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Easy Meal Ideas to Maintain a Healthy Wallet & Waistline

Most people assume that eating cheap fast food means a healthy wallet – but it doesn’t mean a healthy waistline, unfortunately. It’s seems so quick and easy to feed the kids, not to mention cheap, running through a fast food joint, and coming out with a full dinner under 20 bucks.  But have you stopped to think about the food you’re feeding the kids? Not to mention yourself.

As shown in the documentary film “Supersize Me”, by Morgan Spurlock, fast food wreaks havoc on your body and your waistline.  The food is garbage, and you might as well be feeding your kids donuts for dinner for the fat content they are eating. There are alternatives you know, yes, it might mean stopping at the grocery store and throwing something together at home, but wouldn’t it make more sense to feed your family something nutritious and healthy? The grocery store may seem expensive, but it’s not – if you know what to buy and how to shop.  The first rule is to stay out of the middle of the store, where all of the processed foods are kept. Here are some cheap alternatives to the quickie foods that so many opt for because of convenience and price.

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal: (real oatmeal, not the boxed kind) with frozen fruit, cinnamon and honey or agave nectar.  This takes only 3 minutes in the microwave and costs under $5.00.
  • Try scrambling some eggs, and throw in some frozen broccoli, bell peppers and mushrooms, and you have yourself an omelet.  Toss this into a tortilla or pita and you have a meal for under $5.00.

Lunch:

If you’ve not heard of hummus, you don’t know what you’re missing.  It’s full of protein without the saturated fat, and is really filling.  Find a recipe and make your own, it’s less expensive and you can make it in bulk, and freeze it for later.

  • Hummus sandwich with cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados and lettuce.  Healthy for your waistline and wallet!
  • Salad, homemade, with black beans, tomatoes, corn, almonds, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado – with homemade oil and vinegar dressing – filling, healthy and cheap!

Dinner:

There are hundreds of variations to what is listed below, but get creative, and change things up a bit – and before you know it, you’ll love the home cooked items much better than the alternative.

  • Whole-wheat pasta with crushed tomatoes, basil and your favorite spices.  Add frozen veggies and sprinkle mozzarella on top and you have a great, and fast meal – cheap.
  • Soup and Salad:  Get the soup of your choice, add a little pita bread, or whole wheat bread, and make a huge salad with all of the veggies you can imagine.
  • Grilled mushroom and veggies in a tortilla, with tomatoes, lettuce and spices – add a baked potato and your meal is complete!
  • Pinto bean and rice burritos – filled with lettuce, tomatoes, avocados and plenty of cheese will make this a family favorite.

The point here is that you can eat a healthy meal without the expense.  And, when you eat like this, your waistline won’t suffer.  Your kids will be filled and healthy. Remember, when you buy in bulk with items such as brown rice and beans, the cost is pennies per meal.  And beans are the best food available for the price.  They are packed with protein and essential nutrients and vitamins – and full of fiber. Also, buying frozen vegetables and fruits can be less expensive than fresh, so load up on the sale items – they last forever in the freezer.

Another great tip is to cook in bulk – make extra so that on the days you are exhausted, you can just pop something out of the freezer and into the microwave for a quick and satisfying – and non-fattening meal.

These are just suggestions, but there are hundreds of quick and easy healthy meal cookbooks available today.  Pick one up and give up the fast food trend.  Your wallet will thank you when your health flourishes and the doctor bills diminish.

About Tara V

Domestically challenged mom blogger of 5, retail therapy believer, organic coffee drinker & interior design enthusiast. Trying to keep up with our busy lives often leads me to needing a caffeine IV!

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