If your goal is to be fit and lean, there’s no getting around mastering your eating habits to emphasize "clean" calories: a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein grams for a given calorie count. The best way to achieve such calories is to eat nearly all veggies, fruit and whole grains. For protein, it's best to eat lean meat, low fat dairy, legumes and/or soy.
That focus, and keeping empty calories like sugar, high fat (especially animal fats) and alcohol to an absolute minimum is the key to a flat, firm abdomen.
But it’s also good if you can keep the costs down to a reasonable level. And that’s actually not very difficult if you have some super-cheap anchor products in each food group such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, fresh fruit and frozen vegetables.
So, below is a sample menu for a day. It includes a balanced mix of some of the most affordable foods you can buy and requires minimal prep work. Depending on the volume you consume, which I’ve left vague here since body size and activity levels cause this to vary, here are my estimates for calories and protein (this menu is packed with fiber and rich with a wide array of vitamins and minerals):
Calories: 1,800-2,200; Protein: 70-120g
Breakfast: Oatmeal cooked in low-fat milk with cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins, dried cranberries and topped with mixed nuts; hard-boiled egg and V8 juice.
Midmorning snack: Smoothie made with Greek yogurt, frozen bananas and berries. Click here for the recipe.
Lunch: Pasta salad. Click here for the recipe.
Midafternoon snack: Granny Smith apple and a cheddar cheese stick or cottage cheese drizzled with honey and topped with trail mix.
Dinner: Spinach salad with grilled chicken breast or tuna, crumbled feta cheese, petite frozen (thawed) peas, sunflower seeds, tangerine slices and grape tomatoes dressed with lemon juice and balsamic vinaigrette.
If you get hungry for a late night snack, frozen blueberries or grapes are a great choice.
Want more useful information on how to eat well and get in shape? Contact Dan at http://trivalleywellness.com.