Eating healthfully saves money? Who knew?

This Meatless Monday cooking venture was the most well-received so far this summer, at least by my dad and brother. I made three varieties of the ever-trendy flatbread pizza. I’m not quite up to making crust from scratch yet, so I used this multigrain lavash bread, which is very thin and the brand I bought is actually meant to make roll-up sandwiches. It turned to be the perfect base, actually. I brushed five flatbreads lightly with olive oil, and did three sets of toppings. 1: Fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, fresh thyme, and fresh basil. 2: Fontina, sautéed mushrooms, fresh rosemary, and lemon zest. 3: Gorgonzola, apples, walnuts, caramelized onions, and fresh basil.

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Number 3 turned out the best and was my absolute favorite. I also made a green salad with carrots, celery, and scallions to round out the meal.

Flatbreads are so easy, and pretty much universally liked. There are so many combinations of meatless toppings to choose from—you could eat flatbreads every week and not get bored. I think they’re a great way to ease yourself into plant-strong eating. Just make sure you go light on the cheese! Think of it as a condiment, not the base.

Here’s a quick reason to eat less meat and replace it with plant-based proteins: it can be a lot cheaper! Everyone thinks that eating healthfully will cost more, but it doesn’t have to. Replacing animal protein like red meat, poultry, and fish with plant proteins like tofu, canned beans, whole grains (i.e. bread, rice), and nut butters, will almost surely save you money. Make your regular chili without meat, for example, and use more beans and a bit of a grain like bulgur, and it will cost less. Make your sandwich with hummus and avocado instead of turkey and avocado. And have you ever noticed that the vegetarian options on restaurant menus are always the cheapest? If you haven’t, take a look and save some money! Try the stuffed eggplant instead of the steak, and you’ll avoid the extra expense and the potential health, environmental, and animal welfare concerns. You know guac is included at Chipotle when you don’t order meat, right? 😉

And here’s a quick reason to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables: even if they cost more per calorie than some meat and most refined carbohydrates, a healthy diet will save you  money in the long run. I would bet my life on that. Americans spend the smallest percentage of their incomes on food in the world! What’s more, we spend a smaller fraction of our incomes on food now that we ever have. We can certainly afford to spend a little more on fresh, sustainable, nutritious food now, so that we can spend less later on managing heart disease, type II diabetes, and cancer with drugs that don’t even cure us (see my recent post). 

What’s your favorite vegetarian combo of flatbread or pizza toppings?

How do you eat healthfully on a budget? 

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2 thoughts on “Eating healthfully saves money? Who knew?

  1. Pingback: Five Food Resolutions for 2015 | Don't Weight For Change

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