My 10 tips for staying eating well while on a limited budget.A reporter asked me for these.
B. When you go to Farmer's markets go at the end of the day and don't be afraid to ask for deals. There may be something perishable that they do not want to re-pack, or tomatoes or fruit with a slight blemish they will let you have a deal on.
C. Visit your cheese shops if you have one in the area. Grocery stores rarely package their own cheese but upscale shops often have odds and ends for sale at a great price. Those little pieces can be added to omelet, grilled cheese, or grated atop a dish or casserole.
2. Breakfast: Learn to make a one egg omelet. Cooked in butter it provides 11% of the protein needed for a day as well as B12. Have with whole grain toast (read labels, most grocery brands are not truly whole grain and often contain added corn syrup and fat.) and a whole orange. If you have leftovers find a way to incorporate them into breakfast. Leftover pizza topped with a poached eggs is a delicious way to start the day.
3.Eat Omega 3's: We are told over and over again to have them but not everyone can afford wild caught Salmon. If you have a fresh fish store seek out Mackerel (Inexpensive and delicious broiled) or Bluefish, both are on the lower end the price scale and great for you. Canned Sardines are another source and also contain Vitamin D, as do canned Clams. Vegetable sources of Omega 3 include Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts. Trader Joe's is often a source for seafood at 3.99 a pound, they sell frozen scraps of fish that allow you enjoy seafood even in landlocked areas.
4. Fiber: Fiber is your friend. No one enjoys being backed up. The best way to get adequate fiber is to shop the aisles. Avoid all processed food as it tends to be a poor source of both nutrition and fiber. Quinoa is a high fiber substitute for rice that contains a lot of protein. Trader Joe's carries the most affordable Quinoa that I have found.
5. Avoid GMO Food: GMO is a big buzzword right now. A lot of people want to avoid Frankenfood but are not sure how. The easiest way is to avoid all products containing corn and soy in any form. That includes Corn Syrup, Corn Chips, Taco Shells and almost everything on the McDonald's menu. Soy is often found in mayonnaise, and under the names
- TSF (textured soy flour)
- TSP (textured soy protein)
- TVP (textured vegetable protein)
7. Eat Your Vegetables: Cabbage and Carrots are your friend. No matter where you are in the country these are often the least expensive vegetables in the market. They are both nutrition powerhouses. Make these mainstays and shop for sales.
8. Get off the Beaten Path: If you have ethnic markets in your city you can often get deals on certain items. Spanish markets have great peppers, tomatoes and avocados at lower prices than grocery stores. If you are lucky to have a local Chinatown there are great deals to be had on produce. Otherwise check the internet or talk to friends and try to find your local ethnic markets.
9. Learn to Season: Season your food. Look for deals on seasonings and spices. No one wants to sit down to a plate of steamed vegetables and brown rice (there are a few people but I won't dine with them) but any vegetable can be put in a wok or roasted and when seasoned with garlic, hot chili oil, curry, or the more subtle tarragon you can wake up the flavor without adding too much salt.
My favorite salt free flavor booster is to puree 1/2 cup ginger, 1/2 cup garlic and the juice of two limes in a food processor or blender. Dip roast chicken or vegetables in this paste and you will not even dream of adding salt.
10. Eat Less, Move More: This is a weight loss tip that works for everyone every time they actually do it. Don't go ON a diet, eat what you love, only less. Add vegetables that you find on sale into the mix to let the fiber fill the gaps. No matter how poor you are, no matter how unhealthy, love yourself. You always take the best care of people you love. Remember matter cannot be created out of nothing, fat needs to be fed.