A Fat Man's Weight Loss Advice: Lose Weight Save Money
Eating Healthy On A Budget
I have been on a healthy diet and workout regimen since January 2nd, 2012. Following my own advice in my hub A Fat Man's Weight Loss Advice I have lost 50 pounds. I eat six times a day and my food is awesome. I rarely feel hungry and I only spend $30 - $40 a week on food. I'm not trying to brag or make myself out to be some kind of expert, but I do want you to know where I'm coming from in this article. I've heard people say over and over that one of the hardest problems they face is that healthy food cost too much money. I agree. Trying to lose weight is hard enough with out the extra expense and time spent preparing food. I have slowly developed my own personal process to help make this difficult aspect of weight loss easier. I wish to share these tips to help others achieve their goals without breaking the bank. My ideas might not work for everyone but they have worked well for me and few friends that have applied the same techniques.
Meal planning is likely the most important aspect of my diet plan. Without a solid plan and preparedness, I personally am doomed to failure out the gate. I like to keep a list of all my potential meals and where they fit in during the day. This allows me to choose different items on regular basis, so that I don't have to get bored with the same foods over and over. It also allows me to figure out what each of the different food items cost me, so that my entire meal plan can be balanced out with consideration to the overall price. Some items cost more than others, so when I make my plan I won't overload on the more expensive items.
Days off aren't a big deal because I usually have the time to make my food whenever. Prior to my work week beginning I will figure out what I want to eat, make a shopping list, go grocery shopping, and prepare all of my food at one time. This allows me to haul everything in to work at once and not have to worry about it for the rest of the week. This preparation always me to get a solid idea of about how much money I'm going to spending on food for the entire week without having to worry about surprise spending.
Now I will eat the same thing each day, but each of the 6 meals are usually something different so I don't find myself getting bored of the same food as there are always 6 different meals in the way of repeating the same one again.
Saving Money At The Grocery Store
These days I hear all about buying in bulk. I do not buy in bulk. Maybe this works for some people, but I am not one of them. I buy only what I need for the week and that is it.
Don't buy treats... I know there are a ton of supposedly tasty and healthy snacks but they usually amount to extra money and while they might not be bad, they probably don't add enough nutritional value to actually waster your time on. Besides doesn't eating junk food (even its not as unhealthy as regular) teeter on cheating on your diet plan anyway?
Don't be scared to think outside of the box. I use low fat ground turkey in almost everything. Its usually cost about half the price of ground beef, its better for you, and despite what everyone says, in most dishes you can't tell the difference. I will put low fat ground turkey meat in everything from spaghetti, sloppy joes, burritos, and tacos. There are a lot of people that say they don't like ground turkey, but most of the people I've met that say that have unknowingly ate something I cooked with ground turkey and never knew the difference until I told them. All I'm saying is give it a shot. If your scared then mix it half turkey and half beef. No one will ever know if its in any kind of dark sauce
Avoid TV dinners – There are a lot of healthy options in the frozen section and while they are usually only a few bucks a piece that adds up fast. I like to keep 2 or 3 in the freezer for the occasional situation where life has dictated that I don't have time to prepare a meal or I'm running late. I don't buy them as part of my regular meal planning though.
Avoid steamer veggie bags. They seem really simple and only cost a little more. It adds up fast believe me. I learned the hard way. You can heat up the other frozen veggies just as fast anyway. I'm not saying I never would buy steamer bags, but I certainly prefer a cheaper option when I can.
Take the meals you would normally cook and experiment with how to make them healthier without sacrificing taste and price. A good example for me is spaghetti. Normal spaghetti I make consists of.... sauce $5, Noodles $2, 2 lbs. Lean ground beef $8; making a total of around $15. The first thing I experimented with was whole wheat noodles, which are about the same price as normal noodles. Similar to the ground turkey, lots of people will say they don't like whole wheat noodles. They taste exactly the same. Most of them are darker brown and that is the only difference I can see. The next thing I tried was using ground turkey instead of beef. Being half the price of beef I can get two pounds for half the price. Again, I can't tell a difference though many people will claim they don't like it. The next change I made is I found a canned sauce that tastes very similar to my normal sauce but half the sugar at half the price. My total for making spaghetti works out to be... sauce $2, Whole wheat noodles $2, 2lbs. Lean ground turkey $4; making my total $8. $8 for healthy spaghetti that will last me for 3 or 4 days. I've managed to work out little things like this for most of the healthy meals I make, and everyone that tries them loves them.
Try to find ways to make things with healthy ingredients that are cheaper. For example in my diet my last meal of the day I cut the carbs and fat down to next to nothing. One of my favorite things to make is scrambled egg whites with fat free American cheese. Now I know that probably doesn't sound good, but you might be surprised how delicious that can actually be. Another late night idea I thought up (which I've come to learn I wasn't the first to think of), is to make tuna as if I was making a sanwhich (Light Miracle Whip of course), but instead of putting it in bread I'll put it in boiled egg whites. It is similar to eating a deviled egg, and it is delicious.