Hey guys, I hope everyone is having a great week so far and having a great Fat Tuesday! Okay, now I am going to be totally honest with you. The first few days of clean eating haven’t been the most fun days in my life. I didn’t wake up after eating clean and feel like a whole new girl. In fact, I felt a little funky for the first two days. I did my research, and I am pretty sure this is just my body getting used to eating all of this clean, healthy food. It misses its processed junk food, but it will get used to my new diet eventually. However, I feel much better today and hopefully will feel even better and more energetic in the coming days. Now with that disclaimer out of the way, I have some tips on how I have planned to eat clean while on a budget.
One of the biggest reasons that I have put off eating clean and healthy for so long is because I thought it would be too costly and time consuming. While it can be a bit time consuming, I did not spend any more than I usually do at the grocery store this week. Something that has been really helpful for me has been to take advantage of deals. Two for one bags of baby spinach? Yes, please. Two for $5 containers of strawberries? Yes again. While these deals won’t be available every week, there will always be something new on sale. I plan on taking advantage of those deals as much as possible. Another little way to save some cash is to plant your own herb garden. Fresh herbs can get a little pricey when you are buying them every week, so I started a little makeshift herb garden on my balcony with basil, rosemary and thyme to help with those costs. Hopefully I can keep them alive in this ever-changing Atlanta weather!
One of the budget benefits I have found from eating clean is that since I have my meals and snacks planned for the week, I have an exact grocery list to shop from. I don’t go to the grocery store and get distracted by the gourmet cheeses or the goodies in the bakery anymore. I know what I am in there for, and that is all I get. Meal planning has all but eliminated my impulse shopping, at least in the grocery store.
Another way that I have found to eat clean on a budget is to make big batches of things I will eat throughout the week. This weekend, I spent a few hours making homemade applesauce, hummus, beans and soups that I can eat throughout the week. Also, making these things on your own instead of buying them will save you some money. A bag of dried beans is very inexpensive and makes a ton of food. I made White Beans with Rosemary and they will be a great side dish or small snack to have all week long. On the subject of hummus, a can of chickpeas is less than a dollar, and making your own hummus ensures you know exactly what is going in to it. I love hummus because there are endless combinations of flavors you can make. This week I made spicy hummus with cumin and parsley, and next week I might make garlic hummus or red pepper hummus. It is a great way to keep your snack game fresh so you won’t get bored.
Another thing to consider is the cost of eating out versus cooking your own meals. It is too early in my 30 days to tell, but I think that cooking all my meals will eventually end up saving me some serious cash. While pizza and drive-thru restaurants seem cheap at the time, they can add up over a month.
So those are a few of my tips for eating clean on a budget, and I am proof that it is possible not to break the bank in order to eat a clean and healthy diet.
Last but not least here are a few of the things I have made so far and loved:
Greek Chicken from He and She Eat Clean - I loved this recipe. I served it with a spinach salad with garlic and olives.
Salsa Chicken from He and She Eat Clean - I love a good crock pot recipe. They are another way to make weeknight cooking easy.
Carrot Soup from Myrecipes.com - If you love carrots, this is the soup for you.
Lentil and Kale Soup - This makes a huge batch and will last at least a week!
Homemade Apple Sauce - I have been eating this for a sweet treat after dinner.
Homemade Spicy Hummus- This recipe is super versatile. You can add any of your favorite flavors.
White Beans with Rosemary - This also makes a ton of food, and I can snack on them all week.
Tonight I am making Quinoa Jambalaya in honor of Mardi Gras! Check back in later this week for more recipes and clean eating info!