As food is one of my biggest budget busters, I always like to learn about cheap and healthy food options to make at home. I eat a mostly plant based diet and am very conscious about where my food is coming from and I want to eat to live, not live to eat.
My eating habits have changed so much over the years. I would say I grew up with eating the typical meat and potatoes diet. When I was in high school, my sweetheart was a vegetarian, so I decided to join him. For several years, I was a vegetarian and an awful one at that. I used to eat pizza, mac and cheese and sometimes even salad! In retrospect, it was the worst kind of vegetarian to be. I wasn’t educating myself about protein or vegetables and was pretty careless.
After realizing that I was anemic and consistently had low energy, I started slowly integrating meat back into my diet. I felt better, but I wasn’t necessarily eating better. In short, my taste buds hadn’t matured since I was a child. I was eating like a 5 year old. I hadn’t adjusted, or tried new things.
I am happy to say my current partner really pushed me to stop eating the same crap. I am ashamed to admit this, but before him, I never had beer, sushi, guacamole, Thai food, or Lebanese food. Now, I love all those things! I can’t believe what I was missing. I was just too stubborn to try new things and was set in my ways. I was scared of the complex tastes, but now I savor them. Boy am I glad I changed.
A few years ago when living in New York, one of my best friends took me to a cooking class. She was a vegetarian and used to make all these amazing things. I finally started realizing the power of legumes and vegetables! In New York, I was mostly living off of boxed or microwave food, which is horrible for you. I finally started to realize that I was getting older, I still didn’t really know how to cook and I was just eating/cooking things that were comfortable or convenient, but had little nutritional value.
Now that I live in Portland, it’s so easy to get inspired by good, nutritious local food. I am inspired by what people are doing in this city with healthy food and I am so happy to say that I am eating so much better than I was even 2 years ago. I eat mostly vegetables and fruits, I get my protein from beans and some meat, and have cut down on the dairy, sugar and alcohol. Oh, how I have loved dairy, sugar and alcohol but they don’t love me back! I feel so much better when I have those items in small doses.
Since I have changed my eating habits, I have tried some new, quick and healthy recipes. I’m not the best cook and prefer simple and easy, over complicated…still working on my patience 😉 Here are a few of my favorites:
Fresh bean salad:
1 can of garbanzo beans, strained
1 avocado, diced
1 lime for lime zest
Add salt if necessary. This recipe is so easy, cheap and good!
Vegan Ice Cream:
1 banana. Peel banana, break up into small parts and put in freezer.
1 cup of almond milk.
Dash of cinnamon.
Put frozen banana, almond milk and cinnamon in a blender until the consistency is thick and smooth, like ice cream. So fresh and tasty! You can even add flax seed, chia seeds, hemp seeds or any other health nut seeds you have in mind.
2 tomatoes diced
Put some fresh mozzarella and basil on top of sliced tomatoes and voila!
Fake Chipotle bowl:
Brown Rice or Quinoa
1 can of black beans
1 avocado, diced
2 spoonfuls of pico de gallo (Trader Joe’s!)
1 cup of corn
Hot sauce as desired. Mix and enjoy!
All of these meals will cost between $2-6 depending on where you buy your items. As I said, I am not the best cook, I prefer simple, healthy, cheap and not too time consuming.
Do you have any other recipes to share that fit the bill?