I hate to sound like a middle aged person, but why do weekends go by so fast? This is the first time in my life I have weekends off, but it barely feels like it with how insanely fast they go! Today was pretty productive for a Sunday that I usually spend stuffing my face with whatever I want because Sunday has always been my cheat day. Lately my cheat day has become part of Saturday too, but I also spend hours longer working out on the weekends. Today I wasn’t feeling all that great thanks to my wonderful stomach issues. After my 2.5 hour gym session and breakfast, I went to my favorite store in the city- Buffalo Exchange. It’s a buy/sell/trade store that has AWESOME employees and some of the best deals on clothes ever. It’s like classier thrift shopping. I have found many designer pieces for super cheap. I had 3 bags of clothes, shoes and bags that I hadn’t touched in months so I went to see what I could get for them. You won’t make much cash, but they give you a lot for store credit. I broke even and got a Kensie gray fur vest, a white Gap shirt, a gray DKNY zip-up, and a great necklace. Suh-weet. John met me for a late lunch at Qdoba Mexican Grill- think Chipotle, but apparently with pretty craptastic food. I had a groupon deal to use and it just wasn’t nearly as good as Chipotle. I got a naked chicken salad with just lettuce, grilled chicken, salsa, veggies, and some guac. It didn’t taste fresh like Chipotle, so at least I know not to stray even when Groupon wants to give me free food 🙂
We were in Chelsea and right near one of John’s favorite places, Doughnut Plant. I have never been into doughnuts, even when I looked like one 🙂 HAHA, sorry I had to. They all have this taste to them no matter where they are from that makes me want to gag. Cake doughnuts are tolerable, and I wanted to at least try a bite of one since everyone loves this place. John got a salty peanut butter cake one and an oatmeal cake one. I had a few bites of the peanut butter one and it was pretty good! The oatmeal one had that doughnut taste that I hate, though. More for John.
I was in need of a skim latte to warm me up since it was freezing and rainy. Then we were off to Trader Joe’s… love. I wanted to share some tips on how you can grocery shop for healthy food on a tight budget. I spend between $40-$55 a week on groceries. All of my food is healthy! I’d have to say the number one thing that saves me money on food is eating at home for breakfast and dinner all throughout the week, and bringing my lunch to work. It would be pretty silly to spend $50 at the grocery store, but then still buy meals out! If you aren’t lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, you can still spend your money wisely. When I was living in upstate NY, I would shop at Wegman’s and still spend under $75. This is different each week because sometimes TJ’s is out of something, and sometimes I have leftovers from the prior week. Here are my must haves at the grocery store:
- Dairy: 2 tubs of non-fat greek yogurt (instead of the individual ones, buy the tub and split them into containers yourself), skim milk, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, eggs, fat-free feta cheese crumbles.
- Salad ingredients: A bag of romaine hearts to chop up myself, baby spinach, broccoli slaw, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, baby carrots, canned beets.
- Fruit: bananas are the only fruit I buy fresh. Sometimes I’ll buy an apple if I’m in the mood for one or a grapefruit, but bananas are the cheapest and my favorite!
- Protein: Being a very busy on-the-go eater, I buy canned meat. I buy 1 larger can of 98%fat free chicken (in water) and 1 can of pink salmon. This is enough to make 2 chicken salads and 2-3 salmon salads for my dinners. I also buy a can of garbanzo beans, and veggie burgers. I’m not a red meat eater, so unfortunately I’m sorry to offer no advice on how to buy that cheaply!
- CARBS 🙂 : To save on calories, I buy 100 calorie whole wheat sandwich thins. They are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack and I don’t end up wasting them like I would with a loaf of bread I couldn’t finish. I’ll eat whole wheat bread when John buys it, but I love the thins. I also make sure I have a canister of oatmeal (the 100% rolled oats, not instant) and a box of cereal. I buy generic cereal, and luckily TJ’s has some great healthy ones. I usually go with Nature’s Path organic flax flakes, or a Kashi. And then I steal many handful’s of John’s honey nut O’s 😉 TJ’s has an awesome deal on a bag of small sweet potatoes for $1.79! There are 7 in the bag and they last me about 2 weeks.
- Condiments: Natural peanut butter, organic ketchup, mustard, hummus, olive oil, red wine vinegar, light salad dressing, sugar free pancake syrup, hot sauce. These things I only have to buy a few times a month, but these are my must haves.
- Frozen: This is a big money saver. I buy frozen blueberries & strawberries for my smoothies and yogurt and save a ton of money over buying fresh. I also buy frozen veggies such as broccoli, green beans, and stir-fry mixes. You will save a ton and all you need to do is pop them in the microwave or frying pan and you can make a healthy, fast meal.
- Snacks: Fruit&nut or protein bars such as Kind, Lara, Glenny’s, Cliff, etc. I make sure they have all natural ingredients and less than 200 calories. These range from $.69-$1.99 but it’s better to buy them in boxes to get the best deal. Almonds or other nuts are great snacks too, and for about $5 a bag you can have a bunch of portions that can last you weeks! Popcorn, veggies & hummus and hard-boiled eggs are other healthy snack options that are cheap. I always have something in my purse!
So there you have my grocery necessities. This next week you will see my weekday breakfast, lunch and dinners to get a good idea of how I make my $50 stretch into healthy, delicious meals all week! Not only will you save money by making and bringing your own food, but you will definitely save on calories and fat. I like to save my calorie and money splurges for my weekends, when I can truly enjoy them 🙂
One last pic for the weekend… I have no idea how I’m still not very hungry, but I will have no energy to run in the AM if I go to bed without something in my belly. I had a little bit of greek yogurt mixed with some canned pumpkin, sugar-free pancake syrup, pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 cup honey nut O’s and a teaspoon of peanut butter. It was like a healthy dessert for dinner 🙂
I’m off to get not enough sleep as per usual…