How to eat tasty, healthy food on a budget

7 Budget-Friendly Healthy Recipes For The Cooking Illiterates

Frugal is fun.

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Quickly after moving into my first apartment, I realized that money doesn't go far and eating out can, sadly, break the bank. (I also realized I might have taken meal plans for granted.) Nonetheless, I've found tasty recipes that have helped me save money without cutting things out of my diet that I enjoy like granola.

I've watched youtube videos and read countless articles on budgeting, meal prep, and once a month grocery hauls. The majority of people documenting their budgeting experience had two things in common that they believe saves them the biggest chunk of change.

The first is staying out of the grocery store. "Once a month grocery hauls" or even bi-weekly stops are a common thing when trying to save money. Less shopping = less spending. Stacey Flowers has a very simple break down of how she keeps her grocery budget as low as $50 a month!



The second strategy that seemed to save many of the bloggers money was meal prepping and convenience. I get that not everyone is a great cook, but if you learn to cook just a few of your favorite meals well enough and keep them ready to eat in your fridge, it's hard not to eat from home. Just taking that extra time to make things convenient for yourself eliminates the excuse of eating out because you were in a hurry. I mean, you're practically paying yourself.

1. Homemade Granola

NBC Dietetica on Instagram: “¿Probaste la granola? ¿Sabes cuales son sus beneficios? -Aporta fibras y facilita la digestión -Controla los niveles de azúcar en sangre…”

This may be one of my favorites and I ALWAYS make sure it's in my cabinet.

3 Cups Old Fashioned Oat Meal

1 Cup of Whole or Sliced Almonds

Mix the Oats and almonds in a bowl, then place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minuets.

While the oats are baking, in a large bowl, mix:

3/4 Cups of honey

2 tsp of Coconut oil (I've used 4 Tbs of melted peanut butter when I didn't have coconut oil an it worked great!)

1 Tbs vanilla

1 Tbs of cinnamon

Remove Oats from the oven and blend all ingredients in one bowl. Stir like crazy!! (It should be thick and bulky)

Then, spread the granola back onto the cookie sheet and return to the oven but turn the oven off at this time. Let the granola finish cooking as the oven cools down.

**Optional** You can also add any dried fruits, seeds, or other nuts to make it into your favorite combo!

2. Ready-to-Go Baked Chicken

***Budget Hack*** If you want to make the extra effort to save a few dollars, grocery stores put out their 'reduced products' out early in the morning. Head to Walmart around 8 a.m. for the best prices and look for the yellow stickers in the refrigerated meat (poultry, pork, and beef) section. Nothing is wrong with the reduced chicken, it is just getting close to it's "sell by" date. Stick it in your freezer as soon as you get home and it'll be good for a few months!

What you'll need:

Chicken breast or chicken tenders

Your favorite seasoning or marinade

Olive oil

A cookie baking sheet

What to do:

Coat your thawed chicken with your favorite seasoning. Even something as simple as salt and pepper will work.

If you choose a liquid marinade, place the chicken in a zip-lock bag with the marinade and let it sit for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Put as many on a baking sheet as you think you will eat for the week.

Place in oven at for 10 minutes. Then flip over and cook for about 15 minutes, but most importantly until it isn't pink anymore and the juices running out of it are clear.

After it is done cooking and cooled, you're left with a few different options so you're not stuck eating the same meal every day. You can dice it to keep for a salad. If you marinaded it in Teriyaki sauce, you can pair it with brown rice. If you put marinara and cheese on your chicken, you can pair this with whole wheat noodles or homemade whole-wheat garlic bread which is so simple to make.

Healthy, budget-friendly garlic bread: Whole wheat bread slices cut in halves. Coat each side with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes, flip each piece over. Continue to bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown.

3. Peanut butter Power balls

One word. Addictive. These are great for a quick breakfast and/or snack. They are full of GOOD things for your body too!! Like good carbs and fats, and you can add protein powder for that extra power punch!

What you need:

3 cups of Old Fashioned Oats

1/3 Cup of Honey

1/2 Cup of your favorite peanut butter (I like crunchy because of the added texture in these)

And past that you can add what any extras you think you'd like! A few great options: mini chocolate chips, chia seeds, flax seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, nuts, or protein powder (maybe ad a little extra honey for consistency with this one).

THEN MIX!

Make into balls, refrigerate and that's it, you're done. :)

4. Roasted Vegetables

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There's a great store named Aldi's that has different fresh produce each week. It depends on the season, but during the summer, zucchini is a little as 99 cents for a three pack. Whether it's zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, etc.

Slice or cut the vegetables and spread them on a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Coat the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Place them in the oven for 35 minuets. DONE!

5. Banana pancakes

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Literally 4 ingredients. 1 egg (or 2 egg whites), 1 banana, vanilla, and baking powder. Mix all of these together and cook in a skillet like you would a pancake. You can top them with honey, cinnamon, or even peanut butter to keep them healthy.

*Optional* You can also add a scoop of protein powder into the mix for an added boost in the morning.

6. Burrito Bowls

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These can be made so cheap and so so good. Layer your bowl with cooked brown rice, cooked black beans and then heat in the microwave. Then, add salsa, lettuce, guacamole, or just whatever you want as toppings.

This seems like such a basic meal but I had never thought about it until I watched Stacey Flowers YouTube videos. I have started cooking my rice in chicken or beef broth instead of water to give it a little extra flavor.

7. My Ultimate Favorite: Banana Ice Cream!

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This recipe blew my mind when I first made it. When I tried it, I couldn't believe that it tasted exactly like ice cream and it's very contradictory to real ice cream, as it's pretty darn healthy.

All you need is 1 banana, sliced, then frozen. 2-3 Tbs of Honey, 1 tsp cinnamon and anything else you think you may like in it or on top of it.

Options: Peanut butter, vanilla, chocolate chips, nuts, or you can also add protein powder.

Place the sliced, frozen banana, honey, and cinnamon in a food processor. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

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Understanding What It's Like To Live With An Anxiety Disorder

Having no control over your own mind is scary.
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Anxiety disorders are no fun for anyone. Most people don't understand what it's like to be someone who suffers from one. They come without warning and without reason. As I am writing this, I am awake at an ungodly hour due to this stupid battle my mind is having with itself.

Let me help those of you who do not understand what this illness is like.

At random moments, I will get this building worry and fear that something isn't right. Everything could be just perfectly fine, but my mind will trick itself into believing that something is wrong.

It will convince itself that my life is falling apart. I will worry about one thing one minute and talk 90 to nothing then start to worry about another thing. My mind constantly switches back and forth and will convince itself that things are worse than what they really are.

All the while, I'm trying so hard to calm myself down... but it is impossible.

It will send me into a depression. A depression that causes me to hate myself for being so crazy and irrational at times. This depression is the worst part. It causes me to want to space myself from the world and everyone around me. It causes me to feel alone with my illness, and it will cause me to be too terrified to talk those that are closest to me about what it is that I need from them.

I feel needy, and I'm repulsed. But I can't help it.

The hardest thing is for me to find peace with myself during the depression stage. Most times, it switches back to worry and will keep me up all night. Staying up all night causes me to feel irritable the next day, which in turn causes those around me to steer clear. Which in turn causes me to go right back into depression and battle myself for being mentally ill.

You see, there's something those of you who don't suffer from anxiety need to understand: WE CAN'T CONTROL IT.

No, it doesn't make us crazy. We don't need you to tell us that we are acting crazy. We are already well aware of this and telling us that will only make our condition worse.

It will come at the most inconvenient times. When it happens, just please be patient and understanding with us. The attack will eventually pass, and when it does, we'll be back to normal. The worst thing you could do is bring up anything we were previously worried about.

Doing so will only trigger another attack. Understand that it's you and us vs. the illness. We hate it, you hate it, we're on the same team here. The best thing you can do during an attack is to just listen, and know that there are times we need you to hold us, and times we need you to leave us alone. Know that sometimes you'll be the trigger for the attack.

Don't take it personally. And please, for the sake of humanity, don't tell us that we're overreacting, that we need to calm down, or that worrying isn't going to make anything any better. If we could stop worrying, don't you think we would have already?

Dating someone with an anxiety disorder isn't easy, at all. It requires giving that person a lot of attention that you normally wouldn't have to do. That doesn't mean the sufferer constantly needs you to be stuck up his or her butt 24/7, but it does mean that when he or she is under attack you need to be there.

If someone you love is having an anxiety attack, ask them what they need. Most of the time they know what they need from you to help make it better, but they're too scared to tell you. Let them know that you genuinely want to help in any way that you can, and be okay with it if they tell you nothing and to just listen. Get to know their illness better.

Everyone's anxiety disorder is different.

Try to understand what it's like to have absolutely no control over your mind, and be there for that person. They need you most when they feel as though they have turned on themselves.


If you or someone you know is battling an anxiety disorder, seek help.

Cover Image Credit: ankor2 / Flickr

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30 Days Of Meat Taught Me About Emotional And Spiritual Eating

Emotional eating is actually a very good thing.

ChelseaC
ChelseaC
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I wrote about my experience with the Carnivore diet here—two and a half weeks of only beef, and then the remainder of the thirty days on just meat.

The Carnivore diet has a myriad of reputed health benefits and definite physical benefits (it's the easiest way in my experience to lose weight), but what I found most fascinating was how it illuminated my emotional and spiritual relationship with food.

I've heard all my life (from family, friends, articles, memes) that emotional eating is a thing. But I've only heard it mentioned in a negative way—eating away my feelings is bad, dealing with a breakup by gaining 10lbs of Ben & Jerry's is understandable but bad, snacking because I'm bored is bad.

Let me tell you, I was not motivated to eat in response to any emotion on the Carnivore diet. When you can only eat unseasoned meat, it does not taste good enough to eat as comfort OR as celebration. During this time I dealt with normal school stress, financial stress, and personal stress for weeks, and became acutely aware that I would have turned to food for comfort, stress relief, distraction, happiness, and more.

Rather than seeing this emotional eating as a bad thing, I actually began seeing it as a very, very good thing. Life is stressful and difficult and sometimes just plain bad. Why would it be a bad thing to find comfort, distraction, and even joy in something I already need to do?* It seems, actually, a great blessing that I can find such happiness in a part of my inevitable daily routine.

*Of course, like all things, emotional eating can be extreme. If I eat an entire cake every time I'm sad, that's a different matter. But if I eat well overall, and eat unhealthy things with moderation, that's a sustainable balance. And you will never know the joy that blueberries and kale can bring you until you only eat meat for 30 days.

This element of food bringing joy—be it enjoying slices of fresh mango, fresh cheese on toasted bread, or homemade kettle corn—leads us into the spiritual and communal aspect of food.


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Sharing in food is a highly communal—almost primal—part of our ancestry: sharing our resources was integral to our very survival. Sharing food is incredibly intimate and is one of the most bonding things we can do in a social setting. If you've ever gone out to eat with friends and not been able to eat the foods they're eating (because of a diet, intolerances, or even just not being hungry), you will have felt the impact of not participating in this social bond. Even if we're not hungry, if all our friends are eating, we feel this strong urge to be a part of the group too—to eat something. And those around us also feel this pressure—think of how often people have offered you food, especially if you weren't already eating something, even to the point of pressuring you to eat.

Food strengthens (or weakens) our bodies, it strengthens our social bonding, and it nourishes our soul. Food can be incredibly powerful—the right food at the right time can bring happiness to even the most broken of hearts. Every single one of our ancestors spent time preparing food; and doing so ourselves makes us more mindful of our health, taking care of our bodies, and honoring an age-old routine of the process of making and enjoying food.

Realizing the joy that the presence of food brings to my life--and the utter emptiness I experienced without it--opened my eyes to food's presence in my life in both an emotional and spiritual way. There was nothing that could compensate for the thrice+ daily habit of enjoying delicious food or snacks; there was no substitute for sharing food and mealtimes with other people. Even when I was present during mealtimes, I wasn't able to share the same food the others were eating. There was simply no substitute for everyone eating together.

We can't live without food, and it's incredibly beautiful that an unavoidable part of our day—a thing we literally can't live without—is a thing that can bring us such joy, comfort, happiness, companionship, routine, consistency, health, and community. We're caring for ourselves when we eat good food, and our bodies get that. And even when we eat ice cream and cookies, we're enjoying delicious tastes and textures that bring us happiness—even if they may add to our waistline.

I was the most fit I'd ever been on the Carnivore diet—and the most food-relatedly unhappy. I love food. Before the Carnivore diet, if you had mentioned emotional eating to me, I would have thought you were speaking of a negative thing. Now, when I think of emotional eating, I think of how food pairs so well with so many different emotions of the human experience--and how absolutely wonderful that is. Being able to go out with friends and enjoy amazing cheeses and tea and salads and ice cream makes me incredibly grateful for the powerful social bonding experience of breaking bread with others and even just breaking it with myself. Are you sad? Lonely? Wanting to celebrate? There's a food for all of that. Feeling any strong feelings—with other people or by yourself? There's a food for that too.

in the words of J. R. R. Tolkien: "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

The Carnivore diet removed almost all pleasure from food and distilled it down to just physical nourishment. After 30 days of self-exclusion from one of the most ancient, beautiful, and powerful rituals (both social and solo) known to man, I wouldn't trade food for anything--including hoarded gold.


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ChelseaC
ChelseaC

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