Hey Folks! We're excited to welcome back Certified 21DSD Coach Beth Romanski. Beth's article is part of a series contributed by our Certified 21DSD Coaches. Enjoy! – Diane and Team
You may think that eating healthy always has to be expensive, but don’t let this notion keep you from your 21DSD goals.
In my previous blog post, 21DSD on a Budget Part 1, I outlined some tips to help you think about how you can save on the healthy foods your body craves and deserves. In case you missed it, check those out here and read on for even more ideas!
Focus on the basics
Many of the standard foods on the 21DSD “yes” lists are super affordable if you think about it. Balance your grocery bill with canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines) when fresh gets too expensive. Purchase chicken with the bone in or a whole chicken with skin instead of boneless skinless chicken breasts and you will have meals for days. The same goes for cuts of meat: less expensive cuts make great roasts that feed a family or make multiple meals. Bananas, sweet potatoes (Energy mod), plantains (Energy mod), eggs, beans (Level 1 only), tomato paste, and pumpkin are all examples of 21DSD foods that won’t break the bank. Even staples like coconut flour go a long way in the 21DSD recipes.
Don’t always buy name-brand
Most large food stores now produce their own brands at a more affordable price than the name-brand options. For example, the store-brand coconut milk at my local grocery store is $1.99 vs. $2.89 for a name-brand version. It may not seem like much, but every little bit adds up. Of course you may want to support some of the other organic companies, but when you are on a tight budget, store-brand staples can contain similar ingredients and nutrient profiles as the name-brand items.
Stay away from packages
The 21DSD inherently teaches you to eat mostly real, whole foods instead of the packaged foods you may have relied on previously. Even if breakfast bars, frozen meals, canned soups and cereal are no longer on your grocery list, there are other forms of healthy food that are 21DSD approved that can still hike up the budget. I’m all in favor of healthy food becoming more mainstream and convenient, but if you’re on a tight budget, you’d best leave those on the shelf. For example, you could easily make your own kale or beet chips, crackers, riced cauliflower or even kombucha on your own (even if you aren’t someone who particularly likes cooking) at a fraction of the price of the trendy packaging. Sure, pre-cubed butternut squash is nice in a pinch, but you can save several dollars by buying the whole squash and spending a few minutes cutting it up yourself to roast or bake. Same thing goes with packaged salads compared to whole heads of greens that you can just cut up and toss into a dish when you’re ready. (P.S. A vegetable spiralizer is a great tool to have in the kitchen!)
Make your own
If you don’t like to cook, almost all of the 21DSD meals are still super simple, so you won’t be too challenged to make this work with your lifestyle. If you do like to cook, then you should be in your glory with all the variety! Instead of buying more expensive ghee, make your own at a fraction of the cost following the recipe on pg. 210 of the 21DSD Guidebook. Almond milk with meal leftover for crackers, 21DSD muffins, sauerkraut, mayo, bone broth, soups, and stews are all super easy and budget-friendly ideas. You can save a lot of money making your own salad dressing with a few basic ingredients compared to buying bottled dressings (which almost always have undesirable oils or added sugars)!
Eat at home
We all know this intuitively even if we don’t practice it, but cooking at home instead of eating out is a pretty significant way to save money, so doing the 21DSD is the perfect time for you to do more home cooking. If you have a partner or a family, you’ll even have more time to bond at the dinner table. Crockpot or Instant Pot meals are great time savers and they are pretty fail-proof even for the novice in the kitchen.
The official 21DSD Facebook page has tons of recipes posted every day for inspiration so you’ll never get bored. If you don’t have it already, pick up the Official 21-Day Sugar Detox Guidebook, the 21DSD Cookbook and Practical Paleo 2nd Edition.
This strategy goes hand-in-hand with making more of your own food and eating out less. If you have a plan, you can take better advantage of sales and coupons and you can also incorporate your purchases in a few different meals throughout the week to reduce food waste (and wasted money). For example, if you purchase chicken breasts in bulk, you can prepare them grilled with cauliflower rice in the evening, but make extra so you can have leftovers for breakfast and then enjoy sliced chicken breast atop a bed of salad greens with chopped egg, olives, cucumbers, grilled red bell peppers as a delicious lunch! Americans throw away approximately $165 billion worth of food each year, and for the average American family, that can be up to $2,200 per household, according to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Don’t be one of these people if you care about your wallet and the environment!
Sure, the reality is that some healthy foods will cost more, so when you want to splurge, I recommend choosing wisely. The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list is a helpful guide for what produce you may want to consider buying organic (hint: mostly produce where you consume the skin). Unless 100% organic is important to you for ethical reasons, everything you have to buy doesn’t have to be organic (especially when it comes to packaged foods), so you might want to reserve organic for meat and dairy (Levels 1 and 2). Finally, when it comes to unique packaged foods (i.e. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides), I usually tell my clients to pick one specialty item per month as a treat and that way you spread the costs over several months instead of having wallet shock.
I hope this motivates you to think creatively about how you can still follow the 21DSD without breaking the bank as an excuse to hold you back from giving it a try, or for healthy eating in general.
What are YOUR best strategies for eating on a budget? Share them here to benefit everyone in the 21DSD Community!
If you like what you’ve read, join me and my fellow 21DSD Certified Coaches for a very special free online summit April 24-28, 2017 – HEALTH COACH SECRETS! Register here!
Beth Romanski is a Certified Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Beth takes a personalized approach to health coaching, working with clients to create custom nutrition blueprints and individualized coaching programs to meet their needs. Beth is passionate about spreading the message of health and happiness through education, with a supportive and empowering style.
Visit Beth’s website at www.myhealthytransitions.com to learn more about her one-on-one coaching programs, to sign up for the MyHealthyTransitions email newsletter, or to request a complimentary health coach phone consultation as a special offer for 21DSD Blog readers.