How We Plan Healthy Meals on a Tight Budget

Hey there! It is hoooot here in NC, and I’m pregnant, so in reality it feels like 105 instead of 95 degrees. Icky…

There’s always a lot of buzz about good nutrition, and I’m not a nutritionist, but I can tell you that I can always tell a difference between how my body feels when I eat healthy meals and when I don’t. The difference is like night and day. I’m less moody, have more energy, and there’s a tremendous difference in my metabolism.

To be honest, most my family members and friends don’t subscribe to my healthy menu planning… and I’ve been asked, “How can you afford to eat healthy?”

My response is “How can I afford to not eat healthy food?” I think what we need to remember is that healthy food is nutrient-rich, minimally-processed food.


And while we do buy some organic produce when it goes on sale, our family doesn’t subscribe to the “you must buy everything organic” rule. We just don’t… not trying to pick a fight with any of my other blogging friends, but there’s sometimes that it’s just not necessary. (More on this in a later post.) That’s what Aldi is for … and Trader Joe’s.

So hopefully, you’re now anxiously awaiting the unveiling of our frugal healthy eating success. There are actually several secrets. And here they are in no particular order.

1. We buy in-season produce.

This is cheaper. And I plan our meals for the week based on what is available. If you’re not sure what’s in-season, then google it. Hint: Strawberries probably aren’t going to be in season in December…

2. We buy certain ingredients in larger packaging for use in multiple meals.

The reason we do this is because the price per ounce/pound/unit is much cheaper for bulk items, such as pureed tomatoes or rotisserie chicken, that can be used in soups and other recipes.

It has saved us lots of money and time.

3. We buy canned goods and frozen veggies and fruits

There are lots of lower sodium and organic and non-GMO options for canned goods now. So just relax already.

4. We write out our menu for the week.

This is something that I’ve been doing for years, and it helps me grocery shop with a plan and stay on budget. This is how I know what I’m going to cook, the ingredients I need , and how much I’m going to spend that week on groceries. Don’t forget to include a few healthy snack options.

This will help you plan and prep for the whole week, so you’re not as easily tempted to run through the drive-thru.

If you need a little help getting organized in this area, I’ve
created a really cute and easy-to-use menu planning printable set. You know, those cute and really practical printables that you can download and print and stick on your refrigerator?

Just 10 minutes of preparation can impact your eating habits.

5. We plan our meals based on what’s on sale.

Buy produce and meats that are on sale. Yes. You can take this classic grocery shopping tip and apply it to healthy meal planning. It’s so easy to do.

6. We don’t buy junk.

You wouldn’t go out have a shopping spree on clothes without making sure your mortgage was paid, would you? Any financially responsible person would make sure their essential expense categories were taken care of before making discretionary purchases.

The same concept applies to your meal planning and grocery shopping. Purchase your nutritious food items first, then if there’s money left over in your budget, buy a “treat” food.

Your wallet and your budget will thank you!

What has helped you eat healthy meals on a tight budget? Comment below! I’d love to hear your story!

To see more of my healthy living printables, you can check them out here!

Buy now
Bon appetit!




5 Ways You can “Shave” Time and Money – while getting fit

Hi There!
It’s workout Wednesday! I was inspired to share my ideas on “shaving” time and money in my fitness routine by the Dollar Shave Club.  In case you don’t know who they are, the Dollar Shave Club is a company that provides great quality razors for as low as $1 each month! Since my husband has beastly facial hair, I knew I could easily appreciate working with Dollar Shave Club on this post!

Today I’d like to share with you some ways that I can shave time and money in my fitness routine. There are a lot of ways I do this, but I thought I’d share with you my top 5.

1. I work out at home. My primary job is as a fitness contractor, meaning that I often times drive to work sites to teach fitness classes. Also meaning that by the end of the day, I don’t want to drive to a separate facility (and spend more gas money) to go work out for only 30-45 minutes and then drive home, losing more time that I need to plan other things, like this post. Hehehe… I write my own workouts.  (Oh the joys of being a fitness instructor!) Or, I do my Piyo home dvd’s, Mash-Up Conditioning, or 21 Day Fix, or Body Beast, which I’m getting ready to start next week. (I can’t wait!) Where we live, it’s just not practical for me to pay for a gym membership, and then drive 25 minutes each way…um, yeah. Micah and I workout together a lot, and that makes for great family time. Don’t get me wrong, I like the gym, it’s just not practical for me.

2. I prep my meals in advance on Sunday. This is fitness-related because it’s important for me to get proper nutrition in order to get results. I often-times roast a whole chicken in a crock pot and use it throughout the week to make soups and stews, and chicken salad. I  also make my own protein bars, which saves me money, by cutting the cost from $1.50 a bar to less than $.50 a bar.

3. I shop craiglist for fitness equipment. We don’t have many good sporting goods stores where I, only one actually, so I shop for steals on used weights…hey, a weight is a weight, right? Safety tip, I’ve never had a problem with Craigslist, but I always take Micah with me when picking up items. I love to shop at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx and Ross for resistance bands and exercise balls.

4. I do HIIT workouts. I take a couple of active rest days a week, but most days, my workouts are 30 minutes or less. I love to do tabatas when I have absolutely no time because they only take 4 minutes. Stressing less is worth working out for 4 minutes. I love my jump rope. I also use exercises that are compound movements, like kettlebell swings, and sneak in my cardio and strength training at the same time.

5. I don’t waste food. We only buy what we will eat. Portion control and a variety of foods is key here. You’d be suprised how much food goes to waste. Keep a close eye on those perishables. Make a big salad. You never know, you might just invent a fabulous new family favorite!

There, now you know my favorite 5 ways to “Shave” time and money in my fitness routine. Thank you to the Dollar Shave Club for inspiring me to write this post! To see their fabulous razor blades, check out this link: Hey, they’d make excellent stocking stuffers!

Start “Shaving”
– Julie