Sunday, August 30, 2009

eating healthy on a budget

IMG_4547{Just a little weekend recap}  Once again the weekend just flew by and it was pretty packed!  Saturday I went with a friend to get pampered with a pedicure and lunch.  Then I went to a gardening class at my work (UNCE).  It was really interesting, and I hope to eventually start a little raised bed in our backyard, if not for the fall, hopefully next spring.  I’m just wondering when I would have the time to garden in addition to work, grad school and other life happenings.  Do any of you garden? 

Sunday we went for a nice bike ride to Boulder City.  It was only 21 miles but I tried to push myself pretty hard to see if I could keep up with the faster pack.  um, yeah.  I started a little behind and just couldn’t keep up!  At one point I almost gained some ground, but I was sucking air and figured I better take it easy since it was really hot outside.  I just have to keep at it!  I also got my first pair of bike shoes and clipless pedals.  Yep, I guess they are called clipless, not clip-in, like I thought.  I hope I can get out of them in time to stop or else I’ll be having a few crashes, oh dear.  I’m still trying to figure out how I can take pictures while I’m riding.  I can barely grab my water bottle without wobbling all over the place! 

For my adv sports nutrition class we have a project looking at a sports supplement/group of supplements and seeing if research supports its claims.  Anyone have a good idea for a supplement/ergogenic aid? There are just so many out there, I’m trying to decide.  {end weekend recap}   

I try to eat flexitarian most of the time, not only because it’s pretty darn healthy, but it’s also very budget-friendly.  I usually only eat meat 4-5 times per week or less and try to incorporate meat alternatives like tofu or beans to provide some variety.  I posted about this before here when I made yummy falafels, one of my favorite vegetarian meals.

Chris and I usually spend anywhere from $70-80/week for two people eating breakfast, lunch and dinner from home.  Sometimes I have to control myself because grocery shopping for me is like a kid in a candy store!  I swear I could spend hours in a place like Whole Foods just finding tons of things that I could buy and try, dangerous!  Having a recipe plan beforehand helps to keep me on track.  We eat out about 3-4x/month and try to keep this to a minimum.  I mostly shop at Trader Joe’s and Walmart and mostly buy basics, that is things that are unprocessed, because it is usually almost always cheaper if you make it and chop it yourself.  It may take a little bit longer, but in the long run it is worth it for health and saving money.     

Recently I found a blog that is great for active vegetarians called No Meat Athlete.  Recently he posted a recipe for corn-type pancakes for dinner.  I thought this was a great idea so I decided to try my hand at it because, well one, it looked pretty easy and fast for a weeknight meal, and two, it was cheap!  Yes please!


I made the batter for the pancakes and found it was a bit too runny for me.  I wanted some more structure and puff to them, so I adapted a recipe from CookingLight and they turned out pretty darn good.  They were just like pancakes and had a nice texture from the cornmeal.  I topped them with the black bean mixture and added a can of fire roasted maters and an oh so glorious poached egg and mozzarella cheese.  I just love egg yolk!  I completely believe that whole eggs can be a part of a healthy diet, because while it is high in cholesterol, saturated fat can be more detrimental to our lipid profiles.

 For the corny cakes:

  • 1/2 cup WW flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2  tsp  baking powder
  • 1/4-1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1  cup  canned corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1  cup  1% low-fat milk
  • 2  tablespoons  canola oil, divided
  • 2  large eggs
  • Cumin, chili powder, garlic powder all purpose seasoning

Simply mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.  Add the wet to the dry and mix.  Cook them over medium heat in a large pan or griddle until golden.

For the black bean topping:

  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can fire roasted maters
  • 1/2 cup canned corn
  • cumin, oregano, chili powder

Mix ingredients in a pot and heat together.

For the poached egg:

Gently boil a pot of water with about 1 tbsp of white vinegar.  Gently pour egg into the water and simmer until desired degree of doneness (about 4-5 minutes).  I always have had a hard time making my poached eggs perfectly round, but it didn’t turn out too bad this time.  Do you have any secrets to the perfect poached egg?


Mid-bite yolky goodness . . . 


This was such a satisfying meal and very filling with the beans!  These pancakes are also great for breakfast or as a pancake sandwich, yum!

What are your best tips for eating healthy on a budget?  Any ergogenic aid ideas?

Have a great week!



MelindaRD said...

Hey, who's teaching your adv sports nutr course. As for some ideas for supps/ergogenics, here are a few: creatine, caffeine, glutamine.

If you like to go out to eat in Vegas and have a question about any restaurant, let me know. We ate out out often since we knew at some point we were moving and we would not have those things available to us again. If you want to eat out those few times amonth and safe money try (if you haven't already) to buy discount certificates (get on the email list for discount codes) and also the entertainment book. Just a thought. Since leaving Vegas we cook much more at home, but tht was always the plan. We knew Vegas wouldn't last forever.

Hope the school year is off to a good start.

Anonymous said...

70-80 for two person is really good deal... I've been spending this for just one person. I'm just like you, when I go to WF or Tj's I can't control myself by not buying new stuffs to try although usually I don't like any processed food. I think I also spend more because I'm lazy to wash and cut so many times I end up buying ready to use produces. So, that will be the first thing I'll try to improve in cut the budget.
nice pancake for dinner meal~ Yummy

Shannon said...

I've actually never poached an egg! Thanks for the how-to. Those pancakes look good...and interesting way to switch up dinner.

My husband and I just moved from a house with a yard, to an apartment. When we move again next year we hope to have a garden. We tried at our old house, but we were renting and I had a hard time putting money and so much time into a yard that wasn't ours. We did try to grow a few veggies without too much success. But we joke that all of the vegetables must not have come up until after we had moved out!

Have a great start to the week!

Heather S-G said...

what a delicious that topping w/ the corn cakes and a gorgeous egg to top it off. YUM!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

That's about what Nick and I spend per week, so you made me feel better! I wasn't sure if that was a lot or not, but I really am good about not spending my money on things we don't need.
As for an ergogenic aid, I'd like to learn more about creatine, but I'm sure many people will do that one. Another one is L-Carnitine, which is up and coming.
I want a garden so bad. When I get one, I will be a gardener!

Linda said...

Hi! If you don't mind sharing, I'm wondering how did you get your poach egg looking so perfectly shaped?

allijag said...

Oh yeah! That deserves a very big YUM! :) I love the idea of adding the corn - brilliant! :)

MelissaNibbles said...

That's about what my boyfriend and I spend a week on groceries as well. I save money by chopping my own carrots and other vegetables. The prepackaged stuff is a timesaver, but boy are they more expensive!

The Fat Dietitian said...

I am definitely a wannabe gardener, but unfortunately everything I grow eventually dies... That b-fast for d looks pretty good, it reminds me a bit of huevos rancheros!
Regarding your project, try looking into leucine. It is all the rage over in my neck of the woods, particularly regarding its effects on mitochondrial metabolism. :)

Lainie said...

70-80 bucks per week is a great deal, I think. We easily spend $100+ per week, and I hate it. I am the worst budget shopper ever; I try...but I don't know, it never seems to workout budget friendly!!!!

Miss High Heels said...

Those corny cakes look very filling and not to mention tasty. I can't wait to have a house with enough room for a proper garden so sadly I'm not gardening yet.

Thanks for the link to the No Meat Athlete site. I'm not really a vegetarian nor am I an athlete! I'm not a huge fan of red meat though.

Thinspired said...

I really like the idea of savory pancakes :) I love sweet/salty things like that, so this looks right up my alley. You really are so creative in the kitchen!

I am not a gardener, but my father in law is, and we just got some good produce from him last weekend that I am excited about :)

bhealthier said...

mmm corny cakes and poached eggs?!?!! must try that asap!
thanks for that recipe ( or re-do of matt) it looks amazing

Tiffany! said...

God, I love grocery shopping! I tried to spend only $50 a month but then Anderson started staying over more and more and he eats everything by the truckfull. We would end up spending $100 every week!

I used to love gardening but I don't have access to our backyard anymore so I've planted some tomatoes in our front yard! Haha. So far so good.

Staying away from prepackaged food saves you tons of money and is way healthier (the majority of the time)

Tiffany! said...

Oh and no matter what I do (from box mixes to making them from scratch), I can never make edible pancakes at home! I swear it must just be a gift some people have. Haha.

Emily said...

For one of our projects, we're keeping gardens in a plot near SLU. I'm actually not great at gardening, so I'm a little nervous!

I checked out no meat athlete, and it's a great site! Thanks for the link.

Love the corn pancakes. I've actually never poached an egg, so no suggestions from me. :-)

To eat healthy on a budget: buy things you use a lot in bulk, watch for sales, and shop at the farmer's market (although, I know that some are more expensive than others).