Hey y’all! A lot of you suggested that I write a blog about eating healthy and affordably at the same time. Many people will tell you that’s impossible, but I promise it’s not. I’ve been doing it for years! You just have to know where to buy certain products and how to meal prep effectively.
I will preface this blog post by saying that I meal prep for about 2 hours every weekend. I do this because I prefer cooking my own food instead of buying canned soup, boxed macaroni, ramen, etc. It may be a few pennies more expensive – but it’s so much healthier! Although I like to meal prep, I’m also a college student, which means sometimes my meals are on-the-go. So this blog will feature both types of healthy eating options – cooking and on-the-go.
I’ll start with some of the things that I meal prep most often. I usually pick 2 meals from the lists below. I know it doesn’t leave room for much variety throughout the week – but I’m only one person and my groceries will go bad otherwise.
- Vegetable soup: This recipe includes 2 small cans tomato sauce, 1 can green beans, 1 can corn, 1 can carrots, 1 can peas, 1 can black beans, and whatever spices you desire. I buy all of the ingredients at Aldi, so it’s right around $5 to make enough for the week. I make the soup on the weekend and store it in a giant tupperware bowl in the fridge, so I can easily heat it up all week.
- Turkey chili: Click here for the link to the Pinterest recipe I found. It’s simple to make and a perfect thing to have on hand to heat up in the winter.
- Quesadillas: This recipe includes 100% whole wheat tortillas, fiesta blend shredded cheese, black beans, frozen chicken breast, and salsa/sour cream/guac/whatever toppings you want. I cook the chicken in a crock pot over the weekend and shred it, so that I can throw a quesadilla on my panini press in minutes.
- Breakfast bowl: I love having breakfast for dinner! All you need is 1 red potato, 3 eggs (and some milk if you’re scrambling), part of a green pepper, and some spices of your choice. Cook them up and throw them together in a bowl. (Cut up the green peppers ahead of time during weekend meal prep).
- Keep extra cans of vegetables in your cabinets – it’s cheap and easy to heat up some green beans to go along with your dinner! (I usually use half of a can and then put the rest in the fridge for the next meal).
If you’re a college student or have to bring your meals on-the-go frequently, here are some options for you. (Note: you’ll need to buy some sandwich bags, plastic silverware, tupperware, and plastic cups for these options).
- 100% whole grain frozen waffles: I know this doesn’t sound like a good on-the-go option, but I promise it is! I throw them in the toaster for 3 minutes before I have to leave for class, and then wrap them in a paper towel so I can eat them on the way. I eat them plain, but I know some people aren’t fond of the wheat taste, so putting peanut butter on them is also a good option!
- BLTs: I put deli turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and provolone cheese on my sandwiches. I recommend cooking the bacon and cutting the tomato during meal prep. Stick it in a plastic bag and you’re good to go.
- Salad: This is where the plastic tupperware and silverware come in handy. I throw lettuce, chicken, bacon, avocado, cheese, tomato, and whatever else I’m feelin’ in the bowl and shake it up with some dressing. You can obviously make whatever salad you want, but make sure to meal prep the meat and other ingredients!
- Smoothies – My smoothies always include strawberries, banana, frozen blueberries, unsweetened almond milk, and ice. I put it in a plastic disposable cup or a travel mug to drink on-the-go. Cut the strawberries up during meal prep!
- Cereal: Duh. Walmart has an excellent selection of organic cereal that doesn’t break the bank. I put this in on-the-go because most of the time I throw some in a sandwich bag to eat on my way to class. Milk is overrated anyway, right?
Here are some healthy snack options and miscellaneous items that are affordable as well!
- Carrots & hummus
- Fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, cantaloupe… just a few of my favorites!)
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts)
- Yes, I know they’re not the cheapest. But they’re pretty affordable at Aldi! And if you catch them on sale. Gotta always be on the look out.
- Naked Juice
- I buy the giant jug at Walmart every week for like $6 and drink a cup every morning!
- Fruit strips
- They have all natural ones at Aldi and most health food stores. Better than grabbing a granola bar!
- Lara Bars
- Not as cheap as granola bars, but they won’t break the bank. They often have manufacturer coupons at http://www.coupons.com.
- Dark chocolate (when you need to splurge)
- La Croix
- It’s an acquired taste… but now that I’ve acquired the taste, I love it! Target often has them on sale. Aldi also has an off brand version.
Okay guys – I mentioned meal prep a lot! I did that on purpose – to show you all how important it is! Eating healthy is hard and expensive if you don’t meal prep. I promise that taking 2 hours out of your weekend will save you so much time and money during the week! If you have questions about meal prepping, please ask me. I’m happy to answer them. Basically meal prepping just means cooking and cutting what you can ahead of time. It increases the likelihood that you’ll actually follow through with your meal plan for the week and won’t just let the stuff go bad in your fridge.
Okay – this blog post is long enough. 🙂 Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you next time.