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You CAN Afford to Eat Healthy!

23 Jun

Exercise is a part of being healthy, but so is eating right. I’ve heard so many people say that they can’t afford healthy food. I won’t deny that some healthy foods are expensive, but there’s actually a lot of very affordable healthy foods out there. You may even find that you eat cheaper when you eat healthy.

Here’s a list of a few cheap and healthy foods (this is by no means all of them):

  • Oatmeal – Has iron and fiber. Costs $2.24  for a big thing of it that makes 30 servings! Or if you don’t like eating hot oatmeal you can make granola out of it.
  • Potatoes – Keep the skins on, that’s where most of the nutrients are and nothings wasted.
  • Beans – High in fiber and protein. And they’re not only way cheaper than meat, but also a lot lower in fat!
  • Lentils – These are not only cheap, but easy to cook. Unlike beans they don’t need to be soaked overnight.
  • Raisins – I love dried fruits, but most are expensive and some have added sugar. But raisins don’t have extra sugar and they are the cheapest dried fruit I can find.
  • Fruit and veggies – Buy in season, locally grown and on sale to get the most for your money. I find that things like carrots, bananas and apples seem to pretty much always be cheap.
  • Whole wheat bread – It usually doesn’t cost much, if any more, than white bread, or you can make your own.
  • Brown rice – it only costs a little more than white rice, but it goes a long way.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta – I’ve only cooked with this a few times, but you can get it pretty affordably.

Here’s some other tips:

  • A lot of regular grocery stores are carrying health food items, and it’s probably cheaper there than at a health food store, but compare prices to make sure.
  • You may be able to get some healthy foods cheaper at warehouse stores. The cheapest unit price I’ve found on honey is at Sam’s Club.
  • Eat the right sizes, if you eat too much it not only isn’t healthy, it also makes your grocery bill higher.
  • Skip the unnecessary and completely empty calories like soda and candy. There’s nothing healthy in it and the cost really adds up. Save that money to buy healthy food instead.
  • Cook from scratch. You have more control over what goes in, and don’t have to worry about all the preservatives that are in prepared foods. Plus it’s usually cheaper.

Cameron’s Peanut-Butter Power Pucks

6 Jun

The power bar...and it's creator

So Cameron’s been wanting to try making our own homemade protein bars instead of buying Clif Bars.  Saturday, we experimented and came up with what he likes to call “Peanut-Butter Power Pucks”. Don’t let the tongue twister name scare you, they’re super easy to make! They’re perfect for a meal replacement, hiking bar, or pre/post workout bar.

Peanut-Butter Power Pucks

  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 2 1/4 c. natural unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 c. roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1 c. honey
  • 2 Tbs. flax seed meal

Butter a baking sheet and spread the rolled oats onto it, drizzle about 1Tbs. honey over oats and place them into a oven at 325 and let them bake (stirring frequently) until toasted brown.  After toasting, pulse the oats and the sunflower seeds in a food processor until medium pulverized.  (If you like, you can leave a portion of the oats and seeds un-chopped for texture)

Mix all ingredients together.

Form mixture into approximately 1/4 cup servings.

Wrap each serving tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate or freeze.

Yeilds about 18 Pucks

Placing the oats in the oven

Pulverizing the oatmeal

Mixing the ingredients

Wrapping them up in aluminum foil.

Comparing them to Clif Bars, our is the one to the right, the left one is a Clif Bar.

And now, a word from Cameron:


Before we started on the Peanut-butter Power Pucks, we had 4 criteria we wanted to meet:

  1. Each Power Puck should have roughly the same caloric content of a Clif Bar.
  2. Only all-natural, healthy ingredients can be used
  3. Less expensive to produce than it is to purchase a Clif Bar
  4. Easy and rapid production process

I feel satisfied that we met these criteria and we did so in these ways:

Each Power Puck should have roughly the same caloric content of a Clif Bar.

Cliff bars contain (depending on the flavor) between 240 and 270 calories.  Seeing as our house is not currently equipped with a state-of-the-art calorimeter and a team of lab technicians, we just estimated the calorie content per serving based on the calories contained in the ingredients:

            Each Power Puck contains (roughly):

2 TB Unsweetened Peanut Butter   200(click to see calorie data)
1 TB Roasted Sunflower Seeds 52
¾ TB Honey
¾ TB Chopped Raisins 10
2 TB Rolled oats, Toasted 20
Total Calories: (aprox)


We made each Power Puck roughly ¼ cup in size. If you wanted them to be less calories, just make the portions smaller. 

Only all-natural, healthy ingredients can be used

A lot of granola bars or other so-called “meal replacement” bars contain preservatives that enable them to have a long shelf life, making them a perfect choice for a bomb shelter stock pile.  However, the preservatives, along with things like high-fructose corn syrup, sucralose, and soy or whey protein, work together to give them a flavor that I would describe as unpleasant. 

In our Power Pucks, we used simple, healthy ingredients, available from your local grocery store or gas station.  It contains no preservatives, so you have to freeze or refrigerate them. 

Less expensive to produce than it is to purchase a Clif Bar

This post is starting to get wordy so I wont bother you with another table detailing the cost breakdown of the ingredients.   We estimated, based on ingredient cost how much each Power Puck cost, and here is the grand total (compared with unit cost of Clif Bars):

1 Cliff Bar

1 Peanut-Butter Power Puck

$  .80 – 1.00

$  .45

Easy and rapid production process

It took Katy and I about 1 hour to make the first batch of Power Pucks, and that was with experimenting with the ingredients, trial runs, and backtracking.  I’m sure the next batch will take about 15 – 20 minutes total.

The only baking involved is the toasting of the rolled oats.  If you had some home-made granola standing by you could substitute that for the oats and eliminate all baking from the process. 

In conclusion, we had a lot of fun making these Power Pucks and I look forward to eating them. 

Energy Bar Recipe Coming This Week!

4 Jun

Energy Bar

I’m super excited about a post coming this week! My husband had the idea of making a homemade energy bar! So we tried it today and it was successful! I’ll share the recipe and bunches of pictures this week! They’re similar to Cliff Bars in that they’re not really granola bars, they’re more dense. But they don’t have any sugar, just honey and are packed with fiber, protein and iron! Perfect as a quick meal replacement or pre/post workout bar!

Frugal Fitness #2: Running a 5k

27 Mar

So this weekend my husband and I ran our very first 5k! We’ve tried to get into the habit of running off and on, but when we had a race to prepare for it really helped us run more regularly and try to run faster. My husband is already signed up for another one.

What is frugal about this though? Most 5ks, 10ks, 1/2 marathons and marathons you need to pay for. Well that’s what drew me to this one! It was called “Blood-gusher”, cool name, huh? Anyways it was for United Blood Service and if you donated blood then your 5k fee was waived! So I donated blood for the first time a couple weeks ago….I’m embarrassed to say it but after they were all done taking my blood (I felt great during the process), my body decided to faint…yeah it was pretty humiliating…but hey I didn’t have to pay $20 to run!

Anyways…not all races are going to have ways to get by without paying, but if you feel it’s worth the money it really does help push you further. And usually the money goes to a good cause anyways. My husband is training to do a couple more 5ks then move up to a 10k, 1/2 marathon and maybe even a full marathon.

And remember going outside for a run is FREE! =)

One of the Best Places for a Tightwad is….

22 Mar

Gracia LOVES going to the library, and she likes reading the books when we get home!

The library!!!

When we think of the library we think of books, but that’s not all that’s at this marvelous place!

  • Save money by borrowing books instead of buying them
  • Save money by borrowing DVDs, instead of renting
  • Save money by learning things from the books and DVDs (like researching how to do home repairs, sew, cooking from scratch, etc…)
  • Save money by taking your kids to story time, a free activity (I still haven’t taken Gracia, it just never is on the day I want to go to the library!)
  • If you really want to save, cancel your internet and use the library’s (libraries policies on the internet may vary)
  • Cancel your magazine subscriptions and get those from the library too (I don’t know about all libraries, but the one in the town we used to live in would only let you take last months and older home. Also, the library here has magazines people have donated you can take for free or make a donation)
  • Cancel your gym membership and borrow some exercise DVDs (here’s more free exercise ideas)

I know not all libraries are the same, but the one here is magnificent! I love it so much! Anyways, if there’s a book you want that they don’t have, ask about it, they may get it for you.

Frugal Fitness #1: Free Exercise

21 Mar

One of my pet peeves is when people say they don’t have enough money to be healthy. I don’t deny that eating all organic or the optimal diet may be expensive, but eating a balanced diet and moderate exercise  doesn’t have to break the bank. So I’m starting a series of posts called “Frugal Fitness.” I want to talk about both exercise and eating healthy. I’m not a nutritionist or fitness expert or anything, so I’ll mostly just be sharing what we do.

Now it’s time to do some brainstorming, and yes, if you feel the urge, feel free to sing the Imagination Mover’s song…

Let’s think of some free exercises:

Get outside and get moving!

  • Walking (you can even save money with this, by walking somewhere instead of driving)
  • Running/Jogging (this can actually be a money maker, my last run I found 2 quarters and 4 pennies on the road!)
  • Just move! you don’t need anything fancy to do crunches, jumping jacks or push ups.
  • Be creative and use things around the house, like some canned veggies as light weights. One time my husband used a low tree branch to do pull-ups.
  • Go to a park! Lots of parks have walking paths and some even have exercise equipment.
  • And if you already have equipment use it!

Can you think of any other free exercises?

Frugal Tip: If you really do want to buy some equipment try looking for something used. It’ll be a lot cheaper. My husband bought a weight bench on Craig’s list, I can’t remember how much it cost, but it was a lot less than buying one new, and it works just as good as a new one.

Healthier Banana Bread

3 Mar

Nothing like a muffin that's still warm!

So I want to try to post every weekday, but today all I could think of to post were things that I wanted to spend some time on and I’ve got other things I need to do this morning (like make muffins), so I decided to post about that! I made a couple changes in the recipe (check out my post “My Mom’s Moist Banana Bread”).

I felt bad this morning as Cameron was having some trouble with his scooter and didn’t get a chance to eat his oatmeal, and as I waved good-bye, feeling like a terrible wife for sending him away hungry, I thought, “If only I had already made muffins, I could send a couple with him.”

That’s the joy of muffins, they’re a quick breakfast. Just make a big batch and for the next few days (or maybe just a day or two, depending on how many are in your house) you have an instant breakfast, dessert or snack.

Muffins are kind of viewed as being healthy, but the truth is they can be filled with a bunch of sugar and white flour. So here I made a couple of small changes to make them a little better for you.

  • I put in 1 1/4 cups of sugar instead of 1 1/2
  • Instead of 1/2 cup of oil I put in 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce. The applesauce has no fat and adds a little fiber. Also, since I cut back on sugar the applesauce can add a little natural sweetness.
  • I had some ground flax seed, which has fiber, calcium, iron and omega-3 fats. So I sprinkled a little in my measuring cup before filling it the rest of the way with flour. (Does anyone know if vitamins can be cooked out? Maybe that’s a stupid question, but will all that goodness still be there after baking?)
  • And since these are BANANA muffins, that adds some natural sweetness from a healthy fruit!

Frugal Tip: After scraping the batter out of the bowl with a measuring cup, I used my rubber spatula and was able to get 2 more muffins out of the batter bringing the total number of muffins up to 22!

  • The flaxseed, before I added the flour