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Save Cash and Calories with a Bowl of Goodness

Losing weight and saving money are two New Year's resolutions Americans return to again and again. These are abstract goals, so planning small action steps, say, signing up for a bootcamp class or having $50 from each paycheck directly transfer to savings, can help make these resolutions a reality. Another option to help you reach both of these goals? Visiting Whole Foods...Really! The natural and organic grocery is launching Bowls of Goodness, a program that teaches you how to make a easy and healthy breakfast for about $2 or a savory and satisfying lunch or dinner for about $4. Simply stock up on a few pantry items, spices and a bit of fresh produce and you'll have all you need for meals that will keep both your waistline and wallet happy. A few basics Whole Foods Market recommends keeping on-hand for quick fix recipes:

  • Whole grains: brown rice, millet, quinoa, steel-cut oats, whole-wheat pasta
  • Beans: black beans, chickpeas, lentils, white beans
  • Colorful vegetables: avocado, bell pepper, corn, kale, spinach, sweet potato, zucchini
  • Protein: bison, chicken, grass-fed beef, salmon, tofu
  • Milk or non-dairy beverage: almond, hemp, rice, soy
  • Fruit: fresh, frozen or dried
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds
  • Herbs, spices and condiments: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, honey, hot sauce, nutmeg, parsley, oregano, salsa, vanilla

Here are a couple recipes to get you started. And click here for our top 10 budget-friendly grocery items!

Pomegranates are in season now—a smart money-saving move! (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Spiced Apple Oats  Serves 3

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 to 2 apples (depending on size), diced
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Cinnamon to taste
  1. Bring the almond milk to a boil. Stir in the oats.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer about 20 minutes or until creamy and tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced apple and nutmeg.
  4. Serve topped with pomegranate seeds and a dash of cinnamon.

Tofu is an affordable protein option. (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Noodle Bowl Serves 4

  • 2 cups cooked whole-wheat pasta
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 2 cups spinach, lightly steamed
  • 1 cup zucchini roasted, or raw shredded
  • Handful of fresh Italian herbs chopped (parsley, basil, oregano or any combination)
  • Choice of grilled tofu, salmon or chicken
  •  For serving:
  • Oil-free balsamic dressing, or plain balsamic for salad, or warm tomato sauce for entrée
  • Chili flakes
  • Your favorite olives, chopped
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  1. Cook whole grain pasta according to package instructions. Divide pasta into bowls.
  2. Top with white beans, spinach and roasted zucchini and your choice of tofu, chicken or salmon, if using. Garnish with fresh herbs.
  3. Serve at the table with oil-free balsamic dressing or some of your favorite tomato sauce. Sprinkle with chili flakes and olives.

More from FITNESS:

  • Celebrity Resolutions: Health and Fitness Goals for 2012
  • How to Stick to Your Resolutions
  • Money-Saving Meals: Healthy, Low-Cost Dinner Recipes