Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • October 2018
Written by 

Making healthy eating simple and affordable

Dinner time can be stressful at times. After a long day of work or activities, you get home and everyone is hungry. You want to make your family a healthy dinner, but it can be overwhelming. Cooking healthy feels time consuming and expensive, often times leading people to give in to making boxed dinners or eating out. Rest assured, it doesn’t have to feel this way! It will take a little bit of work to get started; but it will be well worth the effort spent up front for the time and money you will save throughout the week, and all the health benefits you will gain.

1. Meal plan, food prep and stick to it!

Skipping this step is the number one reason people fall off track right away. Set aside time to plan what you are going to eat for the upcoming week. Think about breakfast, lunch, dinner and don’t forget snacks. Find recipes your family will enjoy and read the recipes thoroughly to be sure you have everything you will need. What do you already have in your pantry that you can put together? What needs to get used up in the fridge? Do you have a busy night where you need dinner to be ready when you get home? Use different themes to plan out meals. Try using your leftovers to plan out the next day’s lunch or dinner. Try to get different types of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates and fruits and make your meal plans around them.

2. Cook at home.

Once you have done your grocery shopping and planning for the week, this should be easy and stress free. Before going to bed the night before, take a look at what’s on the menu for the next day and prep what you are able to. Chop your veggies, thaw and/or pre-slice your meat, and even pack your lunches ahead of time. Each time you make a meal at home can be a cost savings up to 60 percent!

3. Shop the sales and the seasons.

Check ads to find out when stores have sales on meat, seafood and proteins, and stock up. Freeze larger purchased proteins in smaller packages so they are ready to go for fast thawing and using. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are more affordable, so do a little research ahead of time and plan meals around what is on sale and in season.

A common misconception about healthful eating is that it is costly. However, healthy foods are more nutrient dense than some of the prepackaged foods, so you actually eat less, which is better for your body and your wallet. These simple steps will help you and your family eat better and feel better. Plus, the time you spend at the beginning of the week means more time for yourself and for your family throughout the week.

Below is an easy recipe from to help get you started! 

Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken Skillet

Yield: 4. Total time: 35 minutes. Preptime: 15 minutes. Cook time: 25 minutes.

This Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken Skillet recipe is a delicious, healthy, and easy-to-make meal that will be on your dinner table in less than 30 minutes. This is gluten-free, paleo, and perfect for your busy weeknight dinner.


1 pound boneless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and ground fresh black pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

½ cup chicken broth or water

½ pound (225 grams) fresh asparagus (the spears should be cut at a diagonal in 1 and 2 inch pieces)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper


On a plastic board, cut the chicken into small pieces and season with salt and pepper. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, and chicken. Sauté the chicken for about 7-10 minutes or until it is cooked through. Don’t forget to stir well. Set chicken aside.

In the same skillet, add sweet potato and chicken broth. Cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked. Add asparagus and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

Nutrition information

Serving size: ¼. Amount per serving — Calories: 233. Total fat: 7g. Cholesterol: 99.3 mg. Carbohydrates: 9.1g. Sugar: 2.3g. Protein: 32g.

Kirsten Rice

Kirsten Rice is the Health and Fitness Director at the Fox West YMCA. She earned her degree in Kinesiology from Michigan State University with an emphasis in Health Promotion Specialization. She is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has been practicing in the field for 10 years and enjoys helping people find the right avenue to achieve their health and wellness goals. Contact Kirsten at [email protected] or 920-560-3413.


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