If you're currently job searching, you probably don't have a lot of time or energy to devote to other things, least of all shopping for and cooking a healthy meal.
Proper nutrition is something that most Americans struggle with, but it can be especially daunting for transitioning veterans. If you have just returned from duty, you may be accustomed to a certain exercise regime that requires the consumption of high-calorie foods. However, once you return to the civilian lifestyle, those previous eating habits may not fit your new routine.
Healthy eating comes with a lot of potential challenges, the two biggest ones being that it can be a little more expensive and that it takes much more time to prepare. This article serves to provide you with some tips and hints of how to eat in a convenient and nutritional manner, without feeling like you're on a diet.
Shop local: Not only will you be supporting your local economy, but farmer's markets are a great way to find fresh and seasonal produce at a low price, often cheaper than a regular grocery store or super market.
You can also find freshly baked breads, jams, salsa and all kinds of other homemade treats. The only drawback to shopping at farmer's markets is that because the ingredients are so fresh, they often need to be consumed within a week or two of being purchased.
To explore a farmer's market in your area, check out this handy website that can help you locate nearby locations!
Don't be afraid of the Freezer: Article after article will tell you to avoid buying frozen items in the grocery section, but frozen vegetables and fruit can actually save you a lot of time and money. There is a technique called flash-freezing which allows freshly picked produce to be immediately frozen while keeping all of the nutrients and vitamins intact. You can pick up frozen vegetables in bulk and they'll still be good even months later.
Learn to love your Crock Pot (or Slow Cooker): Crock pots, also commonly known as slow cookers, will become your secret weapon in the kitchen. If you don't have one already, they are relatively inexpensive, and a nice one can be purchased for under $20.
What is so great about crock pots is that you can prepare the ingredients for a variety of meals such as stews, soups, pork roasts, mashed potatoes and more, put all the ingredients in the pot in the morning, leave for work and come back 6 hours later with a prepared meal that's ready to eat. Crock pots are relatively fool proof, and also lessen the amount of dishes you'll have to wash, since all the ingredients are going into one place.
Another great thing about crock pots is that you can throw your vegetables (either from the farmer's market, or the freezer) in with a protein source of your choice, and the slow cooking will help to flavor the protein with the vegetables, creating a much healthier (and still delicious) marinade without the excessive use of oils or frying.
Become a One-Stop Shopper: Though using coupons can save a lot of money, comparison shopping isn't always the best way to go. You should also consider the gas money and time that it will take to buy all of your necessary food supplies from several different stores. Oftentimes, shopping at just one store isn't just convenient, it's also more economical.
Still learning to navigate the kitchen? Check out this helpful article for 10 simple recipes that are quick, need minimal skill and use basic and inexpensive ingredients.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be a chore, nor a drain to your bank account. Do you have any go-to recipes or tips for finding inexpensive ingredients? We would love to hear them!