Thrifty Health Tip: Iron Rich Foods For Low Energy

Posted on February 4th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

iron rich foods collage

Maybe it’s the weather. Or the fact that the children have been sick. Or that I haven’t been sleeping well. There are a number of possible reasons (or combination of reasons) for having low energy. One worth considering is low iron intake. Iron is critical to transporting oxygen to the entire body. So, any deficiency in iron can cause fatigue. Serious deficiencies can cause serious problems.

You might think that making sure you have enough iron in your diet means that you are eating quite a bit of red meat. However, you can find iron in a wide variety of sources. Here are some of the most beneficial iron rich foods.

The body absorbs iron best from animal sources. Here are a few iron rich foods in that category.

Liver (both chicken and beef)

Oysters

Clams

Turkey leg

Tuna

Eggs

The body can also absorb iron from plant sources. However, these sources require a little extra help. So, eating something rich in vitamin C alongside these will help with the absorption. Some suggest eating these with a glass of orange juice. Otherwise, you may choose to eat them with citrus fruits, berries, peppers, peas, potatoes (including sweet potatoes), dark leafy greens, broccoli, melons, kiwi, and pineapple.

Raisin bran

Instant Oatmeal

Beans (esp. kidney, lima and navy beans)

Lentils

Molasses

Spinach

Peanut Butter

Brown Rice

Nuts and Seeds

Some lists also place dark chocolate as a nice way to get a little iron into your system! So, if you’ve been told to increase your iron intake or if you think you could use a little more iron, you don’t have to go out for a steak dinner or buy a bunch of iron supplements. Consider many more delicious, nutritious, and even thrifty options to take care of that body.

What are you favorite iron rich foods?


Thrifty and Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

Posted on January 27th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

super bowl with text

One of my favorite parts of a Super Bowl party is the snacks. I’m not much of a football fan (although I usually randomly pick a team I like for the big game), so the game itself is just a great excuse to spend time with friends and eat some fun snacks. It’s so easy, though, to end up spending quite a bit of money on Super Bowl party food. So, here are a few tips to help make your fun party both thrifty and healthy (or, at least, healthier).

Chop Your Own Veggies. It’s so easy to pick up a package of baby carrots or pre-cut carrots and celery. But chopping your own is easy and quick.

Make Your Own Dip. Pre-made dip can be full of preservatives and chemicals. Make your own dip using sour cream and onions. Here’s a super-easy recipe that looks better than any store bought onion dip! You could always make some homemade hummus, instead.

Bake Chicken Tenders. Who dictated that Buffalo wings were the standard Super Bowl snack? Honestly, I’ve never really been a big fan of Buffalo wings. It’s easy to prepare a much healthier option by baking chicken tenders. Here’s a recipe that is a nice alternative to the wings without sacrificing taste at all.

Other Ideas.

Black Bean Quesadillas. How about using beans to save money and calories? Our family loves black beans. Here’s a delicious (and nutritious) Super Bowl snack option!

Crispy Chickpeas. Here’s another thrifty healthy alternative. Nuts can be expensive to buy. But chickpeas are very reasonably priced. Make these crispy chickpeas and no one will miss the Blue Diamond almonds!

Who says that a big game should set you back on your new year’s resolutions to be healthier and more frugal? Enjoy the game, the snacks, and the extra money in the bank!


Yummy and Healthy Coconut Flour Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

cookies take 2

I’m always looking for ways to get my family to eat healthier on a very tight budget. One of our staples around the house is some sort of healthy baked good. We go through seasons of muffins that give way to seasons of cookies around here. We have been in a cookie season of late and I’ve wanted to change things up. At the end of the year last year, as a way to cut costs, I started using organic white flour for our baked goods. It’s better than non-organic white flour but not as good as coconut flour.

I had a difficult time finding a recipe that worked for us. So, I came up with my own. We use organic ingredients, including raw honey and raw milk to ensure that it’s a good-for-you treat :)

Here are the very simple ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt

1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 organic peanut butter
2/3 cup raw honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup raw milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

dark chocolate chips, as desired

Directions:

1. Preheat the over at 350.

2. Heat a small pan on low and add the coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey (be sure to put the honey in last so that it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat as soon as most of it is melted. Mix together and let cool.

melt peanut butter
cookie ingredients

3. Meanwhile, combine coconut flour, rolled oats, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

dry ingred

4. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract to the cooled off peanut butter mixture in the pan. Then, mix in to the dry ingredients.

mix all ingredients

5. Let that sit for at least 5 minutes before adding the yummy chocolate goodness…I mean, the chocolate chips 😉

add chocolate chips

6. Use a tablespoon to drop balls of cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet about one inch apart. (Sometimes I place them closer than an inch apart because I don’t want to use a second cookie sheet, as you can see here.)

cookie dough

7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until lightly golden.

cookies final

8. Enjoy!

cookies final. plate


Easy Peasy Homemade Pizza

Posted on January 12th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

pizza photo final

Our children love to eat out. And Mommy and Daddy love the idea of eating out. But we don’t particularly love eating out for a couple of reasons. First, it’s hard not to think about what you could be doing with the money spent. Second, even if we allot a certain amount of money to eating out on occasion, it’s rare to find a place with food we can feel good about eating. So, most of the time, we eat in and are glad we do.

One of our family favorites is pizza. And we’ve discovered that we can make it as good, if not better, using ingredients we feel good about for a lot less than we would pay for one we’d order from a restaurant. This week, my daughter asked me if we could make pizza several times. Then, when I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner one night, I thought we’d go with her suggestion. I didn’t have any shredded cheese, pepperoni, or pre-made dough. But, I did have a block of organic mozzarella cheese, organic white flour, yeast, and some chicken sausage. It was enough to make it happen.

For the crust, I used:

3 cups organic white flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
3-5 Tbsp. oil (I used avocado oil just because it’s what I have right now.)
1 package of yeast

For the toppings, I used what I happened to have on hand:

1 jar of organic spaghetti sauce
1 block of organic mozzarella cheese
3 all-natural chicken sausage links

Directions:

1. Prepare yeast according to package instructions.

2. Combine flour, salt, and garlic powder and mix.

3. Once the yeast is ready, add oil and water so that the total liquid mixture is about 1 1/4 cup.

4. Add yeast mixture to the flour and form a ball. Knead for at least five minutes. Then, either let the ball sit in a bowl covered by a clean kitchen towel for about 30 minutes, if you are preparing one large pizza. If you are dividing the dough to make more than one, form additional balls for each crust.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough. (My handsome, handy husband rolled out the dough for us!)

T rolling dough

6. Use a fork to poke holes in the crust.

round dough

7. Add your toppings. Use what you have. I didn’t have pepperoni and didn’t want to thaw out ground beef. So, I just used the sausage we had in the refrigerator.

sausage cooking cooked sausage

8. Bake pizza at 425 for about 20 minutes or until crust looks golden and cheese is bubbling.

sausage onion pizza almost ready cheese pizza almost ready

9. Enjoy! We did! :)

sausage pizza final cheese pizza final

What fast food do you replicate at home for less?


Thrifty Tip: Eating Organic On A Budget

Posted on January 7th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

thrifty tip

Do any of your new year’s resolutions involve eating healthier and saving money? It can seem impossible to do both. But, if you’re serious about both of those resolutions, it’s possible. You can be thrifty and healthy! Here are a few tips to help you navigate the world of organic foods (which can be very expensive) on a budget.

1. Check out the frozen section.

You can get organic produce on sale–and should look for organic produce to be on sale seasonally. However, you can generally find better deals on organic fruit and vegetables in the frozen section than you can in the produce section. Then, on occasion, when frozen foods are on sale, you can get even better deals and stock up your freezer.

2. Look for local organic brands.

With the increasing demand for organic foods, local stores have started their own lines of organic foods and products. Kroger, HEB, Costco, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s all have their own organic brands, which tend to carry more reasonable price tags. So check your favorite store for it’s own line of organic foods to save money at the register.

3. Buy in bulk.

We buy all our organic oatmeal in the bulk section. Two of our local stores often have bulk discounts. So we tend to stock up on oatmeal during those times. You can also get great deals buying bulk organic foods from warehouse stores, like Costco. We now buy our organic rice, coconut oil, bread, among much more, at Costco.

4. Buy online.

Comparison shop is the key to determining whether you should buy something online. I used to buy our coconut oil online until Costco started carrying their own brand of organic coconut oil. I also used to buy organic black beans in the bulk section of our local grocery store until I found a great deal on bulk organic black beans online. I’ve shopped for organic foods and products at Vitacost, iHerb, Azure Standard, and Amazon.

How do you save money eating organic?


Thrifty Ways To Lose Weight

Posted on January 6th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

lose weight

Every January we are all inundated by weight loss ads everywhere. “Get your best body now!” is an ad that popped up on one of my screens recently. They all pretty much say the same thing. But they act like you can’t do it unless you pay someone for work out training, packages of food, coaching, or some sort of fancy app. Now, I do think that most of those things can be very useful. But I don’t believe that you need to pay to get in shape!

About a year after having our youngest child, I realized that after trying so hard to lose all the baby weight that year, I was still carrying a few post-baby pounds around. So, I got more intense and in the process got into the best shape I’ve ever been in… without spending a single dollar. You can do it, too!

1. Have Fun.

Find some way to exercise that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it just a little bit, you won’t be doing it for long. I began running. I love working out outside. It’s much more refreshing to me than running on a treadmill at the neighborhood recreational center. Maybe you don’t like running. Walk. Take your iPod or phone and play music. Honestly, I am not sure if I could even run one mile if I don’t have my music playing! It makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable.

2. Eat fat!

Yes, I said, “fat.” Studies show that eating good fats, like what you find in coconut oil, eggs, avocado actually helps boost your metabolism. One of the habits I started when I was trying to lose that baby weight was putting a spoon of coconut oil (or grass fed butter, when I happen to have it on hand) into my coffee every morning. It’ll help boost your metabolism in the morning. Plus, it tastes great! Some experts recommend getting good fat like that three times a day to keep your metabolism working for you all day. Don’t deprive yourself of food. Just eat whole, nutritious food that will satisfy you rather than processed foods that will fill you with calories and leave you hungry and looking for a snack in an hour.

3. Eat lots of raw fruit and vegetables.

They are great for your body but a lot of fruit and veggies require more calories to burn than they have. So, you can eat and burn calories at the same time. :)

There’s no reason why you have to pay for a program or a person to help you get in shape. You can do it and enjoy it. Enjoying it is one of the best motivations to making it a habit and not another failed resolution.

What do you do to get in shape?


Make Your Own Facial Scrub

Posted on December 31st, 2014 by Discount Debbie

scrub 2 with text

I have a relative who sells skin care products, very expensive products. She sent me a little sample “facial treatment” for me to try recently. It was a two part “treatment” of facial scrub and moisturizer and it felt great. But what was amazing was the simple scrub. It reminded me that I don’t have to spend a lot of money (especially if it’s money I just don’t have) to exfoliate my skin, look good, and feel good.

So, I did a little test and made my own scrub… just to see if it would feel as good.

I mixed 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. (It’s hard to see it all in the picture since the sugar, the oil and the bowl are all white. Sorry about that!) Trust me, it’s in there. 😉

scrub 1

I like coconut oil, but the same recipe can be made with any of your preferred oils (olive, grape seed, avocado). Since I had some vitamin E oil on hand and I know that it is so good for healing and replenishing skin, I added a few drops of it into the mix.

scrub 2

Once it was all mixed, I tried it out!

I put the scrub all over my face and massaged it for about 30 seconds. (I followed the instructions from the package on the fancy skin care products.) Then, I rinsed it off and, what do you know, my face felt as rejuvenated and smooth as it did when I used the expensive products! Only my stuff took minutes (and pennies) to make!

scrub 3 cropped

 

If your skin is sensitive, you may want to substitute baking soda for the sugar and create a paste using oil or water. But, if you use water, make sure to moisturize afterwards.

Who says you have to spend a lot of money to take care of your skin? Here’s to being thrifty and healthy in the new year!


Eating Healthy on a Thrifty Budget

Posted on December 31st, 2014 by Discount Debbie

eating healthy

Have you made any new year resolutions yet? If you have, I’d bet that at least one of them has something to do with being healthy. We all want to eat better food and exercise more so that we can feel good, be strong, and be healthy as we get older. Oh, and we want to look good too! 😉

So often, though, eating healthier food is costly. It can become difficult to begin, much less maintain, a healthy lifestyle. However, we at Thrifty Divas believe that it’s possible to be healthy and thrifty at the same time! We will give you practical ways to get healthy without having to pay an arm and a leg for good food. For example, there’s an increasing demand for organic and non-GMO (genetically modified organism). People want to eat food that is free from pesticides and other chemicals and which has not been tampered with genetically. Those foods tend to be pricier because manufacturers and producers don’t use conventional methods to produce them, and they pass those additional costs to the consumers.

While there are still ways to keep costs down while eating organic and non-GMO, it’s also important to be equipped with information about which non-organic foods are safe to eat. Most of what we buy and eat as a family is organic. But we buy non-organic foods that are safe.

Onions. Apparently, bugs don’t particularly care much about snacking on onions because some testing shows that less than one percent of onions had any pesticide residue on them. In addition, their layers make it easy to simply peel off the first one or two and you’ve got yourself a “clean” produce at a reasonable price.

Pineapple. You might be able to guess why pineapple is a safe fruit. Its tough exterior protects it from any pesticide residue. Once you’ve cut it so that you get to the yummy stuff, you’ve also cut off anything that would have those chemicals on it.

Avocados. The same applies to avocados. The thick skin protects it from the pesticides. So you don’t have to buy organic avocados.

Mangos. Ditto with mangos!

Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes consistently rank the lowest in pesticide residue. That’s great news when they are in season at great prices.

Cabbage. Cabbage doesn’t need much assistance to grow and must not be very appealing to little critters because they aren’t sprayed very much either. Plus, I like the layers (just like onions). If there’s any question, just peel back another layer :)

Let’s be thrifty and healthy this year! You ready?

 


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