Tag Archives: Eat less meat

Start Clean Eating on a Budget

Last week we talked about healthy eating on a budget. Today I want to take it a step further and focus on how to start clean eating on a budget.  It is very similar with just a couple of extra steps.

Clean eating focuses on fresh ingredients, no processed foods, and eating good foods as close to nature as possible such as: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef and grain-fed poultry, and raw milk (if possible) to your diet.

Some of these may seem like a burden when you are on a small food budget, but with the tips below, you can eat clean and stay within your budget. I am sure you will recognize some from the previous post; but read through there is extra information that applies specifically to clean eating.

Buy In-season Produce

A major component of clean eating is buying fresh produce rather than canned fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce is OK; but, if in-season fruit is available, it is always better to choose that. Buy in bulk, and freeze it yourself.

Use Google to help you search for seasonal produce in your area. When you can buy it from a Farmer’s Market, or even directly from the farmers, it will be less expensive. My next choice is SPOUTS Farmer’s Marker, if there is one near you. Those sources will probably be the least expensive.

For example:  you may be able to buy strawberries, peaches, and nectarines very inexpensively in the summer and find that squash is a better buy in the fall.  Always buy extra when the price is right and freeze the leftovers

Don’t Worry About Superfoods

When you first start reading about clean eating, you may find “experts” expounding the importance of certain superfoods that you should start eating. The reality is – they are nutritious and excellent additions to your diet; but, you don’t have to eat them just start a clean eating.

If you cannot afford to add chia seeds of flax seeds to every smoothie or eat a pomegranate each morning, don’t worry about it. Buy the clean foods you can afford and eat those – you will be doing just fine.

I have been on a clean eating diet for almost a year and have never purchased chia seeds.

Eat Less Meat

It is important to have a good amount of grass-fed, organic lean meat in your diet; however, it is a little more expensive than other options. To help when you are on a budget, remember: it does not have to be the main dish all the time.  You can cut back on the amount of meat you eat by using it as an ingredient in a salad, a casserole, or a stir-fry.

Learn to cook with more vegetables and grains as primary ingredients in your meals.  You may even want to learn to cook vegetarian dishes and serve those on alternate days.  There are wonderful recipes available that you can try. Check out The Healthy Diet Cookbook for some tasty choices.

As noted before, you can also use chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds to add protein to your meals. Beef is good, but it is not the only choice.

Be Smart When it Comes to Buying Organic

Start Clean Eating on a Budget
Image by elenaphoto

Everything you eat does not have to be organic on a clean eating diet.  You just need to know which foods and ingredients should be organic and avoid the extra unnecessary cost of buying the ones that are perfectly fine from the regular bins.

The items that should always be organic, if at all possible are:

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Snap Peas
  • Celery
  • Hot Peppers and Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Leafy Greens: Lettuce, Green Collards and Kale
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Soy

It seems like a lot, but all of those listed are fairly easy to find in organic bins and there is not always a huge cost difference. There are a many others you can buy from the conventional bins and be OK – especially items that can be peeled easily – carrots, beets, plums, mangoes, papayas, bananas, oranges, etc.

By following these four easy tips, you will be well on your way to eating clean and sticking to your budget.

Remember planning your meals a week in advance will help you buy only food items you need and will use within the week. And . . . once your list is made, always check your pantry and fridge before you shop so you don’t buy duplicates and end up wasting food.

Clean eating is good for you – for your family – and for the environment.  Join the trend today – start clean eating on a budget, and live a longer, healthier life.

Eat Less Meat

Serve Meat as a Condiment

Over the years the serving size of all meats has become so large that there is not much room left on the plate for other items. As meat serving-sizes increased, the serving size of sides decreased, especially in restaurants. Unfortunately, the most nutrients per caloric content are in the sides – especially veggies and fruits.  And no, French fries DO NOT count as a vegetable.

A primary goal for everyone who wants to enjoy a healthier body should be to eat less meat.  An important fact that most people either do not know, or ignore, is that many plants have more protein than meat. All protein intake does not have to be from meat.

The body does not need so much protein – especially from meat. Most North Americans eat many times over their protein needs every single day, which is causing a host of health problems such as kidney stones, gall stones and other issues.

Eating less meat is good for the environment. Sounds strange, but it is true. It takes far more water and resources to create one pound of meat than it does to grow one pound of vegetables or fruit. When you take that fact into account plus the fact that there are other foods with more nutrients per calorie, it just makes sense to use meat as a condiment – to add flavor and texture but, not make it the main course.

Cutting down on your meat intake is easy, even if eat out a lot. If you keep in mind that a little goes a long way you will be happy with less. The body does not need more than 2 to 4 ounces of meat on any given day. Yet, in restaurants, they specialize in 16-ounce steaks (a full pound).

Try something new! For a party of four, rather than each person gorging him/herself with 4X the amount of necessary protein, take a much healthier approach. Order one steak and four- six sides. Share the steak and the sides. Enjoy a healthy amount of steak with delicious, healthy sides as you savor the flavors and save a lot of money.

Image by Chris Chapman
Image by Chris Chapman

When you eat at home, make stir-fry, casseroles, and other dishes where meat is not the main course. Use meat as part of a wrap, a pita, or a healthy pizza. By making meat a condiment you leave room for more veggies and whole grains which are truly the powerhouses of vitamins and minerals that you need to build and sustain a healthy body.