Do you want to know why poor people can become so large? Because eating healthy is expensive. I don't care what anyone says; when you're living paycheck to paycheck, you don't have the money to go to the store every few days and buy fresh food. Pasta (which can really cause you to put on the pounds) is cheap and easy. The sauce you put on the pasta is also incredibly easy as it probably comes from a jar. It's also probably packed with sodium and very bad for you (even the heart healthy kind should be eaten sparingly). Pasta, I believe, is one of the biggest causes of the Freshman 15 (or Junior 25 in my case). College kids are suddenly on their own without a lot of money, so they eat what's cheap and easy.
It's been really hard for me to transition to a point where I'm eating healthy and not breaking the bank. Hell, I'm still technically not eating that healthy. However, I'm keeping track of my calories, nutrients, and sodium intake each day so it doesn't really matter tooooo much.
Poor and trying to eat healthier? Here's a few things that I do:
- Yes, I eat TV dinners. No, they're not the best for you. I get the "Lean Cuisine" or "Healthy Choice" ones and only eat one a day, mostly because I'm at work. They last me until my next paycheck and are easy. Everything else I eat has to be lower sodium and better for me, however. I only buy them on sale.
- Frozen veggies are still veggies. They're still good for you. Canned ones have way more sodium. If you can't do fresh, do frozen.
- I eat a banana a day because they're cheap and delicious.
- Cutie oranges. They don't go bad right away like some produce can and there's enough in the bag that they last for a bit.
- Frozen meat is still meat. I don't have time to cook often, but sometimes I'll thaw out some chicken and cook it and use it for salads or sandwhiches in my lunches. Canned tuna is also pretty low ca and, low sodium and gets you protein. It's also not too expensive.
- Buy on sale products. Try to buy the low fat or low sodium versions if you can. I eat mayonnaise when I eat canned tuna, but I can't switch it to low fat because low fat mayo tastes so wrong.
- Off brand really can be as good as name brand.
- Shop the produce area when you can for on sale fruits and veggies. If you can shop local produce, do it. Haggen has a lot of local produce that isn't super expensive.
- Use the store ads in the mail! You can figure out where to go that's cheapest and possibly get some coupons.
- The freezer is your friend when you live paycheck to paycheck. You can freeze meat, have frozen veggies, prepare meals and freeze them, or preserve bread longer. It keeps you in food until your next paycheck.
- If you end up out of food and money and have to have pasta, go light on the sauce.
<3 - CFC