It's been deeply ingrained in our minds that a nutritious meal has to be high in protein. And protein is taken as a synonym for meat. The organic meats, though safe and nutritious, are so ridiculously expensive that once you see the price, the idea of eating healthy just goes down the drain. So here's the solution: Cut down on your meat portions and buy less but good quality organic meat. Substitute cold cuts with plant proteins like soy patties (Morning star/Boca burgers).
One hard fact is that our diet won't be considered nutritious until we incorporate 2 to 3 servings of fruits and veggies for each meal, there is just no way around it! Here are some tips to stretching your dollar bill without slashing on the nutrition.
- Go local, if you can. Buy fruits/ veggies seasonally at the local farmer's market if there's one near where you live. You will find fresh stuff at a bargain price.
- Buy regular/non-organic veggies and wash them thoroughly with a good quality veggie wash. Water is not enough to remove the chemicals!
- Buy canned beans. You will often find canned string beans, edamame, kidney beans, etc are usually on sale at most of the supermarkets. Some beans are packed in salt water so don't forget to wash them well before use.
- Grow veggies in your backyard, if you have room. Spinach, carrots, tomatoes, lemon, strawberries and herbs like basil and cilantro are commonly grown in the backyard and the time/efforts you invest in it is worth the money you save. Besides, you get to have it fresh!
- Plan ahead of time. Make your grocery list for the week ahead. Start with high fiber complex carbs like Kashi, proteins and then the fruits and veggies. Look for the food coupons or find out which foods from your grocery list are on sale. Decide a day/time for your grocery shopping and never shop on an empty stomach. The best time to shop would be a weekend afternoon after a brunch/lunch so you're not tempted to buy impulse items.
- One of the most amazing super foods that became the talk of the town shortly after finding its way on the aisles of your local supermarket is quinoa. It's rich in antioxidants, fiber and other heart-healthy micro nutrients, proven to lower bad cholesterol, improve digestion and increase immunity. A 1-lb bag of quinoa costs about $3-$5. Add it to your favorite recipe. You can also use it as a rice substitute or as morning cereals.
- Flax seed: 2lb bag of flax meal costs approximately $5. Add a Tbs of it to your morning cereals, salad, eggs or yogurt for a nutty, crunchy flavor and get your daily boost of heart healthy omegas, fiber and plant based amino acids.
Prachi Baxi has a double masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition, she is a Nutrition Specialist certified by the American College of Nutrition and a Certified Yoga Instructor. Her immense experience in the field of Ashtanga Yoga coupled with her Nutrition knowledge she helps people who need to and want to change their way of life, become fit and discover their newer selves. She is a Fitness Counselor who has a passion for life and teaches yoga with intent and compassion. Prachi can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.