I’m not going to lie. It’s pretty hard for me right now. I’m trying to cut out certain foods out of my diet like bread, sugar, and unhealthy fats. What I do have going on for me is that I intern in an area where healthy options are readily available and within walking distance. Even so it makes it harder for me to find great food at a reasonable price. Just the other day I went to Whole Foods and crafted my own salad. Romaine, tomatoes, onion, tofu, mushrooms, etc. When it came down to it the salad weighed about a pound and it came out to like $7 and some change. All the ingredients I could have decided to put on the salad were USDA certified organic so I guess that made it more expensive for me.
I mean growing up I was used to eating off the dollar menu. Rarely did we buy salads because there was always that idea that we could “make them at home”. Even though my mom rarely made salads, and as a kid I was too lazy to make one, we still loved them. My mom took me to Sizzler’s (a casual dining restaurant) almost 3 times in a month. We always bought a salad bar option and and pigged out on the all-you-can-eat salad bar. My mom taught us to always get our salad first. I remember I always got my salad first but I always drenched it in Ranch. I was just a kid! Before however I didn’t know the value of money and I just ate. Now I eat what I can afford. Spending $7 a day while earning about $800 adds up. 5 salads for Monday thru Friday by $7 is about 35 dollars a week, just for lunch. $35 by 3 weeks is $105. That’s just for lunch. So my question throughout this journey is How can I afford healthy food at a price that suits my income?
Besides cooking from home being an obvious answer I think being able to find healthy options while on the streets is a big challenge. Not only do you face the temptations of these restaurants but you have to go ahead and look for what needs to be substituted out to create your own healthy option. This morning I went to Subway because I didn’t eat breakfast and I didn’t bring a lunch. I decided to spend $9 total today by buying a footlong and saving the other half for lunch. Of course you have to decided on a good meat or you’ll just end up having a nasty lunch later.
I bought the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast and asked for a whole grain foot long bun. I added Spinach, Tomato, Red Onion, Bell Pepper, Pickles, Salt, Pepper, Oil, Vinegar and let’s not forget the Swiss cheese! What I did this morning was eat the first half. One bite into it however I realized how much I didn’t need the thick bottom side of the bun. I tore it off and ate the sandwich like a hot dog. A small portion of bread as my base, protein, and veggies. I can promise you that I will do the same for lunch. It’s all about eating smarter.
If you go to McDonalds for breakfast and that’s really the only option you have available you can get their oatmeal or turkey egg white bowls. The cool thing about this new health trend is that fast food restaurants like McDonalds are trying to catch up to that trend. If you really want a sausage egg McMuffin I would say go ahead but take off the thickest piece of bread and eat it like a tostada. But always take into consideration salt content.
Eating healthy is about being able to moderate your portions and making sure that even though you’re stuck in an unhealthy situation you can find substitutes and try to create a better menu for yourself. Play around with the menus at Burger King or McDonalds. They have cheap items there that could possibly be made healthy. Eating on a budget sucks but for an everyday person such as myself I can’t go around spending $20 a day on breakfast and lunch. I would be out of money by the end of the week! We look at all these celebrity fitness gurus and want to look like them, but how can we do that if we can’t afford do eat how they eat? Especially on a busy schedule. I think it’s just about thinking outside the box and creating a new comfort zone for yourself where you’re not afraid to tell the person taking your order at McDonalds that you don’t want the bread. Cutting of the unnecessary thick piece of bun from you Subway sandwich. It’s time to get creative don’t you think?