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8 Ways to Eat Healthy On A Budget (Yes, you can ACTUALLY save money this way)

I’ve been (mostly) eating healthy for about 3 years now, and I have to tell you, I get where you’re coming from.

Healthier eating, at first, SEEMS more expensive than when I used to just buy 3 Lean Cuisines at the grocery store and call them lunches.

But I knew that if I wanted to stick with this “healthy eating” thing on a musician’s salary, I would have to learn some tricks to keep the cost low and the food nutrition high.

 

 

And so, after 3 years of continued trial and error, here are some of the things that I’ve learned to eat on a budget and nutritiously.

 

Let’s break it down:

Our total budget for food, per month, is $600/month, including Shakeology for both of us.

If we were to do the math…..

$600 / 4 weeks = $150/week;
$150 / 7 days = $21.42/day;
$21.42 / 4 meals = $5.35 per meal;
$5.35 / 2 people = $2.67 per meal.

We eat healthily for under $3 per meal. And that includes Shakeology.

 

How do we do it? Here are some tips for you to follow, you money-savvy reader, you. ūüėČ

 

1) We don’t buy much junk. Greg’s vice is ice cream, mine is chips. We may buy one container of that, every other week. But other than that, we really try and keep it to that.
2) We use everything that we buy. Example: we don’t buy many fruits because we’ve found we don’t eat them before they go bad. We only buy apples now. We also buy frozen fruits so that they don’t go bad as quickly and we can blend them into our Shakeology. Our pantry is pretty sparse because we use 90% of what we buy each week.
3) We buy frozen broccoli and fresh spinach. Those are our two EASY, quick veggies. Again, we don’t buy tooooo many other veggies on a regular basis because we tend to forget about them when we are exhausted and don’t want to make food. I buy frozen broccoli for $1 per package, which gives us enough veggies for our dinner meal.
4) We don’t eat out that often.¬†(this is the big one.) We probably get pizza once a month (which is a struggle for me, hahahahahah), but lately we’ve tended to buy nicer meats (i.e. pork tenderloin) instead of going out to eat. It still saves money and is healthier.
OH! We also get restaurant gift cards for our birthdays/Christmas, so we save them for going out about once-twice/month. (So you can ask for restaurant gift cards to your favorite places for Christmas!)

 

5)¬†We don’t drink lattes. Seriously, though. We don’t go to Starbucks or our local bistro for a quick frothy coffee drink, which easily saves us $4-5 per day, per person. Think about it: That $4-5/day could EASILY be the cost of our lunch or dinner!

 

6)¬†We drink Shakeology.¬†I know, I know, I’ve already mentioned this one.
Now, this might seem like something to break the budget, as Shakeology is a pretty penny to buy. But Shakeology actually¬†saves us money in the long run. As someone with SIX part-time jobs (yes, you read that right, SIX), I essentially live out of my car on many days of the week. There have been times when I was driving from one job to the next and had NOTHING to eat in my car except an old bag of stale almonds, and my Shakeology. But Shakeology gives me a nutrient-dense meal at a stoplight, eliminating me from grabbing Panera (which is EASILY $9 for a soup and salad) or something unhealthy like Wendy’s (which would still be around $5, making it more expensive than my Shakeology).

 

7)¬†We buy in-season foods. I’m writing this in the fall, which means that sweet potatoes and squash are a¬†GREAT buy right now. I got a 3-lb bag of sweet potatoes and a whole squash for .99 cents each! I actually made a DELICIOUS, pumpkin squash soup that only cost $2 to make and will give me and the hubby enough soup for at¬†least¬†3 meals. (that’s insane)
So when it comes time for the blueberries to be out of season, I bid them adieu until the spring (unless they are frozen blueberries, see #2).

Just another delicious example of eating healthy!

Just another delicious example of eating healthy!

 

 

8)¬†Keep. It. Simple. Honestly. You don’t need to buy all of your foods at a fancy Whole Foods Market store. You simply need the foods that will serve you and your loved ones, nothing more. It took a lot of self-discipline to get to where we are today (in terms of not eating out as much, etc.) but it’s made our budgeting easier.

 

 

 

And so, I ask you: What’s in your cart? How do you work to keep things budget-conscious? How do you save money with healthy eating? Or more importantly….do you struggle with eating healthy and want help? Please contact me and I would be happy to set up a free consultation with you!

 

In peace & health,

Amanda

 



Under construction!

WOOHOO!! After months and months of deliberation, I have made the switch over to my own personal site. All of my original Gluten Free Advocate material is here too, so stay tuned for even better things coming your way!


Posted on October 21, 2014
By amanda.plazek@gmail.com

Filed under Uncategorized
Comments Off on Under construction!


Recipe: Bomb Diggity Sweet Potato Fries

One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes (other than my dee-lish sweet potato casserole) are sweet potato fries. Medallions, if you will. They are labor-intensive (ie. chopping up a sweet potato), but really healthy (no added crazy ingredients!) and worth it.

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • 3-4 whole, uncooked sweet potatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt

 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Wash and peel skins off of sweet potatoes.
  • Cut sweet potatoes to about 1/4 inch width, making medallions.
  • place on foil-lined pan; massage 2-3 tbsp olive oil on each side of sweet potato piece.
  • Add salt (for the sweet-salty taste I adore) and cook for 30-40 minutes, checking every 10 minutes (and flipping 20 minutes in!)
  • ENJOY ūüôā
"before"! (Mind the messy stove, by the way.) This is the amount made by 4 sweet potatoes cut

“before”! (Mind the messy stove, by the way.) This is the amount made by 4 sweet potatoes cut

 

After!..I burned them a little. I had already scarfed down more than my fair share, but decided to take the picture anyway (shown with grilled pork chop and roasted cauliflower)

After!..I burned them a little. I had already scarfed down more than my fair share, but decided to take the picture anyway (shown with grilled pork chop and roasted cauliflower)

 

 

Would you try these delicious medallions? Let me know what you think!

In peace and health- xo

 



Drumroll please….my life without braces

You have no idea how incredible I feel writing this blog post. I never thought this day would come, but alas, it has! I am thrilled to introduce to you… my new smile.

 

Ta da!

Photo on 9-24-14 at 1.50 PM Photo on 9-24-14 at 3.42 PM

 

After just about 17 months of braces and double jaw surgery, I am more than thrilled with my beautiful new smile. People have said to me, “but you looked beautiful before!”. Unfortunately, they’ve missed the point. I didn’t do this to “become beautiful”. I did this to fix my jaw. To fix the TMJ issues I was already having: jaw pain, chronic headaches…the list goes on. Seeing my straight teeth and correct bite are the perks, but not the reason!

 

 

My jaw surgery journey, in pictures

My jaw surgery journey, in pictures

 

The journey has been blessed with support and love from my friends and family. My fianc√© hasn’t left my side since I left the operating room in February. He became my warrior, my rock and my light, fighting to make me comfortable as I healed. I’m so grateful for him and my family who supported me and saw the reason for the journey.

I was also blessed with the God-given knowledge to¬†drink Shakeology for nutrition during my post-operative recovery. Goodness, it was worth every penny. I didn’t realize how good I had it until¬†after I was done with surgery, having zero bruising (which is pretty much a given in jaw surgery) and incredibly minimal swelling.

I’ve also realized, even more, how critical the management of our own health really is. If we don’t take initiative for our own future, we will become vulnerable to losing grip on our health. We need to do things for our future that scare us. We need to nourish ourselves and give our bodies the best chance possible to live long, healthy, loving lives with our family.

Love-Your-Body

 

Would I do it again? Yes. Absolutely yes. THANK YOU to all who followed my journey and supported me throughout the entire process! I couldn’t have done it without you.

 

 

Watch my reactions and reflections in video form here:

 

 



Me + The 21 Day Fix (review)

There was a new product released this year called the “21 Day Fix”. It was released in February, which meant it had horrible timing for my life: while the rest of my friends were giving it a try, I was holed up in my bedroom, recovering from jaw surgery. BOO!

21df_logo_1024x1024

 

 

And I’ll admit, I was¬†incredibly skeptical- the program, which combined an eating plan and 30-minute workouts, had us eating out of these containers. It looked ridiculous.

21-day-fix-containers

 

However, I decided to give it a try. I was blown away. Boy, was I wrong  about this program!

 

The containers create portion control (which I like to call “balance control”) between fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. The portions are MUCH larger than those deceptive containers look: Each green container (representing the vegetables) provides a cup of leafy greens, which is a gratuitous portion when considering that I now eat 3-4 of those containers per day.

 

The program has you decide which amount of containers to eat, depending upon your height and weight. It’s also realistic, allowing chocolate and wine into the program, just to name a few. While essentially becoming more conscious of what you’re putting in your body, a variety of 30-minute workouts come with the program too, ranging from pilates and yoga to cardio and weight lifting.

 

This program is a game-changer for me, even as an already-healthy eater. It’s like a master class for your daily routine: I eat every 2-3 hours on the program and have food/snacks already planned for my incredibly hectic day. I’ve been loving it so much that I have a group of ladies who have all committed to doing the same thing with me!

 

If you’re interested in joining us, click the “contact me!” button on the lefthand side above.

 

 

I challenge each one of you to consider making one subtle, healthier change to your eating habits. Whether it’s omitting your late-night snack, watching your alcohol intake or limiting the number of times you grab food on-the-go, I challenge you to make these changes for yourself. For your future. Because in the end, that’s why we all are doing this. We want to have the highest quality of life possible.

 

 

Stay healthy and gluten free, my friends!

xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



A Day in the Life: What I eat 24/7

A lot of people ask me, “what do you eat every day?”

I am going to share, my dear readers, a snapshot of what I eat in a day! I must warn you of a few things:

a) It has taken me 2 years to integrate all of these whole foods into my eating habits. When I started out, I thought eating gluten-free pasta every day was healthy! nope. White rice flour really isn’t that healthy at all!

 

b) I eat. all. the. time. I bring my little lunch box to class (with my backpack. I’m in my twenties. I look like I’m twelve.). I eat grapes while I drive. I eat spinach in the hallway. I drink Shakeology during class. I make it a priority to never go 2-3 hours without food.

 

c) I eat bad food too! My weaknesses? Gluten-free pizza, a Hershey bar, and Lay’s potato chips. I crave those constantly, and I let myself have them quite often too. But do I eat an entire Hershey’s bar in one sitting? no. I allow myself these things, and I don’t deprive myself. Because when I do, I end up eating much more than I should of the bad stuff. (It’s all about balance, people!)

d) I feel¬†absolutely incredible, and now I crave these things more than the processed stuff.¬†But it’s a growing game, too- we were probably raised on a lot more processed food than we’d like to admit, and so adapting off of these foods is critical to our health.

 

Ready? ok! Here we go!

 

A Day in the Life 

 

7/8am: 2 eggs, scrambled; 1 cup black coffee; ¬Ĺ cup oatmeal with a little bit of agave nectar or honey

 

work out, 30 minutes

 

post-workout (10 am?): 1 scoop shakeology, blended with milk, ice, and a banana

 

12 noon/1 pm: Lunch! ¬Ĺ cup chicken, oven roasted @ home; 1 cup raw spinach, 1 cup steamed kale

 

3 pm: snack! Some peanuts, walnuts, etc.

 

5/6 pm: dinner! A portion of hummus (made from home); a handful of roasted asparagus; ¬Ĺ cup cooked quinoa (or sweet potato); ¬Ĺ cup chicken

 

7ish: snack! 1 apple, cut up, with 2 spoonfuls almond butter or peanut butter

 

 

 

What do you see from this list? I eat very simply. Chicken, greens, nuts, eggs, Shakeology. That’s pretty much it. Would this work for you? I don’t know! I learned ¬†how to really eat this way from the 21 Day Fix this year, and¬†I found what works best for me.¬†

 

My challenge? Try to incorporate 1 additional cup of veggies into your eating for the day. If you did, you’d be adding 7 cups of veggies per week into your eating habits. How awesome would that be? ūüôā



Seeking 3-Day Refresh Candidates!

 

After my success with the 3-Day Refresh detox program last week, I am looking to open up spots in a group for ladies who want to do the same things I did. I¬†literally¬†just finished the program and will be able to help you, one-on-one, with motivation and accountability on the way. Apply by filling out this form here- I can’t wait to speak with you!

In peace and health- xo!










“So this is what a detox feels like….”: Day 2 of the 3 Day Refresh

Warning: full disclosure and full honesty ahead!

Yesterday was day 2 of my 3-Day Refresh, and I cannot say it was the easiest of days. My cold got worse, and I felt “off” all day, which was probably partially from the detox and partially from the cold. (“Sudafed, sudafed, my kingdom for a sudafed!”)

I left my summer class early and fled home to sleep. After an hour’s nap (which was probably some of the finest sleep I’ve had in a long time, might I add), I felt like a miracle. My throat wasn’t sore anymore. My congestion was gone- I only had some nasal congestion left. It felt like heaven, and it felt like I had slept for a full night. woohoo!

 

On top of everything else, I haven’t had coffee since Sunday and I am feeling fine. (What??)¬†I am also not feeling lethargic halfway through the day- woohooo!!

 

 

The detox, so far, has been challenging but “refreshing” in more ways than one: I have been afforded mental clarity, good and bad, during this detox process. I feel great about myself and the potential I have for my future: if I can¬†journey through better health like this for two years, who is to stop me from helping even¬†more people like myself to do the same?

 

Stay tuned for the Day 3 review and my final results tomorrow.  Here we go!



My Weekend on Retreat

Sunday Morning Sunrise

Sunday Morning Sunrise

This weekend I was privileged enough to attend an all-expenses paid trip to a breathtaking cottage east of the city. We have spent the last 24-48 hours learning, team-building, and growing as a coach (and as a person).

 

 

It has been so important to remind myself that I have this potential to lead others and create a team of incredible people, when they are ready. It means financial freedom, accountability for healthier lives, quality friendships, and the potential to live on your own terms. How would it feel to live without an alarm clock?

 

lost all of my excuses.jpg

 

 

And with that, I move on into my life with a renewed sense of conviction. Where will my life take me because I am not afraid to fail? Where will life be in 5 years because I stopped making excuses? I can’t wait to see. ūüôā



March 9: Day 17 post-op

The response to my “before” and “after” photos has been incredible! The site received a huge increase of traffic. Thank you to all who reached out and saw the pictures!

The past two days have been about the same, in terms of healing. I wake up in the morning and feel swollen and stiff in my face. I work on moving my facial muscles as much as I can. My dissolvable stitches are starting to fall out (most likely from the upper jaw/behind the upper lip, as the lip is going down in swelling), which freaks me out and encourages me at the same time. I know that they are well overdue to fall out, but it’s still frightening- eek!

As I mentioned, the swelling in my upper lip is starting to reduce. Every day I try to lift my upper lip gently to brush my teeth but it is still swollen and¬†sore. I also try and pull an “Elvis” and lift my upper lip on one side, which hurts but helps. It seems like the warm saltwater rinse is helping as well (also keeping the germs at bay!).

 

I’m finding it difficult to let my body ease into my hectic life again. Things tire me out more than I want them to, and I need to accept that for a few weeks longer.

Have a great weekend!