Are you tired of spending too much money on unhealthy food?
Last week I looked at the possibility of young people saving money on food. Long time reader wrote in with an interesting comment on the idea of cooking food to save yourself some money:
“You do know that “If You Can Read, You Can Cook” right? Compared to making it yourself, most of those ready to go meals aren’t that good of a price or even that healthy. But I firmly believe that simple cooking is, well, simple. If you can read the directions on the back of a box of Hamburger Helper or spaghetti, then you can cook that box of Hamburger Helper, or make yourself a nice pasta meal.”
This is true. Anyone reading this can cook and put together a decent meal without going broke. I wanted to put together a mini guide to healthy eating.
I wish I could claim to being good at cooking. The reality is that most of my food is either raw food that doesn’t need to be cooked (tuna, fruits, vegetables, beans, and almonds) or something that can be easily cooked (egg whites or chicken). I cook chicken fairly regularly and it doesn’t take much effort. I buy the chicken at the grocery store, cut it back, put some seasoning on, throw in the pan, cook it up for 15 minutes or so, and then eat it. It doesn’t require any special skills. It does allow me to enjoy a ton of chicken at a low price. It’s certainly cheaper and healthier than the chicken they give you at the local fast food joint.
How can I finally eat well and save money at the same time?
I first wanted to take a quick look at food that has been marketed to us as being healthy when it really isn’t. I wrote about the absolute worst way to save money. Now I wanted to look at the best way to start saving money. Stop buying crappy food that you think is good.
This food is unhealthy and costs too much money for the little value that it provides. I want you to avoid it so that you can save more money right now.
- Gatorade/vitamin water. It’s just all sugar. With the high amount of sugar/calories you put in your system, you’re going to have to run across town with ankle weights on to burn all of the calories.
- Whole grain stuff and cereal. Whole grain is often viewed as being the healthier option. Not sure why. These types of food contain high amounts of carbs and sugar, making them not all that healthy. I can’t believe that cereal is marketed for children as a breakfast staple. This is the WORST food that you could eat first thing in the morning.
- Low fat crap. Not sure why fat has gotten such a poor reputation. Labels now write “low in fat” or “trans fat free” to make their food appear to be the healthier option. In reality, there are many healthy fats (almonds and almond butter for example) and you need some fats in your diet.
- Fruit juices. Look at the back of the box. It’s got insane amounts of sugar.
- Granola bars. Same as fruit juices. Read the ingredients and you’ll see the problem.
What on Earth am I going to eat then?
The first part of this guide to healthy eating covered all sorts of food that you need to avoid. Now we must address the other side…
What’s good food to eat to get in shape fast and not go broke?
“Eat this: meat, fowl, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils.” — Steve Kamb, Nerd Fitness, blog I consulted for most of this post.
I don’t want to get into micro-managing here. You guys are smart and creative enough to figure out how to turn those options into some delicious meals. I’ll throw out a few meal options though.
What about putting some chicken and broccoli/assorted vegetables into the pan?
How about almonds or blueberries for the days that you’re on the rush?
Egg whites and spinach in the morning. You can throw the egg whites in the microwave for two minutes and you go yourself one hell of a healthy breakfast.
As far as the role of food timing in the guide to healthy eating, I have to say that you should simply try to eat when you’re hungry. You should also avoid food before bed, as I’ve been told by experts over the years.
Yes, you can easily get in shape without going broke. As you can tell, it’s not that difficult. You don’t have to go all hardcore with this either. You can eat healthy most of the time and then pig out on the weekends. I certainly love cheat days and drinking some beers with a large pizza. I just want you to try some of this food and see if it works for you. You might notice yourself saving money while feeling better about yourself.