One of the biggest objections I get when it comes to eating healthy is people fearing that they just can't afford it. Eating healthy in and of itself is not expensive. Buying food and then letting it go to waste is very expensive. I have included a few tips below that will help you create a plan and realistic goals so that you don't fall into this trap.
Create a Plan - Take a few minutes and look at your week. What do you have going on with work? Will you be chauffeuring around your kids? Do you have dinner planned with friends? Based on this decide what you are going to eat this week and make a grocery list. Now, I really want you to be realistic with this list. If you know you are going to have a 10 hour day at work maybe you can plan to eat out that night. Or plan to make twice as much dinner the evening before. What I want to avoid is the idea of extravagant dinners each night or bringing your lunch everyday if it's not realistic. When you set unrealistic goals you tend to throw the entire plan out the window at the first hiccup. I would much rather you say, "I'm going to bring lunch 3 times this week" and achieve it than say "I'm never eating out again" and fail the first week. Who knows, maybe after a month you can work up to 4!
Stick to the Perimeter of the Store - Pretty much everything you need can be found on the perimeter of the store. It's those aisles where we tend to get in trouble. Next time you are at the store just look at the cereal isle. It's HUGE and full of neon boxes covered in cartoon animals that are Grrreat! It's terrifying for me to just think about. So stick to the perimeter and then just dart into the interior for something here and there. You'll know exactly what you need because you have your list from tip #1.
Buy in Season - Produce that is in season is going to be much less expensive and better for you. It is less expensive because there is more of it and it is better for you because it hasn't traveled as far. Grocery stores will stock the produce that is in season right at the front of the produce section so you don't have to know before you go.
Organic? - In a perfect world I would want everyone to eat all organic, however, I understand that this isn't in everyone's budget. When it comes to choosing where to spend your money, my advice is to start at the top of the food chain. Always choose good quality meat, fish and poultry. Next opt for organic produce where you will eat the skin (i.e. strawberries) and after that produce where you won't eat the skin (i.e. oranges). Grains should be at the bottom of your list as there is little difference when it comes to these products.
Purchase the Store Brand - Most stores have an in-house brand. These products tend to be substantially cheaper because they don't spend money on advertising. When possible, opt for these over the name brands. This, of course, just applies to food and not jeans. Nobody gets between me and my Calvin's...do people still wear those or just me?
Eating In food is based on all organic, non-bulk, non-sale, and then I
added a little for good measure. The Eating Out prices are pre tax,
tip, and 100% correct according to the nice people I spoke with at
Starbucks, Subway, and Thai Time.
So even with the buffer, and only modifying your eating during the week you are looking at a $300 savings per month. That is enough to treat your friend to dinner at the Prado and still walk around with $200 in your pocket.
enough I'm not even going to go into the nutritional benefits of the
simple switches above, but they are even more substantial than the
financial ones. Instead I'll tell you how my client's story ends. She
and her husband are having a blast cooking and spending time together,
she is moving towards her weight loss goals, and she mentioned
You are so stressed out and busy that your sleep is either long and restless or solid but way too short. So you wake up and start pounding coffee to get you going. There's no time to eat so by the time you get around to it you are starving. That in combination with the elevated cortisol (stress hormone) causes you to crave foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. Poor sleep, caffeine side effects, and blood sugar imbalance from poor nutrition finds you tired, moody, and finding it hard to concentrate.
This is a cycle in which too many of us find ourselves. There are, however, several things that you can do to stack the cards in your favor and regain control.
1. Cut out the caffeine after 2pm. OK, I know that i just lost half of you! I'm not saying get rid of it all together. Just switch to decaf in the afternoon. Caffeine stays in your system for 6 hours so even if you are one of the people with a caffeine tolerance it will negatively effect your sleep.
2. Increase your B-vitamins. B-vitamins support the entire nervous system as well as our stress response. They also aide in energy production so you will feel a natural increase in energy. Food sources include: liver, soy, broccoli, beans, lean meat, sprouted grains, salmon, nuts, and eggs.
3. Don't forget to eat, especially breakfast. I know I sound like your grandma but it really is the most important meal of the day. It will start your day off with good fuel and help you focus. Stock your pantry and office with easy options like oatmeal so you can make sure that you always have something on hand. While I'm at it, don't forget your jacket and would it kill you to pick up the phone every once in a while?
4. Make sure everything you eat contains protein. Protein supports brain function, which in turn impacts mood, behavior, and concentration. It will also give your sustained energy and decrease sugar cravings. No need to go Atkins with your protein (in fact, please don't!) but just include some with every meal. Food sources include: fish, meat, eggs, nuts & seeds, tofu, dairy, soy, beans & rice.
5. Add in some more Magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. Not the kind that causes you to speak gibberish and pass out, but the kind that helps pull your tense shoulders from your ears and quiet your mind so you can sleep. It is also one of the minerals that American's are most deficient in. I recommend supplementing with a high quality Calcium/Magnesium Citrate
before bed. It will also help with muscle soreness from all the exercise you are also doing to relieve stress!
Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition, healthy weight loss and vitality.