make it more enjoyable.  The one thing which breaks the rules is talking to family and friends, so if possible socialize- for you singles consider getting an eating group together.  (Ladies be careful studies show we eat more when we are in groups of gals.  I think it is the dessert sharing.)

Foods are tied to memories, for many of us the mention of tomato soup and grill cheese brought back a good memory.  I mention this meal to friends and they say 'oh, yeah!' and go into a childhood memory story.  Incorporate foods that make you enjoy life  and especially ones that you day dream about. If they are high priced financially or calorically, limit them to once every month or two.  But don't eliminate them from your eating plan unless your doctor has them on the 'No it is going to kill you.' list.  If you eliminate them the craving will become greater and your enjoyment will go down.

It is all about pleasure and enjoyment.

Linda will continue her weight loss blog with food and calorie information in her next post.

Linda Bender is a personal wellness therapist.  She uses over 20 holistic life coaching and touch therapy techniques from Reiki to personal training to help you reduce stress and pain so your body invokes its natural healing ability. She is at Bender Healing on Church Street in Phoenixville. Bender Healing provides massage, reiki, reflexology, personal training, nutrition, life coaching and energy medicine.  See www.BenderHealing.com or call 800-706-1354 for more information.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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