Lunden Souza: Healthy eating worth the sacrifice

May 5, 2012 

Lunden Souza

When talking to my clients about eating healthy and maintaining a healthy diet, a lot of people get frustrated because they feel that transitioning into healthy eating habits is going to require a lot more money than they are used to spending on food. While it is true that healthy and fresh ingredients are a bit more costly than frozen meals and fast food, there is absolutely no question that there is a true tradeoff when it comes to your internal health as well as healthy lifestyle habits.

When I started purchasing my own food at the grocery store and really stocking up, I realized that there had to be cuts in other areas of my life in order to afford the grocery bill.

Things like eating out at sit-down restaurants and going to bars and clubs had to be eliminated if I wanted to continue a healthy and clean lifestyle. Eating out at unhealthy restaurants cost my figure, the tab, tax, and tip, and before I knew it I had just devoured too many calories and a $20 lunch. Going out to bars and clubs had an expense list including a taxi cab ride, cover charge, drinks and another cab home. These weekly themes in my life absolutely had to be cut down to about once a month if I wanted to maintain a full fridge and a toned figure. There had to be some sort of sacrifice.

Now that I have greatly cut down on outside unnecessary routine expenses, I have really tried to make sure I am not wasting the food that I am purchasing at the grocery store.

Sometimes I would make something and leave it in a Tupperware container for weeks, only to realize that it was then too old to even consider eating. Or if I made too much at dinner time, I would just throw it away instead of saving it because I figured I'd never get around to eating it before it spoiled. So I have been really trying to make sure that there is minimal waste when it comes to the foods I am cooking at home.

I have really been trying to prevent wasting vegetables. Dinner time for me usually consists of some sort of protein and vegetables. I sauté the vegetables in olive oil and spices to soften them up a bit and give them some flavor. Often, I would notice that I'd make way too many vegetables and they would become too mushy to eat after a couple days. I started saving veggies left over at dinner to add to egg scrambles the next morning. Just add the leftover vegetables to a pan with non-fat cooking spray and heat them up. Then add the eggs and scramble. Serve with a side of whole-wheat toast or English muffin with spray butter and you have an awesome and healthy breakfast.

Another thing I would waste a lot of is coffee. I am not very good at measuring or just making enough for myself. There is always at least an extra cup of coffee that I used to just pour down the drain. To keep from wasting coffee, I have been saving the excess and putting it in the fridge. Instead of using almond milk or water in my protein shakes, sometimes I will use coffee as the base instead. One cup of coffee, one scoop of vanilla or chocolate whey protein powder, one whole banana, cinnamon and ice have become a great breakfast or snack that is packed with protein and also a bit of caffeine for an added boost. This puts those morning coffee drinks to shame.

There has to be a tradeoff when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. As with any situation, things do not just come easy or without a price. If it is really important to you and your family to live a healthy, nutritious and fit life, then it is time to give up unnecessary and unhealthy expensive habits and really learn how to make the most out of your new life.

Lunden Souza can be reached at lundensouza@gmail.com.

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