Save Money. Eat Healthy.

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There are so many reasons why I struggle to eat healthy, but I’ve realized my excuses are pretty weak. “Quality food is more expensive.” “I don’t have time to cook every day.” “It’s too much effort to cook for myself.” If any of these thoughts sound familiar, keep reading! I’m going to share my tips and tricks for how to prove yourself wrong.

Quality food is NOT more expensive:

My favorite places to shop are Aldi and Kroger. Aldi not only because they has amazing prices, but their produce is fantastic. There are some limitations as to what you can get there, but my method is always to get as much as I can at Aldi and get the rest at Kroger. If you do shop at Aldi, don’t forget a quarter for a cart (you get it back when you put the cart away) and reusable bags (they charge a tiny bit for the bags they do have). Things I always get at Aldi:

  • Frozen fruit
  • Pasta
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs

I have also found that there are great ways to say money at Kroger between keeping up with sales, using their online coupons, and using your membership card every time you shop. You can easily register online, and once you have an account you can read their weekly sales, download coupons that are automatically applied when you use your card at the register, and get member discounts on certain items. ALSO! Look out for the “Wahoo! Manager’s Special” sales. I often get specialty breads, salad greens, spinach and mushrooms on these sales.

In addition to conscientious shopping, I also use an app called Ibotta to get rebates on items I buy. The amounts are small, but they add up over time if you stay vigilant. You can also save money when you know how to properly store different produce items and even learn about vegetables that regrow themselves!

Cooking doesn’t have to be a daily chore:

The other big thing that gets in the way of eating healthy is the dreaded chore of cooking, but it doesn’t have to be a daily thing! Prepping once a week can be a big help, as well as making more than you need for one meal when you do cook. Things that I often prep in advance are rice, black beans, vegetables, fruits, and stock. Here are some specific tips!

  • Freeze berries for smoothies when theres a good sale.
  • Make 3-4 cups of rice to use throughout the week.
  • Make a whole pound of beans to use for two weeks!
  • Cut half the carrots you buy and store in water for snacks.
  • Freeze vegetable scraps to make stock later.
  • Freeze spinach for use in soups and smoothies.

You can also cut back on the amount of cooking you have to do by making more when you do cook. This means you have leftovers for later in the week! Soups, mashed potatoes, rice, beans, and meats are all good examples of this. If you are baking chicken one night, make everything you have and make wraps, salads, burritos, or chicken salad later on!

I know that this can all feel a little overwhelming, but it’s exactly the opposite once you get the hang of it. No more last minute trips to the grocery or being so hungry after work that you resort to fast food because you don’t have anything ready at home. If you simply have trouble with cooking, check out my recipes and keep an eye out for more to come! I try very hard to keep it simple and use ingredients that you would generally keep around. I hate making a grocery trip just for one recipe.

So go out, buy some pyrex containers, and get healthy. I believe in you!

-Shelby

P.S. If you have any requests for recipes you’d like me to post, message me through my contact page and I’d be happy to do so!

P.P.S. You might also be interested in my post on meal planning.

A Millenial’s take on Meal Planning 

I used to think that I didn’t need to worry about meal planning unless I ended up with an army of children somewhere down the road. However, there is a Pinterest craze on meal planning and I just HAD to know what the big deal was.

I like the freedom of making what I feeeel like eating, not having some schedule that tells me what to eat. I like to be creative and spontaneous…. With my food at least! I love lists and calendars, don’t get me wrong: I AM TYPE A. But a food calendar seemed a little overboard.

That’s when I learned.

Do you KNOW how much time/money/stress this can save you???!!

A big thing is that you don’t let food go to waste. You can plan several meals that use some of the same ingredients. You can prep stuff like cut veggies, make soup stock, portion and freeze excess, and make things that you can eat on the go or at work etc.

I also find that a nice benefit of knowing what you are making is that you have the necessary ingredients on hand, so no last minute grocery trips. (Which add up in cost and contribute to waste.) Not to mention that you don’t have to spend forever deciding or discussing what to make.

Meal planning also really helps you cut back on eating out in excess or grabbing fast food. Plan your nights out into it! Eating out when you don’t want to cook or don’t have groceries adds up FAST.

Prepping on the weekends can also save you from buying premade/prepackaged things from the store. Not only are these things more expensive than DIY solutions, they are generally not healthy either.

IN CONCLUSION!

Meal planning doesn’t have to be crazy strict and save you a lot of money. So I will leave you with some tricks that I, a college student cooking for myself and my fiancé, have learned as I have slowly adopted this practice.

  • Plan, shop, and prep in the same day. A weekend or day off maybe.
  • Keep essentials on hand. Depending on what you generally cook, this may look different for everyone. Some of my essentials: garlic, salt, pepper, butter, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, milk, bread, eggs, oatmeal, olive oil, cheese, spinach, and pasta.
  • Plan according to your schedule! If you’re going to eat lunch on campus, plan a sandwich, veggies, and chips to take with you. If you are working late, plan a meal the day before and plan to have leftovers after work.
  • I like to plan standard things that I can get ingredients that are used multiple recipes. For example, my chicken salad, tuna casserole, and meatloaf all have celery and onions in them.
  • If you are really trying to save money, plan simple things and shop smart. Get a membership card, and shop the sales at Kroger (the Kroger app makes coupons super easy to use and helloooo gas points!). Shop at Aldi, just don’t forget your cart quarter and to bring your own bags.
  • Make soup once a week. It’s great for leftovers and is super cheap.
  • Write it down. Put a list on your fridge or write it on your calendar. Heck! Put it in your phone calendar and make an alarm for an hour before you need to start cooking. Whatever helps you stay on track.

I will be posting new, easy to follow recipes and ways to be more thrifty! So check back soon and share your meal planning thoughts, tips, and tales!

-Shelby

Welcome to The Snuggery

The Snuggery

This summer I moved away from home and into a house with two other girls. A close friend of mine from work, Lauren Kerr, left for Uganda for YWAM’s sustainable agriculture school and would be gone until December. I was transferring to UT and knew I wanted to live closer to school and the downtown area of Knoxville, so why not? What I didn’t expect was this house to become a place I could call home.

At first it was strange; living with people I hardly knew, buying my own groceries, not knowing where things were in my own house. But these strangers became my friends, my things migrated from my room to the rest of the house, and I began to feel a part of something. Our house, affectionately named The Snuggery, transformed from just a roof to a refuge. Whether it be a home cooked meal around the table, conversations on the porch, movies in the living room, or coffee in the nook, this house has become my home and I love to share it with everyone!

I have realized over the past couple of months that the people in your life, not the things you own or your personal achievements, are what make life meaningful.There is something special about a welcoming home; people open up, share life together, and create a community. That community is the most precious thing you can have, because, no matter what challenges you face in life, the support of your community is what makes them surmountable.

Cheers!

Shelby

What’s Special About Getting Coffee?

Chai Latte at Remedy

There is something innately humane about the desire to share life with one another. We share meals with our families, sit in classrooms with our peers, go to conferences and meetings with co-workers, and invite friends to accompany us in even the most mundane experiences in life such as grocery shopping or drinking coffee.  We are social beings that crave each others company, affection, and insight.

The coffee shop phenomena is quite interesting to me. “Getting coffee” is seemingly the all around the ideal social setting nowadays: a safe date, a friendly conversation, a casual meeting, and an ironically comfortable place to study. Why is this? A coffee  shop has an uncanny way of creating a personal and private atmosphere in a public place. Because of this, the atmosphere allows you to set the tone for your social interaction by the seating you choose, what you do and don’t bring, and even what you order! It seems a conundrum that one would want to go to a public place to be alone, however it is quite understandable considering the aforementioned innate desire for social interaction. On the other hand, if I were to invite a friend to “get coffee”, I would have the opportunity to specify the desired topic of conversation, set the tone by choice of seating, and communicate my priority to our conversation by silencing my phone and leaving my laptop at home.

In light of the importance of social interaction, I am  simultaneously fascinated and horrified by the effect technology has had on this particular aspect of our humanity. On the one hand it makes communication both instantaneous and convenient, however it also allows for all lines of communication top be open at all times.

I heard an interesting piece on NPR a while ago, where the question of technology moderation was discussed. Interestingly enough, they were not discussing boundaries needing to be set for children, which is often the case, but for parents. The host interviewed his own daughter who openly complained about her father distracted by his phone all the time. He suggested that technology moderation was necessary for healthy social interaction within the family because, as technology now permeates all areas of our lives, the lines between those areas are being violated. Parents no longer leave work because of email, young couples are never truly apart because of texting, all of our relationships are essentially a click away. How does this affect our relationships in which we are physically present at any given time? Does this mean we are never truly engaged in any of our relationships because we feel the need to be simultaneously engaged in all of them at once? I would argue yes.

I don’t care how talented of a multi-tasker you are – you aren’t. In an interview with NPR News, Clifford Nass, professor of communication at Stanford University, said,

“People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy. They can’t manage a working memory. They’re chronically distracted… And even – they’re even terrible at multitasking. When we ask them to multitask, they’re actually worse at it. So they’re pretty much mental wrecks.”

It would seem that humanity, in its attempt to optimize social interaction, has in fact crippled it. If we cannot truly multitask, yet continually attempt to do so relationally, will any of our relationships be healthy or even genuine?

To bring this full circle, let’s go back to the coffee shop phenomena. How did this phenomena arise? Out of necessity.  While coffee houses have been in existence for centuries, the coffe shop only became commonplace in the 1990s. It became widely popularized by the underlying need to redefine the lines between social circles that became progressively blurred with the rise of technology. When you take a relationship out its natural habitat, in which boundaries have been violated, and intentionally place it in a setting that can be molded to meet present needs, you place your attention and priority on that relationship. Today, the coffee shop meets a need for an environment that is both distinct, comfortable, and flexible so that we can better create opportunities for genuine and unviolated human interaction.

So, if you’re ever in the great city of Knoxville, grab a friend, silence your phone, and grab a cup of joe at Remedy (my favorite coffee shop in town) and share a little life together.

Cheers!

Shelby