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food

Workweek Meal Plan That’s Cheap, Easy, and Healthy

by Advance Financial | November 1st, 2016

weekly-meal-plan

The actual decision to start eating healthy is effortless. You just decide one day, “hey, I’m going to start eating healthier.” The phrase “easier said than done” fits perfectly with the idea of eating healthy. You can say you’ll do it, but when it comes down to actually choosing healthier options for meals it can be rather difficult. Below we have created an easy planning guide to making cheap, easy, and most importantly healthy meals that will get you through the entire workweek. A lot of these recipes utilize leftovers from previous meals, which will aid in cutting grocery costs. Links to full recipes for lunches and dinners are included.

monday

Breakfast

Banana and peanut butter on wheat toast

Lunch

Turkey sandwich – Recipe

Carrots with light ranch, and an apple

Snack

Low-fat yogurt

Dinner

Chicken tortilla soup – Recipe

(Note: Make extra chicken and set aside for Tuesday’s lunch.)

tuesday

Breakfast

Yogurt and all bran cereal

Lunch

Grilled chicken caesar salad wrap – Recipe

Celery with peanut butter

(Note: Use leftover chicken from Monday’s dinner.)

Snack

Mixed Nuts

 Dinner

Bacon and Broccoli Rice Bowl – Recipe

(Note: Make extra boiled eggs for Wednesday’s breakfast and extra bacon for Wednesday’s lunch.)

wednesday

Breakfast

Boiled eggs and wheat toast

(Note: use extra boiled eggs from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

BLT with avocado – Recipe

Chips and salsa

(Note: Use extra bacon from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Cottage cheese and saltine crackers

Dinner

Chicken, pepper and corn stir-fry – Recipe

(Note: Make extra and before seasoning set aside. Use peppers for Thursday’s breakfast and chicken and corn for Thursday’s lunch.)

thursday

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with peppers

(Note: Use extra peppers from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

Southwest salad with chicken –Recipe

(Note: Use extra chicken and corn from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Carrots with light ranch 

Dinner

Antipasti Penne –Recipe

friday

Breakfast

Oatmeal and bananas

 Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich – Recipe

Low sodium chips

Snack

Peanut butter and crackers

 Dinner

Turkey Chili – Recipe

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Tips to Saving Money at Your Local Farmers Market

by Advance Financial | July 7th, 2016

produce

So there is a myth about shopping at farmers markets that we would like to bust. Produce at your local farmers market has gained the title of “expensive “when compared to produce at a chain grocery store, and we definitely do not think this is always the case. Along with being good for the local economy, organic, fresher, and better tasting, local produce can also beat out the price of grocery store produce. You just have to know how to shop. To guide you on your next adventure to the local farmers market, here are some tips to follow to save some money.

 

Go for less than perfect

Let’s get real. Do your apples really need to be the exact shade of red and shaped to perfection? Well for a lot of people, yes they do, but you’re a savvy shopper and your spending habits aren’t affected by fruit vanity. Because the not so pretty items don’t sell as well, a lot of times they are actually discounted in price. And even if the seller isn’t advertising the items are discounted, just ask. Give a concerned look at that deformed peach and simple say, “Is this one full price?”

 

Don’t make a list

Yes, in most cases making a list when grocery shopping is a must if you’re trying to save, and especially if you’re on a tight budget until the next payday. If you make a list when going to the farmers market, however, then you might not be as cognizant of the lesser expensive items. Instead of going in with a list of specific items, try showing up open minded without any ideas of what fruits and vegetables you need. Plan out meals based on cheaper produce once you are there and can see your options.

 

Timing is everything

So it’s pouring the rain outside. Pull up your rain boots, grab an umbrella, and head out to the market to score some deals. Supply and demand drive prices in the sense that if there are less people in attendance, then there is less likely of a chance that farmers will be able to sell all items easily. Going to a market when the crowds are low will give you more options with more say so on prices. Going 30 minutes before the market closes is also a good time to get leftovers that vendors will be trying to get rid of by selling cheaper.

 

Buy in season

A bowl of cherries in the dead of winter may be exactly what you want, but when it comes to budget friendly eating, it’s probably not the best idea. The beauty of a farmers market is that cherries will not even be an option in the middle of January.   Shopping locally will in-fact force you to buy what is in season, and those fruits and vegetables dramatically decrease in price.

 

Negotiate

It’s a market, not a grocery store. Don’t hesitate to do a little haggling. Remember that produce has an expiration date and these farmers want to get rid of their crops. Try to build a relationship with the regular farmers and show you’re a loyal customer. Chances are they just might cut you a deal on items if you get in good enough.

 

 

 

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10 Unique Foods to Grill for the Best Cookout on the Block

by Advance Financial | May 26th, 2016

grill

For most Memorial Day cookouts it can be expected that two items will always be present. Hamburgers and hotdogs – the staple food used for grilling. Don’t get us wrong, we love some juicy burgers and mustard drenched hotdogs, but what if you kicked it up a notch this year and got creative with your cookout. To help you throw the most memorable Memorial Day cookout ever, we have created a list of foods you might not have considered to throw on the grill. Enjoy.

Ice Cream

Grill something that easily melts if not in the freezer? That’s right, simply scoop out your favorite ice cream into medium sized balls, coat them with a mixture of egg batter and coconut shavings, and place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. Once frozen throw them on the grill for one to two minutes and BAM! Grilled ice cream.

 Fries

It’s a burger’s favorite companion, just without the deep fryer. Cut up potato slices into wedges and mix in a bowl with olive oil and seasoning. Grill each side 5 to 10 minutes and they’re ready to be served. If you’re looking for a more health conscience version, try using sweet potatoes.

Pizza

Bring a little Italian flare to the cookout by grilling pizza. Buy some pre-made pizza dough, coat it with olive oil and place it on the grill. Take off the grill once you see grill marks, and add desired toppings to the grilled side of the dough. Place pizza back on the grill for two to three minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble.

Meatballs

This is a simple one. Just mix up your favorite meatball recipe and put uncooked meatball on the grill for about 7 minutes. Meatballs should be brown with a crispy shell. Enjoy in pasta or on a sub.

Quesadillas

Ditch the apron and put on a sombrero. Brush tortillas with olive oil and place on the grill. Place toppings on the tortilla and cover grill. In about 7 minutes you will be ready to remove and fold over for the perfect Quesadilla.

Avocado

Is there ever a reason not to add Avocado to a meal? When it comes to grilling simply cut in half (the skin stays on), take out the seed, and coat with olive oil. Place the cut side down on the grill and let cook for about 5 minutes. Fill with salsa or cheese and enjoy.

Bacon

Have no fear, the bacon is here. But if you do fear the mess of frying bacon then grilling it is your key to a grease-free clean up. And since it won’t be sitting in it’s own fat, it will be a healthier version. Cook each slice of bacon for five to six minutes on medium-high heat, crumble it up and add it to your hotdog.

Peaches

Grilled fruit as a dessert, now that sounds just peachy! Cut peach in half , leaving the skin on and removing the seed. Place peach on the grill, skin side up, for about four minutes or until peach is softened and charred. Pair it with some ice cream and you’ve got the perfect grilled dessert.

Banana Split

While we’re on this grilled fruit and ice cream thing, let’s just add the most famous ice cream and fruit combo, the banana split. Take a ripe and firm banana and cut lengthwise with the peel still on. Grill cut-side down for 2-3 minutes, and then remove from heat. Remove the peel and add all the good stuff (ice cream, nuts, chocolate syrup, etc.).

Watermelon

Nothing kicks off the beginning of summer better than a good slice of watermelon. Cover with olive oil and grill each side for three minutes. Sprinkle with salt or sugar and add some lemon juice for a non-traditional version of everyone’s favorite summer snack.

 

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