Healthy Eating: Budget versus Food

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/ESPAÑOL

As we all know, healthy food IS expensive. Unless you have the gift of gardening. So far, not my case. I got some tomatoes once, but the bugs ate them. Just like that, my motivation for having my dream veggie garden went downhill. Instead, I still keep buying my veggies and fruits at the places mentioned in my last post. Although expensive, healthy food can be affordable. The trick is to create a budget and stick to it.

Before we keep going, it has always been my intention to keep my blog real. My posts are really about my journey. So, take a look at what is in my refrigerator. There are no magic tricks here. This is really what I eat. Of course, I love ice cream, cake, and sweets, and I do eat all of those as well. They just never last long enough for me to take pictures.

Now, let’s keep going. Budget versus food is all about eating healthier within our means. It is part of affording a simpler life in which our bodies are fueled with the nutrients it needs. My secrets? No secrets, just a series of simple steps to help us get on track.

1. Identify your food spending habits

First, you need to look at your bank statements and identify how much you are spending on buying food. This includes dining out, grocery shopping, snack at work, etc. ALL related to food should be taken into consideration. The key here is to know how much you are spending on food and creating a budget. For more information on how to create a family budget, click here. After going through this exercise, you will have a better idea of how much and often you do any of the followings:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Dine out
  • Miscellaneous food expenses (e.g., snack, coffee, etc.)

All those are essential items you need to consider when looking at your eating habits and changing them.

2. Identify your eating habits

After identifying your spending habits, you will be able to know where and when you are eating. We really need to assess what we eat and ask ourselves whether this food is healthy or not for us. Being honest with ourselves and listening to our bodies’ needs is critical here.

3. Create a Budget

Your budget has to be mindful, realistic, and one that works for you and your family. It should include dining out, grocery shopping, and any other kind of food-related spending. For over a year now, my family and I have a set budget of $240 weekly. It was really hard at the beginning to track how much we spent on all kinds of food and stick to our budget. Today, we spend between $80 and $130 weekly on primarily healthy food for our family of four. We also get take-out on Fridays—all within our $240 budget for the week. Here some of our grocery shopping receipts with a good mix of different items.

4. What is Next?

After having a budget, you need to create the habit of sticking to it. But it does not end here. You need to also make a habit of eating healthier ON a budget. For that, I do Meal Prep Planning (MPP). I know what my family and I will be eating during the week, including snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In my next post, I will be sharing some of my go-to healthy, simple, and affordable snacks.

Just remember balance is important. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There is not such a thing as perfection. It is all about what your body needs and what you can actually afford. So, be flexible. If you are like me…I eat broccoli, avocado, and all kind of fruits, but sometimes I will have pancakes for dinner with strawberries and whipped cream—Yummy Yummy for this Simple Woman tummy.

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