Healthy Restaurant OptionsThe thing with our generation is that we all want to eat well but we just can’t get it done for some reason. We end up eating out more often than we would like to. It also feels like healthy restaurant options are difficult to come by. I personally love to eat well, train hard, and enjoy the results. The problem is that I always find myself in a hurry and I turn to fast food more than anyone. For the benefit of me and everyone reading this, I wanted to jump into the idea of frugal balanced menus and taking care of yourself without going broke.

Let’s open up our discussion today on saving money on food and finding healthy restaurant options. There will be a little less structure today as we try to cover various topics when it comes to saving money and eating well.

When you must eat fast food.

What do I do when I have to eat fast food? No matter how dedicated you are to preparing your own meals ahead of time, there will be many times where you’re on the go and you need to eat whatever is available. It’s all good there’s no need to stress. There are many great options for fast food. The trick is that you need to avoid that obviously carb/fat-loaded meals (Big Mac, pizza or poutine). Always grab a water, don’t bother with a diet drink, it’s still the same crap. If you get any type of sandwhich, I recommend taking off the bread and just eating the meat. You can also grab a salad from most fast food joints. Just because you’re stuck eating fast food it doesn’t mean that it has to completely throw off your diet or budget.

When you have time to prepare food.

When you have time to prepare food it’s a different story. You can head down to your local grocery store and pick out what sticks out to you. I usually grab a decent mix of canned goods, cold cuts, fresh food, and vegetables. I then try to turn this into a few small meals. When I’m feeling lazy (pretty often) I just grab the ready made meals from the grocery store. These are a great way to eat well and save money. The point being is that when you have some extra time it’s always a better option to head down to the grocery store so that you can actually plan your meals so that you don’t spend lots of money on crap food.

Is eating out at a restaurant always a poor idea?

Healthy restaurant options are all around us. It’s just that eating out has a negative connotation due to the Burger King’s of the world. I mentioned what to watch out for at fast food joints earlier. Now I just want to throw out a few quick tips for eating well at a sit down restaurant. If you want to avoid spending lots of money and having your waist line explode, it’s advisable that you don’t buy any booze. If you want to drink it’s best done before or after because as a college student a restaurant will kill your budget with drinks. If you want to eat lean it’s best to always order a side of vegetables instead of greasy fries or potatoes. Eating out at restaurants will become increasingly popular as you graduate from college and everyone wants to go out for dinner. You can attend these meals, eat well, and still save money.

Does saving money on food have to be boring?

What If I like to keep my meals interesting? What if I like to enjoy my food? I’ve had this debate in some form a few times with one of my friends. He always argues that he works hard for his money so he deserves to spend it on food. That’s cool because when it’s your money you can do whatever you want with it. Just don’t complain when you don’t know where all of your money is going.

Saving money on food is not about being boring. It’s about trying to fuel for body for as little money as possible. I’m not saying that you should never eat out. I love going to a restaurant as a treat every once in a while. The thing is that it doesn’t become so special when you do it so often.

At the end of the day personal finance and fitness will always be a major part of my life. Once you start to save your money and eat well you’ll notice many positive side effects that you never expected. You’ll be less stressed out, more motivated, and generally more happier. What are you waiting for?

How do you manage to save money while still eating well?

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(photo credit: djjewelz)