2015 is your year, right? Yet here’s the challenge: how can you do it without breaking the bank and spending all your time in the kitchen?
Like you, I’m super busy and don’t have time for elaborate meals, so I totally get how you feel.
To help you along, here are my secrets to help you stay in tip-top shape this year and beyond, without breaking the bank.
- Make friends with your local butcher, fish monger, and produce manager or farmer. This is #1 for a reason – you can learn a lot from them, and a good relationship means they’ll go out of their way to help you. For example, your fish monger will let you in on shipment days and times for maximum freshness, and your butcher will grind meats fresh just for you. My butcher knows me so well my order is practically ready when I walk in the door. A morning hug doesn’t hurt either.
- Think quality over quantity. Grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs, wild fish, and organic fruits and vegetables have up to 500% more nutrients than their conventional counterparts. They’re also free of hormones, superbug promoting antibiotics, and chemical sprays. These foods are more expensive, but you have to factor in that you’ll eat less because they are so nutrient-dense. You also won’t need that $6 venti caramel macchiato anymore, nor will you get sick nearly as often as you used to. In other words, you’re not really paying more for higher quality food.
- Save money with less expensive cuts of meat. I love a good piece of grass-fed tenderloin, but at $30 a pound, it’s not something I eat every week. Instead, I encourage you to go for less expensive cuts such as bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks (bone-in breasts are less expensive too), sirloin steak, and ground meats. If you have a family, you can save a lot by roasting an entire bird with leftovers that will last for at least a few days.
- Leave the bottled water on the shelf. Bottled water is ridiculously expensive and way overrated. You can save yourself a ton of money by installing an inexpensive reverse osmosis water filter. Or get yourself gallon size BPA free containers and fill them up at your local Whole Foods water machine. The water machines here in California are between 40 to 49¢ per gallon vs. $1.20 or more for the other guys. Plus, it’s fresh water. You don’t know how long the other guys have been sitting on a shelf in a warehouse before they were shipped to your local store to sit on their shelf.
- Set aside time every week for food prep and meal planning. I know this feels overwhelming, but trust me, it’s a life saver, especially if you have a family. Take a few moments on Saturday or Sunday to map out what you’d like to eat, then make veggies and proteins in advance to have ready for the week. Soups and stews are wonderful this time of year and you can freeze them in individual serving containers for quick and easy meals.
- Don’t fall for nutritional buzzwords such as organic, natural, artisanal, antioxidant, and phytonutrients on packaged products. These terms are often meaningless, largely unregulated, and more about marketing than nutritional science. Fresh organic produce is the exception here because farmers are required by law to abide by strict standards to maintain certification. Keep in mind that anything that comes from a box is still a processed food regardless of its pretty packaging. And here’s a money-saving shopping tip: many farmers can’t afford organic certification, but employ the same practices. All you have to do is ask.
- Take a basic cooking class. Step outside your comfort zone this year and take a class that covers the basics. You’ll meet new people, learn some exciting tips, and best of all, feel more comfortable in your own kitchen. More often than not new clients come to me with what I call a “kitchen complex” that’s really just another form of analysis paralysis. There’s no right or wrong in the kitchen and it certainly doesn’t have to be a 9-course meal. Trust me, a basic cooking class will end up saving you money.
- Be gentle on yourself. I know you want to be 20 pounds lighter right this instant, but trust me, the journey will be so much easier, faster, and more enjoyable if you lighten up a bit. There’s no such thing as a happy ending to a miserable journey, and this couldn’t apply more to health and weight loss. Also, keep in mind that it’s your body’s natural response to hold onto fat during times of stress when it feels under attack. And berating yourself every time you look in the mirror is just another form of low-grade, chronic stress.
Do you have some tips you’d like to share with our community? If so, I’d love to know about them in the comments below. It is through sharing your story that we create community, eliminate guilt and shame, and bring about healing.