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Jason Bethke

By Jason Bethke

Get the Benefits of Healthy Eating on a Budget

08/13/13


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You've probably heard a lot about the benefits of healthy eating. Everyone wants to look and feel better, but sometimes it seems as if healthy eating is only for the wealthy. How can a normal working person afford organic products or take the time to make home-cooked meals? These tips will let you enjoy healthier meals even if you have limited time and a budget that's stretched to its limits.

Choose Your Frozen Foods with Care

Frozen food isn't always bad for you. It depends on what you buy. Avoid prepared foods full of artificial colors and filler ingredients, like TV dinners, frozen pizza, and pre-made sandwiches. Instead, choose frozen, unbreaded chicken tenders and frozen vegetables. You'll get more meals for the price of a single frozen dinner, and you'll be paying for real nutrition, not filler ingredients.

Make Friends with Your Slow Cooker

At the end of a work day, it's hard to find the energy to cook a good meal. However, pre-made meals tend to have lots of salt, artificial ingredients, fat, and empty calories. If you learn to use a slow cooker, you can enjoy a home-cooked meal and the benefits of healthy eating.

A slow cooker uses low heat to safely cook foods over a long period. You can set it up in the morning before you leave for work and come home to a great meal. You can find collections of slow cooker recipes online or in cookbooks at your local library. Slow-cooker meals use low cost ingredients and often feed between six and eight people. This means that you'll have healthy leftovers to freeze for another meal.

Learn a Few Quick, Simple, Healthy Recipes

If you learn four or five basic healthy recipes, you can eat well most nights of the week, especially if you cook enough for leftovers. Try to master a stir fry dish, a pasta dish, a stew, a lentil and rice dish, and a salmon or tuna-based dish. All of these dishes use inexpensive, healthy ingredients. Include vegetables at each meal so that you can enjoy all the benefits of healthy eating. Frozen vegetables are easy to store and cook, and they're inexpensive year-round. To add variety to your diet, try to vary the types of meat you eat or the spices you add to meals.

In Tucson, Arizona, United Way supports a program that teaches families to work together and create healthy meals. They advocate meal planning, cooking together, and eating together. The program puts healthy eating within reach of all families, regardless of background or income.

Eating healthy takes a bit of extra thought. However, you don't need to find a new job or completely change your lifestyle in order to improve your meals and your health. If you learn how to shop for healthy food and to cook meals from scratch, you can enjoy the benefits of healthy eating.

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