Protein hides in a lot of places you might not expect. Here are some cheap and healthy ways to add protein to your diet, without splurging on unhealthy steak or pork chops:. I love popcorn.
This popular whole grain snack is low-calorie, high in fiber, and cheap. The loose kernels cost less than pre-bagged popcorn, and buying them enables you to skip the extra calories from the butter, as well as the high salt content, of prepackaged popcorn. When I make popcorn, I pour several tablespoons of kernels into a brown paper lunch sack, and fold up the bag.
Most of us eat dairy products on a regular basis. Dairy is a major source of calcium, but many dairy products, like cheese, have a high fat content. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are also excellent sources of protein and calcium, and you can frequently find coupons for these products online. There are many excellent soy milk products available today, and they taste really good.
The Silk line of soy products is especially tasty, and available in heart-healthy light versions, too.
Mixing soy milk with grains or fruit can help you make the transition from dairy to soy products. Before meeting friends or family at a restaurant, have a healthy snack at home. You can stave off cravings, and reduce hunger, by eating an apple or a banana 30 minutes before you leave. This tip also works well during the holiday season, when food-laden parties abound. You can save money, and stick to your health goals, by following these additional tips when dining out:.
Most restaurants have their menu readily available online and some even have nutrition charts posted on their websites. You can also call the restaurant, and ask if they have healthy or low-fat meals available.
Even bake bread! Lesson learned! Some frozen mixed veggies and a sliced peach some stuffing for me and cranberry sauce and dinner was done. All of this is still cheaper then going out to eat. University 08 December 6 min read.
Depending on the size and popularity of the restaurant, you may find online reviews with healthy meal suggestions. Two great websites to review include Yelp and Urbanspoon.
Restaurant and fast food meals often include high amounts of fat, salt, and calories. By now, most restaurants know that many people watch what they eat, and have thus added a special section to their menus, which makes finding the right food easier than ever. For example, T. The category needs to listen. Avoid fried foods and cream-based salad dressings, sauces, and soups. Your server can provide more details about healthy options on the menu. You can also ask for a child-sized portion at many restaurants.
Some restaurants, including Olive Garden, allow diners to order a lunch portion for dinner. You can also save calories, and a bit of money, by halving the food at a restaurant. Ask for a to-go box, and divide the food into two portions before you begin eating.
You can get reasonably-sized meals at smaller, independently-run restaurants. You also might get a healthier meal, since many smaller restaurants, especially those in bigger cities, source their fresh produce locally whenever they can. Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants, where healthy food choices are supplanted by foods high in calories, fat, and sodium.
Restaurants serve you more food than you actually need. Resist bread, soup, and dessert, and eat more salad, instead. Ask your server if a dish can be prepared with oil instead of butter, and substitute a plain baked potato, a dish of fruit, or a salad for French fries.
Hummus, tabbouleh, whole wheat pita bread, Greek salads, and chicken kebabs and rice are heart-healthy standard fare.
The food is high in protein, and inexpensive, especially if you order appetizer portions instead of full meals. Always verify calorie counts online or in a restaurant before ordering your meal. Many online resources offer more information for budget-conscious people who want to eat healthy:. Almost everyone wants some pizza or a burger once in a while. In fact, most healthy foods are actually quite inexpensive. All Rights Reserved.
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Heather Levin Heather Levin is a writer with over 15 years experience covering personal finance, natural health, parenting, and green living. She lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and two young sons, where they're often wandering on frequent picnics to find feathers and wildflowers. Next Up on Money Crashers. Brian Davis. Everyone needs time to unwind, but not every hobby has to be expensive. Many hobbies are virtually free, and some can even pay you Not only are late-fees crazy expensive, but if you regularly miss due dates, you could be crippling your credit score.
Paying a bill late, even if only by a day or two, makes it more expensive to borrow money when you want to finance a car, house or some other major purchase.
Look out for your future self by paying your bills promptly. In order for a budget to work, it has to account for everything you spend money on. This includes little things like parking lot fees, late-night drive-thru meals and random convenience-store purchases. Like to rent movies on the weekend?
Add it to your budget. Tend to drop a few bucks on mobile apps or lotto tickets each month? Include those as well. Those living away from home for the first time are bound to face a flurry of unexpected expenses during their initial months of independence.
Netflix and Spotify subscriptions are also often overlooked, as are annual bills like vehicle registration and tax preparation.
Cooking your own meals on a daily basis can save you more money than just about any other change in your behavior. Knowing how to make five basic meals say, chili, tacos, chicken and vegetables, spaghetti with marinara sauce, and a slow-cooked roast with veggies , and having a microwave handy for reheating leftovers, can cut your food expenses in half.
An added bonus: Homemade food is almost always healthier than prepared meals. And consider getting a programmable thermostat to keep heating and cooling costs down. Only carry one credit card, and commit to only using it in absolute emergencies. Using cash or a debit card for day-to-day expenses prevents you from overspending and accruing budget-busting interest charges. Consider all your transportation options. Do you really need to drive everywhere, particularly if you have to pay for parking once you get there? And with Uber, Lyft, Car2Go and other ride-sharing services now widely available, city dwellers might even consider ditching their cars completely.
Show Mom and Dad you know how to move out the smart way by creating a monthly budget and sticking to it. There are countless ways to work toward building an emergency savings account, from setting aside loose change at the end of every day and depositing it in the bank at the end of the month, to having a percentage of your paycheck automatically stashed away in your savings account.
Start now, and even if you only save a few dollars a week, it will add up over time, and help you avoid financial hardship later on. Not using Mint yet?