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Eat Healthy on a Budget

Updated on June 28, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

My work with top natural health professionals and experience as a fitness instructor teach me health tips that I am proud to share.

A Good Healthy Meal

I used to think that if you eat a good healthy meal you had to spend a lot of money. I discovered that is not true as long as I plan ahead.

I plan my meals, stock my refrigerator, and pantry with items that are fairly quick and easy to prepare. Another way I plan ahead is to cook a big meal on Sundays and make extra for my family's lunches and a quick Monday dinner.

The large Sunday dinners are chili with cornbread, stews, casseroles, and nut loaves. They are easy to store for the next couple of day.

All healthy foods have no preservatives, so keep that in mind and make sure they are sealed in a tight container and kept in the refrigerator.

Benefits of Eating Healthy

When I read an article about healthy food, I check the recipes and see if they are doable in a timely fashion. I also consider the cost but eating well means you and your family will be healthy. Benefits of eating healthy mean your family will have fewer visits to the medical doctor. My daughter is hasn't had a cold or any illness in three years. My husband is hale as ever. He has a physically demanding job.

Daily healthy meals will not hurt the pocketbook. Inexpensive meals can be prepared using legumes whether canned or dry. They make nutritious, hearty soups, dips, and burritos. My family loves to eat them up because they taste so good.

Some say the dry legumes need to be soaked overnight first. Should they be soaked overnight first? That is a debate, and it is up to you.

When the body consumes legumes that haven’t been soaked, the phytic acid binds to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the minerals cannot be absorbed in the intestine, so the body is deficient in minerals. Thus, soaking the legumes allows the body to break down the phytic acid so minerals are absorbed into the body.

I use my best slow cooker to prepare chili, soups, and stews. It is so easy because I simply add fresh vegetables, spices or herbs, vegetable broth, and cooked brown rice. My family eats them up, and I pretty proud of myself because the meals taste delicious. My best crockpot meals are so simple because eight hours later my family has a main course with a fresh salad and garlic bread.

Brown Rice

Benefits of Eating Brown Rice

I never go wrong preparing my brown rice because I use a rice cooker. I use one that has a stainless still pot. I stay away from aluminum as much as I can when I cook.

For years researchers have been studying the impending threat caused by overexposure to aluminum, and the possibility of adverse effects on human health. They found some disconcerting results.

Scientist discovered those with Alzheimer’s disease have a high concentration of aluminum in their brain tissue. Through studies prove the possibility of high aluminum consumption is linked to a lowered growth rate of human cells, and potentially harmful for patients with renal impairment or bone diseases.

Organic brown rice is not costly and a great addition to grilled tofu and steamed vegetables. Sure, Brown rice costs more than white rice, but the nutritional value far exceeds the extra nickel or dime I pay per pound. Plus, it is more filling and tastier. To cook rice in a rice cooker is simple. Just one cup of rice to two cups of water is all it takes.

Millet Health Benefits

Another inexpensive grain that I prepare and is easy to fix is buying millet grain. I cook it like rice, or I toast it in the oven. By toasting millet, I make a tasty addition to my family's meals. All I do is sprinkle it on other dishes - adding more nutritional value.

I toast millet in a large, dry skillet. I take raw millet and toast it over medium heat for about five minutes. When grain turns into a buttery brown and golden millet with a yummy fragrant, I know my grain is done. I have to be careful not to let the grains burn.

People have asked me how to cook millet for a baby, and I answer with a list of ways to prepare millet for babies. It's such an easy food to digest. I tell mothers to check with their pediatrician as to when they can start feeding their babies millet. Some say 4 months or 6 months.

Best Oats for Breakfast

I never discount oats because my kids love oatmeal. Oatmeal makes a great breakfast and my kids add butter, maple syrup, and almond milk.

I like the fact that it is quick to prepare, which is perfect for our busy mornings off to school. Oatmeal stays with my kids all morning long. They have told me several times the dish is very filling.

What is your favorite healthy food?

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Delicious Pasta Dishes

Pasta is fairly inexpensive, and I find it easy to prepare. I use different sauces from carrot sauce to avocado sauce to basic pasta dishes like spaghetti.

I just boil the water and add the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, I chop up veggies and tofu. I steam or stir fry them with an inexpensive red sauce, olive oil, or an awesome sauce I make from scratch. Then, I simply chop up a fresh salad, and I have a complete meal.

Making an awesome sauce as part of my delicious pasta dishes is something I take seriously. For example, carrot sauce is so easy. You take a cup of chopped carrots, 1/2 cup of your favorite flour (like almond flour), 3 cups of milk, two cloves of minced garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.

Put the carrots in the food processor and blend them as finely as you can. Add garlic cloves. Place all the ingredients in medium size pot, boil, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes or until thickened. If it doesn't thicken, then add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and stir some more.

Pour over cooked pasta and yummy!

Benefits of Eating Fruits and Vegetables

I always keep fresh fruits and vegetables in the kitchen for everyone to snack on between meals. I have learned from experience that I save by purchasing enough fruits and vegetables to last five to seven days in the refrigerator.

Some fruits like berries last three to four days, but we gobble them up pretty quick. Having my family eat fruit and vegetables is by far less expensive than munching on packaged food like chips or cookies. Not to mention, it is healthier.

A Healthy Eating Plan

I hope my ideas have been helpful. I hope you try these different ideas because they might help you formulate your own healthy meal plan that is not too expensive. If so, you are more than welcome to share it with the readers.

© 2016 Kenna McHugh

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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      8 months ago from Northern California

      Kari,

      Thank you for visiting. I prepare all our food from scratch as much as I can. Millet is wonderful. It so tasty and easy to make. After you give it a try, I'd love to hear how you like it.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      8 months ago from Ohio

      You make the millet sound so delicious. I wonder that I have never tried it. I try to eat healthy myself. I prepare almost all my food from scratch. I like knowing what goes into my meals.

    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      9 months ago from Northern California

      Janis,

      Thank you for the feedback. Yes. The Zucchini wrap is mighty tasty. Currently, I am making more vegan meals, which are a lot of fun and an easy cleanup. But, usually, I can get my husband to do the dishes. : )

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      9 months ago from Washington, DC

      Yummy article, Kenna. I need some of these recipes to make for my vegetarian hubby. I like some of these ideas, especially that zucchini wrap thingy. Very nice!

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