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Want to save money and eat healthier? An expert shares how.

Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive — lives plant-based cookbook author Tony Okamoto.

The She shared the recipe with CBS News Her latest book, “Plant-Based on a Budget,” showed last month that it’s possible to cook healthy meals without spending big on inflation-hit shopping staples. egg And butter. And the blogger and social media star also shared tips on how to make eating better for the cheaper part of your lifestyle.

If you want to save some money without giving up healthy food options, Okamoto recommends keeping these things in mind:

Aim for improvement, not perfection

For starters, Okamoto suggests leaning into your stance and process.

“Being on a tight budget, there’s a lot of shame in returning something at the register because you couldn’t afford it,” he said, recalling his own childhood memories of standing in the grocery checkout line as someone tapped their foot back impatiently. His family. “My dad used to say… ‘They don’t pay my bills.'”

“Remove that shame and realize that it’s a long game and you have your family (and goals) in mind,” she says, encouraging you to be okay with progressing with perfection as you begin your journey.

“Sometimes when people are trying a new diet or whether they’re trying to eat healthy and they slip up, it can be an overwhelming feeling and it can be frustrating, but the great thing is you can continue to make healthy food choices. Next meal and the next meal,” she explains. “And if you make the choice to stop eating fast food, it doesn’t mean that everything else gets thrown out the window. It just means that the next opportunity you have, you can choose a healthier, more balanced meal.”

Meal plans to save money

You’ve heard of meal planning as a way to stay on track for your nutrition goals — well, it can also help with your budgeting goals, says Okamoto.

“What people spend a lot of money on is impulse buying, whether it’s on your way home because you haven’t thought about what to serve for dinner or if you’re at the grocery store and you’re hungry (and) want something quick to eat,” He notes. She says she personally saved money through meal plans as someone who lived below the poverty line and worked multiple jobs to make ends meet.

In his book, he shows how you can meal prep for just $35 a week—”that’s three meals a day, seven days a week.”

And though it “requires some thought,” he finds it worth it.

Stick to what you know — including swaps

“When people start transitioning to a healthy diet, they think they have to reinvent the wheel, but I’ve tried to make sure there are a lot of familiar flavors and textures and foods that people can get on board (in my book).” Okamoto explained.


Pine nuts can be expensive. That’s why Tony Okamoto created a pesto recipe that allows for substitutions.

Courtesy of Tony Okamoto

For example, she points to one of her recipes that includes a pesto made with pantry items you might have on hand, instead of substituting for expensive pine nuts. “It really cuts costs and it’s something that’s known.”

Other swaps, like choosing affordable beans and peas instead of heading to the meat aisle, offer a great way to add plant-based protein and other nutrients to a meal without breaking the bank.

If you want to get more culinary creative, Okamoto says she likes to think of eating on a plant-based budget as opposed to a restrictive mindset, meaning you can use it as an opportunity to try new things.

“When I went plant-based, I thought I’d have to give up a lot of things I loved. But it turns out it’s opened me up to a whole world of new foods, different types of international cuisine, new flavors.”


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