We’ve all either used them or know someone who has. I’m talking about the excuses for not eating healthy meals day in and day out. The most common I hear are things like “I can’t eat healthy because the cafeteria doesn’t have healthy food”, or “I don’t have time to cook at work” or various others. If we’re honest however eating unhealthy meals is actually more expensive. If you buy a chocolate bar or can of cola, sure it’s only a small amount of money at the time, but over a month or year the cost stacks up.
The following tips will help you construct cheap healthy meals for lunch that will improve your health, save you money, save you time, help you lose weight (if that’s what you want to do) and even taste awesome.
- Tip #1: Preperation: This is the secret of all successful dieters, bodybuilders, celebs etc. It might sound obvious but it’s surprising how many people don’t do it. The trick is to decide what you are going to have and prepare it the night before. This way when you wake up in the morning your food is ready to go. Depending on the recipes you use this will only add 30minutes onto your schedule when you get home.
- Tip #2: Protein: Even if your not a bodybuilder or even an athlete protein still has its benefits. Protein has the highest ‘thermic-effect of food. This means every time you eat it, it will raise your metabolism by ~30%. A raised metabolism will do wonders for your energy levels and help keep you lean. Protein will also keep you feeling fuller for longer – increased satiety means less trips to the vending machine (unless you really want to!). Good choices include chicken, beef, fish and other substitutes.
- Tip #3: Fat is Your Friend: As a result of the media most people try to dodge fat. The fact is you need fat to live. Fat contains soluble vitamins such as D and E. The less fat you eat the more deficient you become, which can cause problems. The trick is to eat healthy fats from sources such as oily fish, grass fed meats, eggs, nuts and seeds. In terms of weight loss fat is also your friend. When you consume fat insulin levels stay low allowing your body to burn fat for fuel. When you consume carbohydrates, insulin levels rise switching off your fat burning. Good choices include olive oil, mayonaise, macademia nut oil and other fat based salad dressings.
- Tip #4: Carbohydrates: Unless you lead a very active lifestyle carbohydrate consumption can be kept to a minimum. There’s no need to weigh anything, simply consume high fibre carbs at breakfast and have a protein + fat meal for lunch. This is especially important if you have a job which doesn’t expend much energy.
- Tip #5: Flavour: Just because you are trying to eat healthy does not mean food cannot taste good. Make good use of spices, herbs and other condiments such as bbq seasoning. A little ketchup/salsa isn’t bad either if your following the above tips. If you have a sweet tooth you can make use of sugar free jelly’s or sweetner to get your kick. Even better would be fruits such as apples, oranges or strawberries.
So there you have it – the secrets to saving money and eating healthy at the same time! I personally use these tips to create cheap healthy meals and these are often the most basic things I get my clients to change first before we do anything else.