It's no secret that I eat totally differently than most people do. With multiple food allergies and intolerances, keeping myself fed properly can be a challenge! The easiest way to keep myself healthy is by keeping my refrigerator stocked and organized. Here are a few tips on how I keep organized and on budget.
1) Buy whatever produce is on sale. There are so many diet plans out there that specifically tell you to eat this many pieces of asparagus, or this many ounces of kiwi, etc. I don't follow those (because I mean, have you checked the price of asparagus and kiwi lately!?). I shop at Kroger and I have a Kroger card that allows me to get all the special discounts. I make my way through the produce section, and I buy whatever is on sale that week. I absolutely love fruits and vegetables (obviously), so I have to work hard to stay on budget with that. This week I scored some organic kale for just 99 cents for the whole bundle! I also came away with some other great deals, but that definitely was the top one!
2) Always prep your food ahead of time. If I don't prep my food ahead of time, then when I'm actually hungry, sometimes I don't have the time to prep it, so it gets left in the fridge. As you can see, I have several tupperware containers in my fridge. I have washed grapes, chopped peaches, chopped strawberries, cooked quinoa noodles, and cooked ground deer/beef. I also prepped my kale by washing and chopping it so it's all ready in a bowl for me to pull out and make a salad.
3) Stock up when things are on sale. I usually just buy a 6 pack of eggs when I go to the store, but a dozen eggs were on sale for just 99 cents this week, so I bought the whole dozen! Powerades were also on sale, so I got quite a few of those as well!
4) Your shopping cart should reflect what your plate will look like. The ideal plate will have more fruits and vegetables than carbs and meat, and so should your shopping cart. I always hit the produce section first and get all my items there, then I decide what grains will go best with whatever produce I chose, which is usually steel cut oats and Ezekiel tortillas or bread, with some occasional noodles in there when I get a craving. I never buy more than two grains at a time because it can get expensive, and sometimes it can go bad before I eat it all.
5) Make a list before you go to the store. People say to never go to the store hungry, but I take it a step further and never go to the store without a list. I always sit down and decide what meals I want to have for the week (I have the Kroger app so I can see what produce is on sale before I go to the store). I always stick to my list because it keeps me from spending excess money, and it keeps treats from ending up in my cart that I might regret eating later.
6) For when the budget gets really tight. This one is hard, and I'm actually dealing with it right now (thanks to the price of college textbooks!). You have to be really choosy when this happens. Instead of getting some of your favorites, you just have to go with the cheapest. My grocery store trip today totaled just $37, and that included a few household items that I needed, plus my haul of $12 worth of powerade. This is the time that stocking up can really save you. I didn't have to buy any grains or meat because I had stocked up on tortillas and oats when they were on sale, and I am stocked up on deer meat (seriously, boyfriends that like to hunt are great!).
7) Set a monthly grocery budget. This one is really important to me. I usually get some treats at the end of the month if I have money leftover, but if I don't, then I don't get the treats. This keeps me in check on making sure I buy nutritious food first, and then if I can, I buy a treat for myself. Many people say that eating healthy is expensive, but really, if you would just trade out the chips/popcorn for some grapes, it's the same price. So I keep the junk food and sweets out of my cart unless I have money leftover for a splurge.
8) Things I always have on hand. I always always always have bananas (they're cheap!) and lunch meat. Bananas are a great snack, they are great in oatmeal, and they work great to have a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Lunch meat is great for wraps, sandwiches, and even chopped up on a salad. Neither are expensive, and both are great nutrition for a tight budget.
1 Corinthians 10:31 - "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."