Wednesday 23 February 2022

How Do You Eat Healthy on a Low Budget?

 Being on a tight budget can be frustrating, but even more so if you are also trying to improve the nutrition of your food and stick to a healthy diet. It can be done, but it does take a bit more strategy and planning. Here are some tips for eating healthy no matter what your food budget is.

how do you eat healthy on a low budget

 Shop your kitchen first

To save money and spend less within your food budget, always start by building meals with ingredients you already have. Check your canned food and determine if it goes with any healthy meals you can make, check your seasonings cabinet, look for what is in your freezer that is still good.

Always start with your own kitchen first when you are looking to stick to a tight food budget, but still want to eat a healthier diet. You probably have some ingredients you can use up in your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. Start with ingredients that are going to expire soon so that they don’t go to waste. You can then consider any pantry staples that would work for healthy meals, like beans or rice, canned vegetables, or meat in the freezer.

Track your food expenses

All money you spend on food should be tracked. In fact, if you haven’t created your food budget yet, this is a good place to start. It is really easy to spend more than you intended to on food, especially with impulse purchases while shopping for other things. It is important to keep track of everything you buy as far as food and groceries go, and tweak your budget if you need to based on this information.

Have a plan for everything you buy

Now is the time to stop with the impulse buys and grabbing ingredients you think you might use but don’t have an actual plan for. This tends to happen when you are in the grocery store or market and see something that sounds good or that is new, and you want to try it. The problem is that if you don’t have a very specific plan for what meal to use it for, it is often unnecessary and might not even be used up before it expires.

Always have a meal plan and a list

If you want to avoid wasting food and money, aside from having a plan for what you buy, you should have a detailed meal plan and grocery list before you step foot in the store. As always, start with food you already have, then create meals based on that. Make a list of ingredients you need for all the meals and snacks for the week or however long your food budget is for. 

Know how to store your food

Produce is one of the most common types of foods to go bad and end up being thrown away. There are a few things you can do to prevent this, beginning with understanding how and where to store your produce.

 Did you know that some produce releases ethylene and others are sensitive to it? If you store ethylene-producing food with ethylene-sensitive food, it’s going to go bad faster.  

 For example, don’t store your potatoes with your avocados. Potatoes are sensitive to as, and avocados release a lot of ethylene gas.

Buy produce in season

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, but it is easy to spend more than necessary. To avoid this, start by buying produce that is currently in season. This might vary based on where you live, but for example, summer produce often includes watermelon, carrots, and tomatoes. You can also buy produce in season and preserve it to use all year round.

 You can look for year-round produce that tends to be cheaper for most of the year than other produce. This includes lemons and limes, apples, oranges, potatoes, and lettuce.


Buy and cook in bulk

A great option for saving money on food while also eating a healthy diet is to buy in bulk. This does take a little more planning, but can ultimately help you afford more nutritious foods and not stray from your food budget. 

People often think this is only a good option when you have a big family, but that isn’t true at all. Everyone can benefit from buying and cooking in bulk. An obvious benefit of cooking this way is by saving on the individual ingredients you buy. You tend to get the best deals when buying something in bulk.


Another great benefit is that you can cook more of whatever meal you are cooking, saving you more time later. The same amount of preparing goes into it to make for example two casseroles instead of one, then you have an entire casserole to put in the freezer and have it ready for a night when you don’t have as much time for cooking.

 Track how much you spend on food

All money you spend on food should be tracked. In fact, if you haven’t created your food budget yet, this is a good place to start. It is really easy to spend more than you intended to on food, especially with impulse purchases while shopping for other things. It is important to keep track of everything you buy as far as food and groceries go, and tweak your budget if you need to based on this information.

Consider food that stretches farther

Some foods tend to stretch a little farther than others, being used for multiple meals. These are the foods to consider adding to the rotation. For example, a bag of potatoes, rice, or beans goes a long way. Potatoes can be cooked dozens of different ways and used for so many meals. Plus, they last a few weeks before going bad, so it is a great ingredient to purchase for healthy, inexpensive meals.


Shop around for the best prices

It might seem tedious, but it helps a lot to compare prices at different stores in order to get the best deal. This doesn’t mean you go to 5 different grocery stores every week, but you decide which stores have more of what you need with the best deal.


You will probably figure out which stores have the best deals on foods you buy the most often, so that makes it much easier down the line.


Build up food inventory slowly

Since you still need to stick to your current food budget, it does take a little more planning ahead for buying in bulk. For this reason, you want to build up your inventory slowly, instead of getting everything at once. Maybe the next time you are at the store, there is a good sale on chicken breasts, so you purchase two or three packs instead of one. Do this slowly and only within your regular food budget.


Keep it simple

You don’t need to use fancy ingredients or expensive organic foods for a healthy diet. Keep your meals and snacks simple and well-balanced, going for affordable ingredients to put together nutritious meals.

Find creative ways to use leftovers

When it comes to leftovers, people often make the mistake of leaving the meal as it was originally served. While this does help sometimes, it can quickly become unexciting, which increases the chances of it just sitting in the fridge until it goes bad.


Instead, think about other ways you can use those meals or side dishes in other meals. For example, leftover roasted chicken can be used for so many different meals. Put it in a casserole, make chicken wraps, or shred it up for chicken salad.


 Keep everything organized

To prevent food from going bad before you get the chance to use it, make sure your refrigerator, freezer, and food pantries are all well organized. Always keep the older food items upfront and the newer items in the back. That way, nothing expires before it gets used. Keep as many food items in your vision as you can so you remember they are there and will use them for your meals.

Don’t Worry About Food That is Trendy

 When it comes to clean eating or diets in general, companies come out with a lot of trendy products and claim they are the next best thing with a healthy diet. But most of the time, they are completely unnecessary. While nice to have occasionally as a treat, they aren’t required for a healthy diet. You don’t need to add turmeric to your smoothies or get truffles for your meals. You can have clean, healthy meals without these types of food.

Read: How To Be A More Productive And Organized Mom

Tuesday 15 February 2022

The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness


The benefits of practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness is about paying attention to what you are feeling and sensing in the moment. Think of it as taking the time to stop and smell the roses. It’s about cutting out the distractions and noise in your mind and choosing to focus on what is happening around you.

Benefits of Meditation

There are some big benefits to practicing mindfulness. Top among them is of course feeling less stressed. One of the reasons we feel stressed is because we are pulled in many different directions and are constantly bombarded by new information, media, and demands.

 Practicing mindfulness allows you to tune out the noise and give your mind a break. This in turn will help you relieve stress. Making mindfulness part of your daily routine can help you start to permanently reduce stress.


Practicing mindfulness can also help with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to help with improving attention span and reducing work burnout.

Simple Ways of Practicing Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. You don’t have to get into any long mindfulness meditations unless you want to. You can start with some very easy and simple things. 

Let’s take mindful eating for example. Instead of eating in front of the TV or looking at your phone while eating a meal or munching on a snack, try this instead. Get out a plate and put your food on it. Arrange the food or snack. Sit down at the table and put your phone away. Focus on the food. What does it look like? What does it smell like? How does it taste? Savor each bite and pay attention to how your body is starting to react. Not only is it a great way to destress, but you’ll also find you’ll get a lot more out of each meal and this type of eating tends to keep you from overindulging.

Another great way to practice mindfulness is with mindfulness meditation. Focus on your breathing and notice how the air rushes in and out of your lungs, what it feels like to have it move in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your abdomen.

You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere. The hardest part is remembering to do it. Create one or two small habits for yourself that focus on mindfulness. Maybe it’s a simple meditation in the morning, or really paying attention to that first cup of coffee. Maybe it’s going for a stroll after dinner by yourself where you can practice being mindful of your surroundings and the beauty you encounter. 

Give it a try and start to reap the many short and long-term benefits of practicing mindfulness.


Monday 7 February 2022

How To Reduce Stress in Your Daily Life

How to reduce stress in your daily life

 Are you feeling stressed? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. Between the growing demands of our jobs, raising a family while working full-time, and the increasing need to stay connected all day every day, most of us feel stressed out more often than we like to admit. Add to it a chronic lack of sleep and exercise and you have a recipe for disaster. Stress kills and that’s no joke. Let’s look at some of the worst negative side effects of stress and what you can do to stress less and relax more.

Stress will cause your blood pressure to rise. You’ve experienced this when you found yourself hot and with a raging headache when you were in a particularly stressful situation. Feeling that way from time to time is no big deal. The real danger is in the lower-level stress we all feel on a daily basis. It can lead to hypertension and a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

Are you ready to actively do something to reduce stress on a daily basis? If not, I would like to encourage you to pick up and develop a daily habit that helps you accomplish just that. Stress not only reduces your quality of life; it can also negatively affect your health. There’s a reason why they say stress kills. Start doing something about it and embrace life to the fullest with some of these simple techniques that help you stress less. 

Review and Release - Stop Trying to Do All the Things 


One of the main reasons why we are so much more stressed than let’s say our grandparents were, is because we are taking on a lot more. We have families where each partner is working a full-time job and possibly a side hustle as well to make ends meet financially. That leaves all the hard work of keeping house and raising a family, which needs to be done during “off” hours. Most of us no longer mentally clock out at the end of the workday. Instead, we take our work home and are reachable at all hours via text message or email. Add to that the stress constant connectivity and social media create and it’s no wonder we’re more stressed than ever.

 It’s time to stop trying to do all the things all the time and focus on reducing stress in your life. Start by reviewing everything you do on a given day. A great tool for this is a time log. Keep a simple piece of paper or a small notebook with you at all times. Set an alert on your phone to go off every 30 minutes (during waking hours), and quickly jot down what you’re doing. Be brutally honest. No one else needs to see this log and you can burn it after you’re done. After a week of logging, you get a pretty good idea of where you spend your time and mental energy.

Now comes the fun part. Look through your data and decide what you can let go of. What can you stop doing? Open up some time for yourself to exercise, meditate, or take a nap so you can catch up on much-needed sleep.

Next, it’s time to review and release all those worries, questions, and “should-dos” that are stressing you out. Get out another sheet of paper or two and start to write down anything and everything on your mind. All the stuff you’ve been thinking about doing. All the stuff that’s been worrying you. Get it all out. Walk away for a few hours and then come back to your list. 

Cross out as much as you can. Things that are out of your control and you decide to mentally release. Tasks that you feel like you should do, that you really don’t need to do. Then rewrite what’s left on two different lists. One will be things you can do, or have someone else do for you. This will become your master to-do list for the next few months. The other is a list of worries or concerns. Notice how much smaller and shorter those lists are and how much lighter you feel just getting it all out of your head.

Start Meditating


One of the best tools for reducing stress is meditation. You can start with a simple breathing meditation by getting comfortable in a quiet spot and focusing on relaxing and thinking about nothing but your breath. From there, give some of the free guided meditations a try. There are even some wonderful apps out there that turn your smartphone into your favorite new meditation device. Set aside a few minutes each day to meditate and watch the stress melt away. 


Keep a Journal 


This one may surprise you. A journal is an effective tool to help you worry and stress less. The simple act of writing about what’s on your mind can be incredibly freeing. A journal is also a great tool to help you look back and figure out what’s triggering or causing periods of high stress. This is valuable information to have since you can’t work towards reducing or eliminating a trigger if you don’t know what it is. 


Go for A Walk 


Another simple, but very powerful technique is to go for a walk. Get outside if possible, but if that’s not a good option, hop on a treadmill or pace around your house. It doesn’t take a lot of walking before you start to see the benefits. If you only have ten minutes, walk. If you have an hour lunch break, walk for 20 minutes and spend the rest of the time relaxing and eating. Make it work and get in the habit of walking regularly. 


 Do you know what one of the most effective ways to de-stress is? It’s sleeping. Yes, exercise is great and meditation is a wonderful tool, but the best thing you can do to stress less on a regular basis is to get a goodnight's sleep.

You already know this is true. Think about how much harder your job and your life, in general, feel after a night when you were up with the kids, or working until four in the morning to finish an important project. You get grumpy, it’s harder to focus, and every little problem suddenly becomes insurmountable. You feel a lot more stressed throughout the day and it only gets worse if you end up sleeping poorly for several days in a row.

Thankfully there are a lot of things you can do to improve both the quantity and quality of sleep you get. Before you tell yourself that you can’t afford to sleep more, realize that not focusing on sleep will cause you to be less focused and productive. You’ll actually get more done by investing time into a good-night sleep.

Start by establishing a bedtime routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekends. It helps your body get into a rhythm that makes falling asleep and staying asleep easier. Cut distractions from your bedroom. That means leaving your phone in the living room if possible or silent.

Turn off the lights and have a good look around your bedroom. Are there any small indicator lights or blinking lights? Try to remove them if possible. Listen for any sounds from electronics and the likes. Make your bedroom a calm, quiet, and dark place of rest.

Last but not least, watch your screen time at night. Our eyes and the way they process light, including the light waves from our screens have a big impact on how alert the body is. One of the worst habits we’ve all developed is to look at our phones while trying to go to sleep. Instead, focus on calming activities like reading, talking with your partner, or meditating for an hour before going to sleep. Reduce screen time for a few hours before bed or at the least invest in blue light filtered glasses or install an app that changes your display at night.

Read 3 apps that can help you sleep better at night.




That’s right. Something as simple as a hug can help you relax and fight stress. Make sure the hug is genuine on both sides and for best results, hold the embrace for at least twenty seconds. You’ll start to feel calm and those endorphins will flood your system. Don’t have anyone around to hug at the moment? Laughing out loud is pretty powerful too. Turn on a fun comedy that leaves you in stitches. 


Clean Up Your Diet 


Last but not least, take a look at what you’re putting into your mouth. A clean diet of mostly whole foods that’s low in sugars and preservatives will nourish your body and fight much of the damage stress causes. It will also help you feel calmer and more in control. Start making some small changes and see if you don’t start to feel better. 



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