Healthy Eating on a Budget

I know what everyone is thinking. Not only is healthy eating difficult, but healthy eating on a budget is even harder! The thing is though, it doesn’t have to be. There are many simple ways to stick to your healthy eating meal plans while also keeping your hard earned money in your pocket.


Frozen is Just as Good as Fresh

Fruits and vegetables are frozen at their peak freshness when they are the most nutrient-dense. Fresh fruits and vegetables, although delicious and convenient, can spoil quicker and lead to more waste. Frozen produce is cheaper and easier to buy in bulk when there is a sale.

If You Do Buy Fresh, Buy What’s in Season

Fresh produce can add up, but when items are in season the prices are lower. If your favorites are in season, stock up on them and try freezing! Freezing allows you to buy in bulk and not let so much go to waste. Not sure how to freeze fruits and vegetables? Check out the following link for some helpful tips!

Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach

The first rule of thumb for any healthy eating plan is don’t shop on an empty stomach. It also helps with maintaining a good budget. When you are hungry, you are more likely to grab unplanned items that aren’t necessary and can up your shopping bill. Plan your meals ahead of time and prepare a grocery list. Make sure to have a small snack before hitting the store to stop those cravings.

Repurpose Those Leftovers

Oftentimes recipes can call for only a portion of a fruit or vegetable. For example, you might only need half a pepper or a portion of a bag of spinach. Be creative in repurposing those remaining vegetables into other meals. Soups, chili and casseroles are a great way of throwing leftovers together and using up partial items in your pantry. Leftover chicken is great to use the next day in salads or even a breakfast burrito. The possibilities are endless!

If you need more assistance with sticking to your healthy eating goals, contact the health coaches at



How to set goals and stick with them

If you’re heading off on a cross-country road trip, you wouldn’t leave without directions. However, many of us start off on our journey toward achieving a goal without directions or a plan. Many people are unsuccessful in accomplishing goals because their goals are unclear or vague, they can’t or don’t measure their progress and they never reevaluate their goals. To avoid running into these problems, set SMARTER goals along with short and long term goals.  Once you have a long term goal, it is easy to break down that goal into smaller, shorter goals that you can measure your progress towards.


How to set SMARTER goals

S: Be Super Specific

Setting a specific goal helps focus efforts and clearly defines what you hope to accomplish. A specific resolution will usually answer the five “W” questions:

  • Who: Who is involved?
  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where: Identify a location to work towards the goal (i.e. gym, outside etc.)
  • When: When should it be performed?
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing your goals.

M: Must be Measureable

Establish a method of measuring your progress and evaluating your accomplishments. Measuring your progress ensures you stay on track.  A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

 A: Attainable & Achievable

Goals should be attainable and achievable. You need to set a goal that requires energy and discipline to accomplish, but they shouldn’t be so difficult that you cannot reach it. An attainable goal usually answers the question:

  • How can the goal be accomplished and is it realistic?

R: Not Just Realistic but Relevant  

Goals should not only be specific, measurable, and attainable but they should be relevant and they should MATTER.  A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal. A relevant goal answers yes to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time to focus on this goal?
  • Does this match my other efforts/needs?

T: Be Timely

Goals have an end point that can be found on a calendar. Timeframes tied to your goals provide a sense of urgency to help motivate you. You should identify how long it will take to complete each step in your action plan and set up a timeline. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish. A time-specific goal will usually answer the question:

  • When will I reach my goal?
  • What can I do 6 months from now?
  • What can I do 6 weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

 E: Evaluate Your Goals Regularly

It is important to continually evaluate your progress. This should be done throughout the entire goal process, as well as after the goal is met. The idea is to create a progress report to evaluate where you are in reaching your goal and to adjust your goals regularly to account for any changes.

R:  Redo and Don’t Forget to Reward Yourself!

Just to emphasize the point again, goals should be redone after evaluating whether or not you are on the right track to achieving them or if circumstances have changed since you initially made your resolution. Once you have gone through all of the steps of the SMARTER resolutions, it’s time to reward yourself in a healthy way! Rewarding yourself for achieving major milestone can help keep you focused on your goals. Reward yourself once you achieve all of your short term goals and again when you reach your long term goal. Every step towards your goal is a step in the right direction and that should be celebrated!



Healthy Eating for Your Cholesterol

Today, 73.5 million American adults are living with high cholesterol. Individuals with high cholesterol have approximately twice the risk for heart disease than people with ideal levels. Although cholesterol levels can be influenced by race, ethnicity, sex and genetics, there are still things we can control like exercise and proper nutrition to help manage our cholesterol levels. Focus on including foods high in soluble fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

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Foods high in soluble fiber help to reduce your LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol. Including just 5-10 grams of soluble fiber in your daily diet can help to reduce cholesterol absorption. Foods high in soluble fiber include: oatmeal, barley, bran, whole-wheat breads, brown rice, beans, apples, prunes, figs, pears, avocados, brussels sprouts, asparagus, and edamame.


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Although omega-3 fatty acids do not have a direct effect on cholesterol levels, they provide many other heart benefits like reducing blood pressure and decreasing the risk of blood clots. The American Heart Association suggests including at least two servings of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids each week with fish being the best source. The highest level of omega-3 fatty acids are found in: salmon, halibut, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, flaxseed and chia seeds.

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Avoiding foods with trans fats and unhealthy foods high in saturated in fats will lead to heart benefits, while consuming foods high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can help keep blood vessels healthy and improve cholesterol levels. Foods high in these “good” fats include: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, olives, avocado, olive oil and peanut butter.

Instilling Healthy Habits at Home

In the past few decades, obesity has soared in the United States and the age group that has seen the greatest increase is children. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are obese or overweight. This puts nearly one third of America’s children at early risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month so let’s take this opportunity to discuss how you can set a healthy example for your family.

Instilling Healthy Eating Habits in Your Kids

The more you expose your kids to healthy choices, the more likely they are to make better decisions when you are not around. Encourage healthier options of interchangeable food items from the start like skim milk over 2%, whole wheat bread over white bread and Greek yogurt over regular yogurt. If you only have these options in the house, your kids will develop a taste for these foods and continue prefer these healthier selections in the future.

Don’t give up the first time you try something with your kids. It may even take ten or more tries before they start to like something. Take broccoli for example. If they don’t like it the first time, continue placing just a few small pieces on their plate in later meals and if they don’t choose to eat it, that’s ok.  The thought is that if they are not forced to eat it they will eventually choose to try it again on their own.


Have your kids come to the store with you and pick out one fruit or vegetable they want to try the next week. They may even be interested in looking up a healthy recipe to prepare with their chosen fruit or vegetable.

Include your children when preparing a meal for the family. Designate specific tasks for them like grating the cheese or cracking the eggs. This will result in a sense of pride in their work. Fruit and spinach popsicles are a fun snack idea! You can also have them help prepare their lunch for school the night before. Have them pick out their favorite lunch meat, fruit, etc. Also, always have some easy grab and go healthy shacks on hand that your kids enjoy and store them at your child’s eye level so they will reach for these when they want a snack.

Try making fun dipping sauces for fruits and vegetables such as Greek yogurt ranch dressing, hummus, or try combining peanut butter, Greek yogurt and honey for a tasty fruit dip.

Grate or finely chop up vegetables (onions, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and zucchini) and include them in sauces, meatloaf, burgers and more. You can also add spinach to fruit smoothies and although the color may vary a bit you won’t be able to taste a difference!

Win an REI Gift Card this Month!

Want to win a $50 REI Gift Card? If you earn 300+ HEALTHpoints in September you could be one of the six lucky winners! Learn more about how to earn HEALTHpoints by logging into your Weigh and Win account and clicking on the HEALTHpoints tab in the top menu.





Congratulations to the August HEALTHpoint winners of the Fitbit Charge. Hope you enjoy getting active with your new Fitbit!

  • Shelley – Lakewood, CO
  • Maria – Castle Rock, CO