Start Eating Healthy on a Budget in 1 Month

Posted in Balanced Body, Balanced Nutrition | January 20, 2012 |

Health one bite at a time

Health one bite at a time

Would you like to eat healthier?

Every year, every month or every time that we overeat and feel bad after it we make a resolution to eat healthier. But how often do we keep that promise?

Sometimes we stick to a healthy plan until the next big family event. Or maybe until a party with delicious and diabolically tempting food. Or maybe until the next stressful day (and we have plenty of those.)

An easy and obviously important goal like healthy eating sometimes seems unrealistic to achieve.

At the beginning of the year I ran an annual BalanceInMe survey to see how balanced all of us are and the results are in.

The majority of the BalanceInMe community has trouble staying healthy and the results haven’t changed much from last year (if anything, in 2011 the number of those who couldn’t keep their health in balance increased by 3%.)

Isn’t it time to change this vicious cycle?

I invite you to join a Healthy Eating Challenge (it’s absolutely free.)

When it comes to improving health it’s best to start one step at a time and nutrition is the foremost and most vital step. Our bodies need balanced and high quality fuel to produce the energy that will help us deal with everyday tasks and stress, find power for exercise and keep all our vital systems humming in harmony.

Why is it so hard to eat healthy?

Eating healthy should be the most natural and easiest thing to do but in reality it’s quite the opposite. If you’ve tried to eat healthy before but didn’t succeed then you are not alone.

Healthy eating is hard today.

Our society and our lifestyles make healthy eating difficult. Let’s look at just a few factors.

  1. Scientific confusion. If you’ve tried a healthy nutrition plan before then you probably got confused with all the information (often contradicting each other) that is available today.One day we hear that eggs are our worst enemies, the next day they are our best friends.One day we hear that vegetarianism is the healthiest way of living, next day we read studies that meat is vital for heart health.

    Some experts say that wheat products are okay to eat while others are screaming that it’s the cause of all evil.

    How can you not be confused with all this?

    What facts confuse you? Ask your questions in the comments so that we can find the truth.

  2. Healthy eating is expensive. We all understand that if we could buy all things organic and use only high-buck nutrition power-houses then our health would be in perfect balance. I don’t know about you, but there are not many things that I can afford to buy organic before going bankrupt. And is organic eating really that good or is it just hype to make consumers, you and me, pay ten times more for a product that is worth only a few cents?Did you ever read a healthy recipe that is more expensive to fix from scratch than buy a meal for two at a restaurant? I did, and honestly, it’s very discouraging for a person who is just trying to eat healthy on a budget.Is it possible to eat healthy without ruining your family budgeting? Yes, it is and we will focus on it during our Healthy Eating Challenge.
  3. Healthy eating (and mainly cooking) takes too much time. I have a question. What’s faster, going through a drive-through on the way home from work or fixing a healthy dinner from scratch?I would imagine that the drive-through would seem like the right answer to you but it doesn’t have to.So many healthy meals take only 10-20 minutes to cook and use cheap ingredients that are already in your pantry. The rule in my house is not to fix a meal during the work week that takes more than 20 minutes. I am sure that each one of us can find this time (even after the most stressful or busy day) to take care of our health and the health of our loved ones.
  4. Healthy eating is not tasty. The tastiest things in the world are not healthy, it’s true. I wish a bowl of ice-cream were as healthy as steamed broccoli. Or a slice of pizza as nourishing as brown rice with steamed fish.We are hard wired into craving fatty, salty and sugary foods and there is no telling why God created us this way.BUT it is possible to acquire taste for healthy food and you can enjoy delicious meals without sacrificing the taste that you love.

    It’s a proven fact that we get addicted to unhealthy food (soda, fatty or salty foods, sugary deserts etc.) and the modern food industry does everything they can to put us on the hook. But just a month without this junk in your body will give your taste buds a complete makeover.

What challenges do you face when it comes to healthy eating?

Whether you are trying to eat healthier or you have accomplished this goal already and want to share your knowledge and experience with others, I invite you to join the 1 Month of Healthy Eating Challenge.

No matter how busy or laid back our lifestyles are we can all take a little bit of time for ourselves and do something nice for our bodies – nourish them with love, care and budget-friendly healthy meals.

What can I expect from the Challenge?

In order to make this month a success we all need to set specific goals that we will be working towards. This week please think of the goals that you would like to reach (lose weight, lower cholesterol, cut back on grocery bills etc.) and share your goals in the comments.

  • Every week I will post one article that will focus on a healthy eating concept.
  • Every few days I will post healthy recipes that I fix during the week and I would love for you to share yours (a lot of recipe sharing will be going on on Facebook.)
  • Every week I will answer your questions about healthy eating (please start asking them in the comments and start each question with QUESTION: so that I can easily spot them.)
  • We will commit to supporting each other and keeping each other accountable in the comments, on Facebook or in any other way.

When does the challenge start?

I know that we all need a little bit of time to get mentally prepared for a challenge (or finish a bucket of ice-cream in the freezer that might be too much of a temptation during the challenge, LOL.)

We will start the challenge in 1 week, on January 27th. Please mark this day on your calendar.

How do I join the 1 Month of Healthy Eating Challenge?

Joining us is easy.

  1. Please leave a comment on this post introducing yourself and explaining
    • what challenges you are facing with healthy eating,
    • what goals you are trying to reach with a healthy meal plan,
    • what questions (if any) you have about healthy eating (please start a question with QUESTION so that I can easily spot them.)
  2. If you are an expert on healthy living already please introduce yourself and tell us a few things about how you managed to stick to a healthy meal plan. We would love to have you here.
  3. Please enter your name, email and preferences in the form below so that I can send you important information and motivation during the challenge.
  4. Please LIKE BalanceInMe on Facebook because some of our conversations will be going on over there. I would love for all of us to share pictures and recipes of our favorite healthy meals on FB but we’ll get there later.
  5. Do you know anyone who will enjoy and benefit from the challenge? Please share this post with your friends. The more people who will join us the more fun this challenge will be.
  6. Please remember that this challenge is absolutely FREE. All you need is the desire to transform your eating habits, learn new healthy-tasty recipes and have fun along the way.

Healthy Eating Challenge Articles:

Keep it balanced!

P.S. Healthy eating is only one part of a balanced lifestyle. I encourage you to take control of your life and start making small steps to a more balanced living every day.

If you don’t know just how to simplify your life then I would like to help you. Take a look at the Reclaim Your Life ecourse, and don’t forget to check out the Lifestyle Revolution package – a special program that I created to help you live a more active and balanced life without sacrificing your lifestyle.

Photo credit: andi.vs.zf

Smart Thoughts (34)

  1. Rose says:

    I’m Rose. Twenty-something student living on a budget, only just-about-not-underweight and a fussy eater to boot! I struggle to find healthy foods that I like and that won’t make me lose weight, that I can take with me places. GOAL: I’d like to meet the UK’s suggestion of five fruit or veg a day and three types of protein a week; and maybe cut down the carbs as my energy levels aren’t great. I’d like this to include lunches I can take with me places and for me to maintain my weight.

    Hi -waves to everyone else- Thanks for opening this challenge to us readers :)

  2. Heidi says:

    One of my biggest healthy eating challenges is that I don’t enjoy cooking, so I often just rely on easy diet staples like cottage cheese, yogurt, salads, etc. I’d like to learn how to make simple, cost-effective dishes that don’t contain a lot of carbs or sodium, and are healthy and nutritious.

  3. Anastasiya,
    This challenge is a wonderful idea!! I became a bit of a health and nutrition nut the first time I got pregnant (about 9 years ago). When I realized that everything I put in and on my body would become part of a new body, I went into hyper-drive learning all I could about health and nutrition. This led to a much better understanding of how foods and drinks affected me physically and emotionally. I find it much easier to avoid the junk because I know more about the ingredients and their negative effects on me. When I look at something that seems appealing, I think about how it will make me feel later. This makes avoiding it much easier.

    While we try to stick with organic, it can get pretty expensive. Given that, we try to stick with organic where we’ll consume the whole item (i.e. berries and apples) and go non-organic where we don’t eat the outside (i.e. bananas). Although I also know that this isn’t the best answer because the pesicides that are sprayed are in the soils and if something is in the soil, it grows into all parts of the food. Short of growing everything ourselves (my next project), we do our best in this area.

    Our biggest challenge is keeping our food spending in check. I love good quality food and won’t go for the cheap stuff. I’m looking forward to ideas in this area.

  4. Jen says:

    Where did my motivation go? How do I get back on track? I

    ‘ve spent the last 3 years making lifestyle changes that have been amazing! It’s been very successful for me to make small lifestyle changes one thing at a time. I’ve been doing research on healthier choices and have gotten involved in all kinds of movement and even ran my first 1/2 Marathon! I love how I feel when I’m living like this but I slid off the bandwagon over Christmas. And I must of slid off hard because I’m having a terrible time getting back into the swing of things. I have a few extra pounds to lose and am looking for some good winter comfort foods that don’t pack the pounds on! I am also hoping to do a race a month for this year and am trying to get back into training mode! Thank you for your support and challenge! I’m excited!!!

  5. Charlotte says:

    This is a great idea for a challenge! I am one who never had healthy food most of her life and who has committed to finding and maintaining a healthy diet in her 40’s. So far so good but I am always looking for ideas for healthy meals on a very tight budget.

  6. Paula Wid says:

    Hi Anastasyia, really enjoying your info re balance and happiness, thank u! I have always yoyoed between healthy and unfit. It seems to be from one extreme to another. Might be due to thyroid problem for which i now have to take tablets. I’m going to try and find a happy balance this year and believe in mind over matter. If only i could make up my mind which of the stuff doesn’t matter! Looking for ward to sharing and learning from others especially if we can do it on a budget!

  7. Kimmie Gibbons says:

    Hi there :)

    My goal for eating healthier is to simply feel better. The biggest challenge I face is just getting used to not eating crap.

  8. Jim says:

    I will be all ears for this challenge. Have been eating healthy for 3 years now and very satisfied with the results. However, the constantly increasing cost of healthy eating is getting tougher to keep up with. Decided long ago that organics were out of the question due to cost. Looking forward to your budget ideas!

  9. Anastasiya- I love this idea! What a great way to help people get on track. I agree with all of the difficulties you listed above. I’m a Pilates trainer and wellness coach and am coaching people through a diet & exercise plan on my website right now too. I would love to join the conversation to help out. There ARE ways to stay balanced and do it on a budget, it just takes some learning and an open mind.

    People often think that it’s more expensive to eat healthy – but if you take a close look you’re usually spending more on groceries but less on restaurants, drinks, treats & medications.

    Hello to everyone joining the challenge! This sounds like fun :)

  10. Teresa says:

    VERY excited about this challenge. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity :)

  11. Natasja says:

    I’m Natasja, single mom with 3 kids, on a budget and never enough time :)
    Healthwise, i’m not doing so good, i’ve got chronic fatigue syndrome, and fybromyalgia. My weight is too high, so maybe by reducing the fat, i will become less tired, and more energetic. That’s the plan :)

  12. Hi Anastasiya, I love the idea of a 30 Day Eating Challenge. Yes, it’s true that the healthy items on the outer aisles in the supermarket aren’t always cheap to get, but the costs even out as you begin to buy less processed foods. We’re committed to making our calories count as well as energy.

  13. Anastasiya,

    I’ve always been sort of a health food nut, but it wasn’t until this year I really got down to and realized that what I said out loud didn’t match up to what I actually did.

    Moving to Hawaii was the catalyst. I eat whole food. I’ve cut out most processed things in my diet and organic is right in front of me with the number of farmers markets every day here.

    I’ve spent years studying it. It feels awesome to practice it to a degree that matches with what I say and reading more information like your provide helps to keep one even more committed to the practice.

    Aloha wags!

  14. william says:

    My name is William and I need to lose a good deal of weight for health reasons, and would like to adopt healthy eating methods in the process.

  15. Pam says:

    Hi, This is such a great idea! I am a stay at home mom to a very active toddler boy who loves to run, play, go, go, go! I am feeling, as an older mom, that I need more energy to “keep up”. Growing up, I never had a problem with weight, and was a size 4 until I turned 32 (everything changed!).
    I love sports and ran 3 major marathons and a few triathlons. I am not new to living a healthy lifestyle.
    Since being in my forties, I find it very tough to lose weight and get back into sports. I strive to eat a whole food diet and very little sugar/ alcohol/ meat. The sugar is the toughest for me!
    My challenge is that every time I find an interesting recipe it calls for one million different ingredients/ spices/ herbs that I use once and throw away (not cheap). Aside from the time it takes, I cannot afford to buy all these exotic ingredients and use a tiny amount and never use again. I would love suggestions on whole food dinners that are 30 minutes or less and taste good. Challenge!!! I have 20 pounds to lose and appreciate this venue to share. thank you!

  16. Adrianne says:

    Hi! I’m Adrianne! My biggest healthy eating challenge is eating on the go. I have a job in the travel industry, and eat my meals away from home for at least 3 days a week. I need help/motivation beginning a healthy eating plan that I can use at home and on the road! Ultimately, with healthy eating and exercise I will lose 10-15pounds and become “heart healthy!”

  17. Melissa says:

    Hi my name is Melissa. My challenge is that I dont cook. I need a healthly lifestyle that I can use. I at 42 has decided to begin a healthly diet. I want to be eat healthly & lose weight as well. I want recipes that even a child can cook.

  18. Emma says:

    I’m Emma, 32, student and mum of 2. Looking for healthy eating ideas that aren’t too expensive or time-consuming. :)

  19. totally overeating from celebrating Chinese New Year this week – challenge to eat less is going to be hard for me!
    Noch Noch

  20. Martin Lavergne says:

    Hello. My name is Martin and Anastasiya hit the nail on the head for me with her point number 4. Healthy eating is not tasty. That is a challenge I’d like to overcome.

  21. Julinda says:

    My biggest challenge is that I’m very picky. I don’t like any sauces (except sweet ones!), most veggies, most spices or flavorings, etc. What I do like is sweets, especially chocolate.

    Other challenges – money, time, dislike of cooking, hubby who does cook but doesn’t want to eat healthier

  22. Betsy Maples says:

    I am doing this challenge for myself, to eat healthier and lose a little weight, and also to feed my family healthier food.

    The main challenges for me are having the energy to cook after working all day, and not eating junk when I love sweets.

  23. Sandra says:

    My greatest challenge is eating well while feeding a family of 6 on a budget. My goals are to reduce our expenditures on food and to lose weight, too. Thank you for offering this challenge!

  24. I beg to disagree too. Eating healthy does not have to cost you much, you know.

  25. Laura says:

    I want to eat healthy, but i am a horrible cook! I want to know about portion sizes, and how to run away from that pint of Ben and jerry’s. What can replace that craving? My goal is to not make eating healthy such a chore, and have it be something I actually enjoy and look forward to.

  26. viri hernandez says:

    Hi my name is viri hernandez i am 20 years old i had a daughter a year and a ½ ago and i gain a significant amount of weight and since moved out of my parents house my eating habbits have change so much my goal is to lose weight and eat healthy and learn to love it so it can become a life style not just a 3 day thing and stop my goal is to be down to 130 by the summer and i need motivation alot

  27. Valerie says:

    I’m Valerie. I’m in my mid twenties, wife and mother of a 3 year old and almost 8 month old. I just started Weight Watchers and am trying to lose all of my baby weight (40ish lbs) from both kids and then some past that. I was always a skinny one up until I got married and had kids. I just never really paid much attention to my diet, always went for whatever sounded good. I have a terrible sweet tooth. I have lost about 6 lbs in the 3 weeks I have been on WW but I am up for new challenges on eating healthy. Budget is always a concern because I am a stay at home mom and we are a one income family. My goal is to lose weight and be more energetic for my boys. I also recently started a group on Facebook for some of my friends who are also trying to lose weight and be healthier. I posted this link and I am hoping that some of them will come over and join the challenge. Thanks for making this available. I can’t wait to begin!

    • Anastasiya says:

      Hi Valerie!

      Thanks for joining the challenge. Weight Watchers is a great program and I know a lot of people who successfully lost weight with their help. The best thing is that when you start eating healthy you gradually “wean” yourself off the bad foods (like sweets.) I used to have a horrible sweet tooth, couldn’t survive a day without something sugary but now I eat sweets only as a treat once or twice a week.
      Good like taking control of your nutrition, Valerie!
      P.S. All of the articles for the challenge are already up on the website so you can go through them at your own pace. Also don’t forget to include an exercise program in your lifestyle to help with weight loss and energy levels.

  28. Ashlinn says:

    How do I prepare food in a healthy way on a budget (both time/money budget)?

    Hellloooo! My name is Ashlinn– I’m a 20 year old fulltime student and working 20+ hours a week in a high end restaurant. I have a lot of experience with eating healthy but have definitely strayed away from it. As I get busy (and poor), my focus drifts away from my diet and towards trying to do ten million things at once. Right now, I’m barely spending time cooking at home and my yoga practice is also suffering. I need to get things back on track but need the motivation of a “challenge” to stick to it. When I’m not eating healthy (whole grains, abundance of fruits and veggies, clean foods, homecooked, etc etc) I start to feel worse in every way.

    • Anastasiya says:

      Hi Ashlinn!
      I think you can really benefit from the article that I wrote for the challenge: The Secret to fast healthy Meals on a Budget.I think you can find several useful and easy ideas that will let you spend as little time in the kitchen as possible while still eating a healthy diet. Currently my favorite go-to snack is fresh veggies with hummus and my favorite fast meal is beans, wilted spinach (I add a little bit of olive oil, salt and some garlic) and a piece of whole-rain bread. It doesn’t sound like much but the flavors go together so well and it takes only 10 minutes to fix the whole meal.

  29. Heather says:

    My biggest challenge is finding meals that I can cook (for lunch and dinner) with relative ease. I have not spent much time in the kitchen- I practically burn down the house every time. So I get overwhelmed looking at recipes and then looking at a grocery list.I also really struggle with getting time to eat food in the morning. I just never seem to have enough time. My goal is to find some recipes and cooking techniques that I feel comfortable with. Also, I want to incorporate healthy eating into my busy life so that it becomes habit, eliminating the desire for fast food.

  30. Harry says:

    so true, its hard to stick to the diet when there are events coming, specially get together where they tend to put out so many delicious food. Self discipline is badly needed.

  31. Tia Samuel says:

    I am Tia. I am 18 years old and will be 19 in less than a month from now. I was my heaviest two years ago (2011-2012) when I was in the 11th grade, at 196 pounds. I had went for a routine check up to the doctor because I had started using the restroom way too much to be normal. I have always had a bathroom problem ever since I entered into 8th and continually gotten worse after. My doctor found out my urine sample was atypical and encourage my mom that I should go to a specialize diabetic center to see if diabetes was the problem. I went with my mom to the clinic, took a couple of test, had my weight tested and then sat in the waiting room for the results. I will say that this was the most embarrassing experience for me throughout the whole process. When my doctor ushered us into her office she said that I was borderline diabetic and obese. I had to fight back tears I was sad, embarrassed and annoyed at the whole situation. That year at the ending of the semester in school I didn’t-but kinda made a decision to lose weight and get my life back on track, that’s when my journey began. I started losing weight, but the going was slow, this year (2012-2013) my senior year in high school was where I lost a lot of weight. Last time I checked I was 150 pounds. I have been slacking tremendously, but have started this week getting back on schedule. I have since not been back to the doctor but will like to show my progress to her. I do not like fruits and vegetables much but know that I need to eat them in order to have a healthy diet, lifestyle and overall wellbeing. So my most biggest challenge is exercising religiously and incorporating fruits and vegetables. I will like to be 120-130 by the ending of this year. Hopefully in two to three months.

  32. Tia Samuel says:

    Is soy products really bad for you? Is wheat bad as well? As you can see there are so many conflicting information being told on the internet. I am confuse… If milk and overall dairy is bad for people than how is yogurt touted as being so good for the body? Can people in the USA really eat healthy and get the 100% nutrition the body craves every single day? Where can I find organic farms nearby to where I live? Such as organic non-GMO meat, dairy, produce, seafood etc.

    ◦what questions (if any) you have about healthy eating (please start a question with QUESTION so that I can easily spot them.)