Eating a more balanced diet, doing more exercise, and generally leading a healthier lifestyle is a goal that many people strive for, but it can also be expensive if you don’t do it right. There are many, many diet plans out there, and not all of them are accessible if you have limited funds or if you don’t want to spend lots on your weekly food shop.
Some diet plans even involve weekly meetings that have to be paid for, and if you go for months, this number can really add up. You want to find a way to eat better and lose weight without having to go out of your way to spend more. After all, you want to do this to adopt healthier eating habits, not develop worse spending habits.
Here are some of the best ways to lose weight when you are on a budget.
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1. Make Enough for Leftovers
When you make a healthy meal full of vegetables and other great nutrients, you should make the most of it.
If you can, make the meal spread further by saving any leftovers and freezing them. You can have them for your lunch the next day at work, or you can keep them for another evening meal. Both your food and your money will stretch further, and you’ll be eating healthier more often.
Plus, you’ll save time on making the meal again. Preparing and cooking meals can take a long time and a lot of effort, especially if you have a busy work and family life. If you already have the leftovers on hand, you can eat conveniently and healthily. It’s the best of both worlds.
2. Buy Frozen, Not Fresh
You may be under the impression that fresh fruit and vegetables are more healthy and contain more nutrients than frozen ones, but this isn’t true. Frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen when they are at their peak of freshness in order to pack in all their goodness and nutrients and to preserve them for longer. Frozen options are usually much cheaper than fresh alternatives, and they are just as good for you.
Frozen fruits are fantastic for making smoothies. You can make a whole batch of smoothies that will last your family a while by keeping them in the freezer, all at a fraction of the cost that it would have been if you have bought the fruit fresh.
3. Try a Plant-Based Diet
Vegetarian and vegan diets are typically more healthy than a diet that includes meat and other animal products, and they are also cheaper to maintain.
Some red and processed meat contain a high concentration of saturated fats, which can cause your cholesterol and blood pressure to rise, and can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. By cutting meat out of your diet, you significantly reduce your risk of these health problems, and your shopping list will be much cheaper.
On the whole, vegetable-based meals are cheaper to buy and contain more vitamins and minerals than ones with meat. You could even go the extra mile and start growing your own vegetables in the garden to cut your costs even further. With your own supply of garden vegetables, you’ll be able to eat more healthily and have access to the best greens in town.
4. Cut Down on Waste
Many families end up spending more money on food than they need to because they overbuy, and a good portion of food goes to waste instead of being eaten.
Plan out your meals, when you are going to have them and what ingredients you will need. When you plan exactly what you need on your shopping list, down to the exact number, you will only buy what you need, and you will reduce your waste.
5. Try Meal Replacement Shakes
Buying lots of different ingredients for healthy meals is time-consuming and expensive. If you often feel exhausted and resort to convenience meals rather than healthier meals because of this, you may want to try meal replacement shakes from Shake That Weight for your weight loss.
Meal replacement shakes are much more convenient than other diet plans because they are quick and easy to make and can even be taken on the go when you need to resist a snack; add milk or water to the powder, and you’re ready to go.
Shakes are also great for managing your calorie intake and portion sizes. Each shake has a set number of calories so you can easily count how many you consume within a day, instead of trying to figure out how many are in all of the different ingredients of a meal.
When you are just getting started towards a healthier diet, it can be difficult to know what nutrients you need and what meals are best. Meal replacement shakes remove all this difficulty for you because they already have been fortified with all the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that you need to lose weight and stay healthy. Plus, some plans even include an evening meal so you can slowly introduce yourself to new, healthier recipes instead of diving right in and perhaps getting in over your head.
6. Reduce Portion Sizes
Many people find that they are eating healthily, but they can’t lose weight no matter how hard they try, and this is all because of portion sizes. You could be eating healthier than you ever have before, but if your portion sizes are too large and, therefore, your calorie intake is still bigger than what you burn, you won’t be able to shift the weight no matter how hard you try.
Research the optimal portion sizes for certain food groups. You can eat more vegetables than you can of foods that have higher fat, but you still shouldn’t eat too large portions of vegetable-based meals because this will increase your calorie intake.
Managing a healthy diet isn’t just about the food you eat; it is also about how much of it that you eat. Realistically, you can still enjoy your favorite treats, so long as you enjoy them in moderation and eat more healthy foods than you do ones loaded with sugar, fat, and carbs.
7. Try the DASH Diet
Another affordable diet you can try is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which has been specifically curated to reduce and prevent high blood pressure, which is associated with higher body weights as well. This diet focuses on prioritizing meals with whole grains, dairy, and vegetables. If you follow the previous tips of buying frozen and saving enough for leftovers, this diet can be very affordable and inexpensive.
The DASH diet also involves cutting back on certain foods, like those that are high in sodium, calories, and those with refined carbohydrates. These foods are not only bad for cardiovascular health, but they are also more expensive. Foods to avoid on this diet include:
- Table salt
- Salad dressings
- Cured meats
- Instant soup
- Processed cheese
Choose foods that are low in sodium instead, such as oats, Greek yogurts, and other whole, unprocessed foods.
The DASH diet itself is not intended to be a weight loss program, but developing better eating habits and choosing foods with better nutrients will inevitably help you to lose any extra weight and will lead you towards a better and healthier lifestyle in general, all at an affordable price.
8. Adopt the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is known to be one of the healthiest in the world, and it’s easy to see why. With this diet, your meals will consist mainly of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and even olive oil. All these types of foods are known to have fewer calories than other food groups (and it’s best to buy unprocessed for the best results), but to truly see evidence of weight loss, this diet has to be combined with cut calories and enough exercise.
Get your portions right with meals that are packed with veggies and a tasty, healthy dose of fish, and your daily 30 minutes of activity, and you will soon see the weight fall off.
To make this diet even more affordable, you should research healthy, cheap recipes that focus on these key ingredients. By planning out your recipes, you can save time and money. Here are some delicious meals that you could take a look into and incorporate into your brand-new diet:
- Chicken and quinoa salad
- Courgette and quinoa-stuffed peppers
- Pancetta-wrapped fish with potatoes
- Mussels with chili and tomatoes
- Feta salad with pomegranate dressing
The key to losing weight is sticking to a plan. Don’t completely deprive yourself of treats that make life worth it; just make sure you remember to eat them in moderation. All of these options have the flexibility to be adapted to how it suits you and to what food you personally like. With a dose of planning, research and a whole lot of vegetables, you can be on your way to a healthier life.