3 Easy and Healthy Recipes for the Girl on a Budget

I asked on Instagram what you guys wanted to see on the blog and so many people responded with more recipes. While I wouldn't consider myself a chef or anything, I have found what works for me to cook healthy meals on a budget in as little time as possible. Cooking can feel really intimidating (speaking from experience) so I try to find ways to make the process as easy as I can.

I will share with you guys a complete roundup of grocery tips and a haul soon, (probably on my Youtube channel) but I always share grocery finds on Instagram stories, so make sure you are following along on @balanced_baig to keep up with that. While you guys know I love Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, you can also get a lot of inexpensive items on sale at Kroger. I try to keep my shopping trips to around $50 at the absolute most and I try to only go every two weeks.

First thing's first: what I like to call a "power bowl". These are so easy and yummy, but my favorite part about making this for lunch or dinner is that it is so easily customizable. I always have some variation of veggies, greens, protein, and healthy fat. Some examples here:

  • Veggies / Fresh Produce: brussels sprouts, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash noodles, broccoli, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, etc. Get creative! Summertime is the best time to experiment with veggies because they are so fresh and in season. I love seasoning my veggies with Everything but the Bagel from Trader Joe's, sea salt, pepper, garlic, really whatever I'm feeling at the moment and then roasting for 15ish minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Greens: almost always spinach or kale. This could be roasted or lightly dressed with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Protein: my go-to proteins are chicken and salmon. When you're shopping for meat, make sure you are looking for pasture raised chicken and wild caught salmon. Speaking from experience, I have seen a lot of meat and fish with hormones or colors added and that kind of freaks me out, so it's worth it to me to pay a little more for good stuff. When I'm cooking for myself, I always season my meat or fish with a little bit of olive oil and some kind of combination of sea salt, garlic, and pepper. Maybe a little lemon juice. My rule of thumb is typically cooking for about 5 minutes each side on the stove, but use your judgment. (side note: cooking meat/fish used to scare me so much, but I promise it's not as intimidating as it may seem!)
  • Fat: pretty much always half an avocado! I usually cook with olive oil, so that's in their too. I also love adding a big spoonful of spicy hummus if I have it on hand.

I have been loving the black bean pasta from Trader Joe's. It is full of fiber and protein and can be made a variety of different ways. You could do regular tomato sauce and parmesan, but I have been loving plain olive oil or the pesto quinoa (also from Trader Joe's). Immediately after I strain most of the water from the pasta, I throw in a big handful of spinach, let that cook down, and add whatever sauce/toppings. This keeps me full until the end of the day when I bring this for lunch!

I shared this recipe on my Instagram, but I picked up this cult favorite from Trader Joe's and it did not disappoint! Once again this is so easily customizable (why I love), but the TJ's pesto quinoa was super yummy on top with a little mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. This is more of an example of something I would make for dinner. As far as cooking the crust, I just followed the directions on the box for cooking and it turned out perfectly.

I hope you enjoyed those three easy recipes. While it's definitely not rocket science, sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get started in the kitchen. At least I know I do. If you like the food related posts, make sure to let me know and I will keep them coming.

Thanks for reading. xx

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