Despite the commercials appealing to “meatatarians,” or hawking products like waffle-egg-cheese-and-sausage breakfast sandwiches (is it me, or is Dunkin’ Donuts inching ever-closer to actually making a Luther Burger?) — I believe most people want to eat healthy.
But wanting isn’t doing, now is it?
The fact is, we live in a society where unhealthy food is typically cheaper and more readily available than the stuff we should be eating. And when you’ve had a long day at work, the last thing you want to do when you come home is cook a healthy dinner for yourself. But hold up — before you drive over to Burger King and convince yourself those “burger shots” aren’t as bad-for-you as the Whopper, look in the freezer. You might have the ingredients for a healthy dinner right there in your kitchen!
Part of the 50 Million Pound Challenge is steering clear of things that are bad for you, and nourishing your body with healthy, good food. For folks who need some kind of structure, there’s Dr. Ian’s 30 Day Meal Plan (which is avalable if you sign up). I’ve signed up because it gives me a general dietary guideline. The recipes are up to me, and that’s the way I like it!
I love trying new recipes, but as my disposable income has constricted, so has my food budget. Gone are the days where I splurged on pricey cuts of meats on a culinary whim. Now it’s all about the title of this post — eating healthy, eating cheap.
My three weekly grocery store staples are boneless chicken cutlets, frozen shrimp, and lean ground beef (sometimes I switch it up for turkey, but my husband can always tell the difference, and he isn’t a fan).
We’re talking lean protein, and versatility.
With those three ingredients close at hand, I can whip up pretty much anything. Do I want Mexican, all-American, Italian, or Chinese? It’s all up to me! And it’s gonna be healthier and tastier than anything I can get at a drive-through lane.
For a super-fast dinner, take for example the delicious, super-fast recipe for garlic basil shrimp pictured above. I got it from one of my favorite Food Network shows, Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger. With the exception of grape tomatoes and fresh basil, I already have all of the ingredients, and served over orzo or a fresh salad with a loaf of French bread on the side — less than 20 minutes et voila, dinner is served.
I try to pair my must-buy meats with veggies that are equally versatile. Every week, I need broccoli, spinach, and I love a bag of already-made stir-fry mix where I can get broccoli slaw, carrots, snow peas, and cabbage all together in one $2 bag.
Black beans are another affordable, versatile must-have vital pantry supply; they can be used in quick Mexican- or Asian inspired recipes, on salads or in stir-fries.
My love of lettuce wraps, stir-fry meals and veggies began long before this journey did, and those kinds of recipes save me whenever I’m about to make a bad dinner decision and I need a quick recipe idea.
This month’s issue of Weight Watchers magazine made me a happy subscriber — not only did it include 54 recipes and a section on inspiring new ideas for chicken, but now the mag’s contents page comes studded with a green dollar-sign logo to tell you which recipes will help you save money while you become healthier.
Online, I recently discovered two great recipe sites — Sparkrecipes, which I can’t believe I’m new to but I am… and BrokeAss Gourmet.com, a bawdy but hilarious take on recipe blogging. Then there’s Cheap, Healthy, Good>, which hey – is all about the weekly menu planning too!
For further fitness inspiration, visit my blog sister Sweet Potato Pie — she’s in the challenge too!
OH and before I forget… this post is all about saving money, but now members of the 50 Million Pound Challenge can make money, too!
The challenge is giving teams a chance to win $10,000. All you need to do is make sure you’re registered at 50millionpounds.com.
Join a team of 10 or more or start your own team — each team needs at least 10 members. Then you’ll be asked to submit an essay about your team and your weight loss efforts and experience. The contest runs from March 1 to June 1.
Good luck to everyone who enters!
Bellas, fellas — how do you eat healthy and cheap?