Q&A: How to Keep Your Budget, Kids and Schedule Balanced on a Healthy Diet

Keep Your Budget, Kids and Tight Schedule Happy With These TipsShaka Bowl, a Hoboken-based acai and poke bowl eatery offers something healthful and satisfying no matter what your dietary style. It was founded by sisters Kiersten and Krista Gormeley. Chef Kiersten, a vegetarian, uses high-quality, natural ingredients on the menu. The sisters have plenty of tips for eating gluten free on the go while staying healthy. They answered your questions on managing a budget, a busy schedule and a family! 

 

What are your tips for eating healthy on the go?

Krista Gormeley: Our go-to tip for eating healthy on the go is to be prepared. We keep our pantries, cars, backpacks, purses stocked with wholesome snacks. For example, we usually keep raw almonds or cashews with us at all times. While cashews in excess are high in fat and calories, a small 2 oz serving of nuts can provide a good boost in energy and provide you with enough energy until your next meal. 

We always make sure we have the staples in at our homes: nuts, apples, bananas, blueberries, cheese sticks, crackers, and either a hummus of a tzatziki spread. The best tip to follow: if you pack a variety of different snacks and do not stick to the same thing every day, you’re more than likely to keep on track and eat what you packed then if you were to stop at a convenience store and pick something up.

Invest in a set of glass food storage containers in different sizes, making it convenient to portion control. Glass also holds the quality of the food over a longer period of time. Aim to eat every 3 hours— that allows for three meals and two snacks. Before I leave for work, I always pack a 2 oz cup of nuts, a cheese stick, blueberries or an apple. Those help me keep full in between my main meals which usually are a smoothie, a salad loaded with plant protein {almonds, hemp seeds, etc.}, and for dinner a protein, grain and vegetables. 

How do you manage a budget while buying gluten-free and healthy food? 

KG: Truthfully, most foods that are wholesome and in their purest form are naturally gluten free. Luckily, in 2019 there is a gluten-free option for nearly everything, and in almost every single grocery store there is a section dedicated to it. While it can cost you an extra few cents or dollar depending, gluten free won’t run you as much money as organic.

The most important thing to remember when budgeting snacks— they are just that, snacks. You should focus your budgeting on the things that matter more, like vegetables and proteins. Farmers markets are a great place to start for produce. If you’re overpaying for produce that isn’t really the best quality, you should reevaluate where you’re buying your produce. Local groceries or farmers markets have cheap produce and better quality because they know it needs to be sold— they cannot afford for it to sit in a warehouse and be loaded to the shelves. It’s also not loaded up with chemicals and preservatives. Keeping staple items to make homemade salad dressings is a major money saver, especially if you love salad.

My next best money saving tip is planning ahead: we have freezers for a reason. If something is on sale and you can’t use it this week but anticipate you can use it next week, buy it and freeze it!

Here’s our list of items to make your own dressings that can save you a ton of money in the long run as these natural ingredients store well over a long period of time prior to mixing.

  • lemon juice
  • red wine vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • garlic

What do you keep in your kitchen to make quick food prep a breeze?

KG: A few things I keep in my pantry are low sodium tuna salad, brown rice, frozen and fresh vegetables, garlic, ginger, baby tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber and feta to make a salad. Lately, since Kiersten and I both barely eat meat, we load on things like shaved almonds and hemp hearts, chickpeas and other things to mix our salads up.

How can I help my busy kids eat healthy?

KG: There are a ton of snacks that are natural and delicious. Starting your kids on sugar-loaded juices isn’t the best idea if you want them to choose a healthier lifestyle. You can make smoothies a fun thing to do at home. Having them help you prepare the smoothie is a nice activity you can all do together.

There are also a ton of natural rice cakes that are gluten free, preservative free and organic.  We love Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thin crackers; they go great with almost everything. We love Suzzie’s thin puffed cakes which only have 57 calories for 3 cakes! We cannot forget the best snack of all, low in calories and always such a treat: popcorn. 

Keep things simple and always be honest with your kids. The bad things really are bad if they aren’t eaten in moderation. They should be taught from the start: we can have this today, but we cannot have it every day. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

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