Monday, September 3, 2012

Healthy Changes- The Practical Side

When we decided to change our diet by eliminating meat and dairy and eating healthy, plant based foods, my first thought was, "This is going to blow our budget and take FOREVER to learn how to cook this way!"  (Click here to read more about our diet change.) However, I am so glad to say that I was wrong. Shopping for our meals and learning to cook with beans and veggies was challenging at first, but it didn't take long at all to find many foods that we love and that I can easily prepare.
Today, I thought that I would share the practical side of eating healthy (shopping, cooking, planning) so you can see how our family has made it work for us. I also included one of my favorite recipes so you can try it out if you want.

 Due to the generally high prices of organic/ health food stores, I try to avoid them as much as possible and get as much healthy food as I can at lower priced stores. I do a lot of shopping at Aldi and a little from Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee. There are a few food items that I have to shop elsewhere for, but I try to stick to stores that will offer the best bargain for my buck.
If I stick to my budget and am careful, it ends up costing us about $75.00 a week to shop for our groceries, totaling about $300.00 a month. Compared to our previous budget, it is a little more expensive to shop this way, but I'm still managing to keep the cost of our healthier diet to a minimum just by avoiding pricy health food stores and doing a little price comparison.

I thought it might be helpful to show you my grocery shopping list so that you could have an idea of how we eat now. Many items on the list are bought weekly, but a few foods are bought once a month in bulk.

 Some foods I buy on a regular basis are:

Almond Milk (Aldi sells is for so much cheaper than anywhere else!)
Slow Cook Oats
Salsa (I top a lot of foods with a very mild salsa from Aldi and it adds so much flavor!)
Corn Chips (My husband can't live without these, apparently.)
All Natural Peanut Butter (This is one food that I do spend a little more for.)
Nuts (Mostly Peanuts and Almonds)
Whole Grain Bread
Olive Oil Butter
Canned Beans (Every kind) (If buying re-fried beans, look for, "Fat Free." Normal re-fried beans       have lard in them.
Veggies (Almost every kind including avocados and spinach)
Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Humus (If I'm feeling lazy I will buy it at Aldi instead of making it. The Roasted Red Pepper is very good!)
Fruit (mostly bananas and apples.)
Frozen Strawberries (I get these at Sam's Club in bulk...they are much cheaper this way!)
Pasta and Red Pasta Sauce 
Brown Rice
Fish (Tuna and every once in a while some yummy Salmon.)

ere is an example of what we eat throughout our day. My husband is very active and needs to eat a lot to maintain his weight, so I add double and triple portions to the list below for him. 

A Typical Daily Menu:

For Me: A cup of fresh coffee!
For Me and the whole family: 1 bowl of slow cook oatmeal topped with frozen strawberries and a green smoothie (I will explain how we make this soon.)

Sliced Apples or Carrots and some nuts.

Baked sweet potato topped with garlic, onion and salt. Left overs from dinner the night before.

Bean Burritos  with corn chips and salsa.


 As you saw above, one of our favorite dinners are Black Bean Burritos. They taste SO good and are a wonderful healthy meal option! I also love that they don't take more than 20 minutes to put together. This is how I make them.
I didn't crisp these tortillas in a frying pan. Normally they would be slightly browned.

                                           Bean Burritos


Flour Tortillas
1 or 2 Cans of Black Beans (I use two so that we have leftovers.)
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 Tbs. Fresh Garlic
1/2 tsp. Chilli Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
Salt (to taste)
1 Avocado (Optional)
1 Tomato or canned tomato chunks (Optional)
Fresh Spinach (Optional)
In a frying pan add the beans (rinse them first), chopped onion and spices. Allow the beans and onion to cook until soft, then add the garlic and the can of drained tomato chunks.
Cook for a few more minutes, then pour everything into a bowl.
Warm the tortillas on a pan sprayed with olive oil. I like to let them get slightly crisp before I take them off the pan.
Add the avocado, spinach and fresh tomato then fold the tortilla.
You might also like to add some mild salsa and cilantro for even more flavor!

If you decide to try the black bean burrito recipe, let me know what you think!

May your day be truly blessed!

1 comment:

Sarah Choi said...

Thanks for sharing, Joy! Love hearing about "healthy lifestyle" tips:) Your photo made my mouth water! Looks delicious~ (PS: Hope you're doing well!)