Start here to transform your diet and save money with this guide to cheap, easy and healthy nutrition
Have you tried “all the diets” and none seem to work? To be healthy and do it inexpensively can become routine if you begin to make it a lifestyle choice of avoiding processed foods. Doing things like reading labels, avoiding processed foods, saying no to sugar (not all the time), eating less carbs in general and overall following most of the guidelines below can start you on the way to a cheap, easy and healthy nutrition plan.
One of life’s must dos is treat your body right by eating a healthy diet. Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy can be easy and inexpensive if you have the proper meal plan and don’t overeat. Studies have shown that eating 25% less through things like intermittent fasting, eating in a shorter window of time or less mid-day snacks makes you more healthy.
If you’re like most people you want to lose weight, have more energy and eat food that tastes good while spending the least amount of money doing it. Following are the cheapest foods that are both healthy and easy to prepare. Once you get these principles into your diet you can begin adjusting based on your journey to find your body’s optimal food choices. As research shows, to lose weight is 80% or more diet and you cannot out-exercise a poor diet.
One note is that I almost always opt for organic products unless the food naturally has an outer lining the blocks the pesticides like avocados or coconuts. Here’s a list of the “dirty dozen & clean 15” fruits and vegetables. You want to buy organic instead of the dirty dozen.
To start, here’s a large list of foods to choose at the grocery store. The right combination of food below can actually save you money over a bunch of processed foods and snacks. You can create your own combinations and I’ll post specific recipes over time if you need help.
List of staple foods for optimal health
Protein (try to always choose “pasture raised” or “grass fed” then “organic” though many companies cut corners):
- Ground beef (grass fed)
- Beef roast
- Whole chicken (pasture raised)
- Chicken thighs (pasture raised or at least organic)
- Salmon (wild caught)
- Sardines (in the can from Wild Planet are my favorite)
- Eggs (pasture raised) I eat a lot of them and these are the best brands – Vital Farms, Handsome Brook Farm, or find a local source that eats diet with no GMO soy
- I’d recommend almost all veggies except the starchy ones like potatoes.
- Eat most anytime:
- Bell peppers (all colors but red has most vitamin C)
- Green beans
- Peas (frozen)
- Yellow squash
- Swiss chard
Oils & Fats: coconut oil, olive oil, Butter (real, grass-fed like Kerrygold), Ghee
Nuts (choose raw organic as much as possible): Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pecans
Beans & Legumes (get organic): black beans, garbanzo beans/chickpeas, kidney beans
Fruits (mostly avoid because too much sugar and buy organic): Coconut shredded, berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries that aren’t incredibly sweet, pears
Bread: sprouted grain bread like Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread since it has low glycemic index
Cheat day(s): Take a day or two each week to eat some of your old vices. Ice cream, cake, starchy vegetables, soda, etc. Just don’t carry it past the assigned day.
Common foods to avoid for optimal nutrition:
- Any foods with refined carbohydrates (even gluten free) like bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, waffles, cookies, muffins
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash and others
- Artificial sugars like aspartame,
- These foods all turn into sugar and raise your blood sugar levels which also cause inflammation, weight gain and other issues
Putting together the meal plan
There’s a lot of philosophies on what meals to eat. Snack often or space out meals? Fast or skip meals? My feeling is to choose either eating a very light (or no breakfast) or a lighter dinner than you probably are now. Start slow cutting out the worst foods in your diet – sweets, processed foods like pasta and chips. Work on filling yourself up with a lot of vegetables you can cook them in grass fed butter and add Himalayan sea salt so it still tastes great.
Before heading out the day, give yourself time to pack up food, water and whatever is needed for work to make it a successful day. Find combinations of items above that work for you then repeat regularly to make things easier.
Eating healthy is important for many things – you can do this!