At the beginning of the summer I created a new meal plan. I was challenging myself to see if I could stay on budget (buh bye random snacks …).
Cooking for one can be more expensive, believe it or not. So I was on a mission. How could I get the most out of those dollars, feel full, be healthy and most importantly be excited about what I was eating? I am, after all, very food motivated.
There are a few principle guidelines I put in place for this budget wise meal plan.
Three meals a day, made at home. I became more efficient and an awesome side effect is I became more creative when going out with friends. Not everything fun has to revolve around food and drinks, who knew?
No soy, dairy or meat. Organic whenever possible, no preservatives, GMOs or packaged “processed” food. Clean eating is the name of the game when it comes to health and vitality.
Allow space in the budget for dark chocolate (or this experiment wasn’t going to last very long).
Plan ahead, write it down, commit and stay disciplined. Each of these was easier on different days. Thankfully not all were challenging on the same day!
Check my receipts. After I adjusted my attitude to being slowed down, (Ok, I’m a NYer…) it became a game. Especially when I was faced with the number of times I was over-charged at multiple grocery stores! I wasn’t going to work Guideline #4 and then allow a grocery register transaction get me off course. Seriously, a few dollars doesn’t seem that big a deal, until you are budgeting for dark chocolate and then standing in the customer service line for a gawd awful amount of time for a refund actually seems reasonable. By the third time this happened in the same store, I could tell the manager was as sick of seeing me in that line as I was being in it.
After the initial adjustments in attitude and scheduling how to cook and eat, it was really rewarding!
I ate well. I slept well. I had plenty of energy – in fact more because my random snacking went away along with my digestive system over working. I stayed on budget – in fact, I began coming in UNDER budget much to my delight. I had chocolate often. I had fun.
Now, I’m meal prepping for clients and teaching them to save money while they eat super healthy.
Here’s the recipe that initiated me into to the world of kale:
Bag of kale, lightly steamed
Head of organic broccoli, lightly steamed
One sweet potato, cubed and roasted with olive oil, sea salt & pepper
2 tbsp almond butter
1 teaspoon Sirachi sauce
1 tbsp water
Mixed the three ingredients together to taste (more or less of any of the 3 to your palate)
Servings: 3 hearty ones
Prep time: 15 minutes including time to boil water
Cost: $6 or $2/meal (dressing extra – those staples should be in your pantry!)
This meal has more bio available protein than a 3 oz steak and is rich in fiber, potassium and other fantastic nutrients that keep me fueled up all day. Eat it for lunch and I promise you will not crave a snack at 3p (the kale and sweet potato regulate blood sugar levels).