Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finding Balance In My Life Part II (Food)

Two weeks ago, I took a deep breath and posted something that wasn't easy to admit to myself, type up into a draft or publish for the internet to read.  My life was starting to feel off balance - admitting it was the first step for me to get myself back on track.

I was amazed at the out pour of love and support that I felt after I published that post.  There are so many follow-up posts that I have in the works, but for today I am going to talk about food.

There are several factors that I think contribute to my lifestyle and diet ...
  • My Desire To Be Healthy
  • My Budget
  • Time
My Desire To Be Healthy

I want to eat healthy.  I feel better when I eat healthy.  I have more energy when I eat healthy.  I am more productive and feel better about the way I look when I eat healthy.  When I drink water, eventually I crave water.  When I eat healthy, eventually I crave healthy eating.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Read on ...

My Budget

I am 26 years old.  I just started my first 'real job' a little over three months ago.  I have been in school for the last seven years and have been living on part-time work, scholarships, family money and a few loans for a long time.

Oh - and I am in the ministry.  I'm not exactly rolling in the dough over here.

That being said - eating healthy can be very, very expensive.  I read a lot of healthy living blogs and I have to say that it is easy to get sucked into the organic, wholesome, healthy, fancy, etc, etc, etc food that pops up on a lot of them.

But here's the thing - that food is very expensive!  And when you are on a budget it is important to find balance (there's that pesky word again!) between food that is good for you and might be expensive and food that it inexpensive to stock your shelves with.


Healthy eating takes time.  Pre-packaged food isn't always the healthiest, but preparing it yourself requires time.  A lot of time.  Time that most people who work way too many hours in the week do not have.


Okay, so there is my desire to be healthy.  I think that is pretty self-explanatory.  However, I do think that lately I have been distracted and that has gotten me off track.  So over the past two weeks I have essentially pulled my bootstraps up and told myself it was time to get myself organized that it is possible to stay organized.

Then there is the element of time.

Blech.  I need more of it in my life.

However, I'm trying to come up with simple solutions.

For lunch today I heated up a can of soup - one of Campbell's Chunky Soups.  I heated it up, crumbled some ritz crackers on top and then heated it a bit more so the crackers could soak up the soup.  And I made sure I put some water on the side - I have been waking up so dehydrated lately!

Canned soups aren't great, but they have veggies and protein and it filled me up.  And it felt good to stop for 20 minutes and have lunch today!

(Yes, soup seems ridiculous in July, but we have the AC running because of the humidity in the church basement and it gets cold!)

Okay, so onto my budget.  Bruce and I were grocery shopping the other day and grabbed two boxes of macaroni & cheese.  It is inexpensive (especially if you find a sale + coupon, which unfortunately we did not have) and quick.  But it is not necessarily full of flavor or healthy (lots of stuff I can't pronounce, ha!).

So today I tried to dress it up.  And throw some veggies on the side so at least I was getting something with nutritional value.

I stirred in a lot of black pepper and seasoned salt to give the M&C some extra flavor.  For a salad I pulled some greens, onions and sugar peas from the garden for a side salad.  Total cost of the meal?  Maybe $2.

But you would never know by nutrients OR flavor.

So, I'm not certainly not perfect and I'm not even really trying to be.  But I am doing the best that I can given everything that is going on in my life.


What are your tricks for finding balance when you have time, budget and general life distractions that gets in the way?


  1. Crockpot. Lifesaver!

    Cook meals that freeze easy and double the recipe. Freeze half for another day. Two meals. Cook once. :)

    I love the book Eat This and Live by Dr. Don Colbert. Really great advice on eating healthy.

    Buy fruits and veggies that are in season to help the budget.

  2. I have found recently that making your own "pre-packaged" foods (aka making meals in advance and freezing them) is a wonderful time saver for the rest of the week. As long as you remember to thaw them out the night before, you can throw it in the oven to heat it up, make a veggie and BAM!

  3. I third the idea of making large amounts of food and then freezing single size portions. I did that ALL.THE.TIME in seminary. I'm planning to get back into that routine once I move out of my parents house (I've been living on home cooked meals for the past year, lol).

    It's nice to take one day a week, cook a lot, and have food for the rest of the week. Having my own frozen meal on hand keeps from reaching for the Lean Cuisine or living on chips and salsa, lo.

  4. I find that fishing with a friend brings balance to my life. Once you have a rod and some worms, it's cheap, easy, keeps you in touch with nature, and if you like fish it can cut down you grocery bill.

  5. Try adding edamame to your mac and cheese. It adds a good protein element and some additional freshness. Morgan loves to eat hers with it.

    Amy Jones

  6. It's very hard to transition from school life to working life. I've been there. Even smaller changes, like a new house or a marriage, can throw one off course.

    I'm not sure if you've mentioned this already...but what is Bruce doing while you're working? Is he job searching, working, etc? If he's home most of the day, could he work on making healthy dinners for the two of you? My husband is home right now (laid off) and he's always been the better cook of the two of us, so he's relishing the time to make new dishes and experiment with old ones. Right there, we're saving money since we're not relying on take out as much, and home cooked food is usually healthier.

    Also, with him being home, he can shop as soon as the sales hit, instead of cramming it in on the weekends, and he has time to go to more than one store to get the best deals. More money savings!

    When we were both working and out of the house all day, I usually did the cooking because I was home first. Crockpots do come in handy. So does grilling! But there were many times when it was just easier to go out or get take out. Not good for the budget or the waist line.

    For the longest time, we've done the following: every week, we sketch out a weekly meal plan and make a grocery list from the meal plan and what's on sale from our grocery fliers. We try to use up what's on hand and always have a leftover day (or two!).

    We also buy in bulk when things are on sale. As for meat/fish/chicken, we'll break them down into smaller packages and freeze them. I don't know how much space you've got, but we bought an upright freezer and it's worth every penny. We have so much extra food in there, because we stock up when there are sales. Not just meats--I have bread, frozen veggies, English muffins, I even froze peaches that we picked last summer! I keep a list of what's in there, can be hard to see what's what.

    We also have a shelving unit in our basement where we keep extra canned/jarred goods.

    Another thing--frozen veggies. I love them, so much better than canned. You could always add some of those to your soups, and can work great in things like boxed mac & cheese. You'll get there! :)

  7. I think you're right on target, Miss Sarah. It's "good enough" to do the best we can with what we have. :-)


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