Ballin on a budget! How to eat healthy without going broke!


It was a cold wintery day in February. I rose up out of bed, went to do my morning ritual of taking a whiz, brushing my teeth and taking a hot shower. When I stepped out of the shower and all of a sudden, I caught a glimpse of some unflattering love handles! They were jiggling baby!! It looked gross, blah!! I immediately tried to make sense of this nonsense! How did this happen? I mean, I’m Mr. Cardio Funk, this is ridiculous! How can I get up in front of people knowing I got this crap underneath my gym clothes? I was appalled! After, the panic left me I got myself together! I thought, fool you know you’ve been eating like poop! Football season and the combo of less rigorous exercise and all the beer, wine and good eats that happen during fall and winter eventually catches up! Every time I reached for nachos, wings, pizza, a nice hot latte, sweet potato pie, cupcakes, etc. I reasoned my bad food choices away. Now, its time to work this crap off! Spring is too close to let another day go by without some changes! First thing I thought is, I have to eat better! As a trainer/coach I know that food is 80% of the battle for maintaining a great weight and giving your body nutritious energy sources, vitamins and minerals. Initially, I said ok, I’m going to eat organic fruits, veggies, meats and not eat anything out of a box. I’ll portion control and drink water, and the only alcohol I’ll have will be wine in moderation. I’ll go from a large, mug like cup to a normal glass, drinking a max of 2 glasses on weekends. Ok, break (sound as if breaking a football huddle)! I’m ready!

Organic eating

Sooooooo…. Organic eating would be a NO! I mean, one chicken breast is the price of gold and lets not get into the veggies and fruits! My bank card laughed at me, and told me to get out of Whole Foods and head on back to Harris Teeter, NOW! Not that Harris Teeter is super cheap but I can get some 2 for 1 deals at times, plus the volume of items looks a lot more doable. Lets face it, eating “clean” is tough enough without having to stress the strain on your budget. One day soon, I plan to get to a financial point that clean, organic eating can be a normal daily routine, but for now a BROTHA is broke!! So how can you make better food choices without breaking your pocket book?

Planning/ Preparation

This is key in anything you do. When you’re prepared mentally and physically for this life changing move, your success rate skyrockets! For example, start with just having your lunches for the week planned. Maybe Mon, and Wed are Tuna sandwich and salad day and Tues and Thurs are Stuffed Pepper and String cheese day. Friday may be a treat day of a turkey sandwich and pasta salad. The key is planning. That way you can’t make impulsive buys, poor food choices and your budget is managed. Boom!

Food selections

If you are a person that requires tons of variety and not a lot of replication have this website handy –

What I’ve found is if you want to eat healthy on a budget, replication will be required since you’ll want to get the healthiest items in bulk, but you have a short window to eat them. Fruits and veggies may start going bad after 3 days from purchase. Bad is relative, since seeing brown spots on bananas are ” Bad” to me but not bother others. However, even when things start aging, using their contents for smoothies or to be baked in a healthy food choice can always help extend the life of the product.

Here are my top cheap good food choices:

Tuna, bananas, kidney beans, bell peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, Spinach bushels, Iceberg lettuce, Strawberries, lean ground beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, wheat bread, Canadian bacon, oatmeal, yogurt, shredded mozzarella, Harris teeter purified water bottles,  all frozen veggies..

With just this list you can create more than 60 different dishes spending less than $60.00 on food  for the work week! There’s enough nutritious foods blended with some decent filler foods to avoid feeling hungry. Of course the fresher the fruits and veggies are the more nutritious but when you’ve got just $2.00 frozen carrots are better than a cheeseburger 🙂

With these simples changes to my daily consumption along with portion control, more vigorous exercise, I was able to  quickly get the “Love” out of the handles and smile again! Yay!!!

Editor/ Trainer/ Coach

Lem Houston




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