It is no secret that eating healthy can get a little pricey. $20 will get you a lot further at McDonald’s than it will at Whole Foods. Cheaper foods tend to be packed with sugar, trans-fats and preservatives. It is definitely possible to eat clean on a budget but it takes a little planning.
Always plan out what you need at the grocery store and stick to your list. Don’t be tempted by sales and new items. The trick is to buy ingredients that you can combine to create a variety of meals with.
Here are some great staples to add to your grocery list:
- Non-fat, plain, Greek yogurt-A good source of protein to add to smoothies. Mix with natural peanut butter and cinnamon to make a yummy apple dip!
- Quick-Oats-Skip the brown sugar and add flavored protein, almond milk, peanut butter or fruit for a quick healthy breakfast. Combine oats, vanilla extract, mashed banana and toppings to make guilt-free oatmeal cookies! Add cinnamon and raisins or peanut butter and dark chocolate chips for an easy, clean cheat snack!
- Eggs -A great, cheap source of protein. Get creative and add spinach, tomatoes and low-fat feta or avocado, low-fat cheddar and salsa! You can substitute egg whites to cut out the fat but keep in mind, the yolk of the egg is packed with nutrients!
- Salad-It’s all about the toppings. Skip the fattening dressings and substitute salsa or guacamole instead. Some great toppings are chicken, beans, jalapenos, corn, banana peppers, low-fat feta, sweet potatoes, olives, chickpeas, strawberries or almonds! Try putting your toppings in a few Romaine lettuce leaves to make low-carb wraps!
- Low-Carb Wraps-Flat-Out makes great low-carb wraps in a variety of flavors and some with extra protein! Wrap up your favorite salad to keep you full longer.
- Canned Tuna-Some people love it, some people hate it. It is however, a great, cheap source of protein. Mix with plain Greek yogurt, salt, pepper and enjoy on Wasa bread (another great staple) or a bed of greens. Add hot sauce, red wine vinegar, celery, pickles or jalapenos for some extra flavor!
- Veggies-Vegetables can get expensive. Try frozen veggies to save some extra money! Though they aren’t as nutritious as fresh veggies, they are half the cost.
- Turkey or Chicken-Trader Joe’s sells 99% lean turkey for $4.99/lb! Cook your turkey and throw it in a slow cooker with some corn, canned beans and tomatoes (and/or Trader Joe’s canned vegetarian chili) for an easy turkey chili you can eat all week!
- Beans-Though they are a little high-carb, they are extremely low fat and a good source of fiber and protein!
- Salsa/Hot Sauce-The key to spicing up almost any meal without the guilt.
- Rice– Try basmati, jasmine, or brown rice. Make your own burrito bowl with beans, chicken, low-fat cheddar, jalapenos, corn, guacamole and salsa!