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Are you among the 45 million Americans looking to lose some weight? If so, you’re probably wondering how to do so without breaking the bank.
Dieting on a budget doesn’t have to be hard. Keep reading for great tips on how to eat healthily, reduce food and money waste, and lose weight at the same time.
1. Meal Plan
Planning your meals will help you stick to a grocery budget. You will only buy the ingredients you need for the meals you will be cooking for that week (or the next couple weeks if that’s your thing). No more grazing down the aisles buying whatever your heart desires. No more letting food go to waste.
Instead, when you have a meal plan and grocery list, you enter the store with a mission. Stick to the list and only the list and you’ll save so much money. Plus, you won’t buy snacks and desserts that will hurt your goals.
Plan everything from breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner. Plan for healthy snack alternatives.
Plan your meals based on what’s on sale, what in season, and the ingredients. To save the most, use the same ingredients for different meals. If you want to have stuffed bell peppers on Monday, for example, cook something that also has peppers on Wednesday such as a stir-fry.
2. Meal Prep
Meal prepping is a great way to make sure you use up the food you’ve bought. Less food waste always means less money down the drain for you.
Meal prepping also keeps you from turning to fast food or quick/easy meals after a long day of work or childcare. When your meals are already prepped and ready to eat, you don’t have to worry about cooking and you can rest assured that you’re eating healthy.
The healthiest of food bloggers meal prep everything from breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner. Take your meals to work, school, etc. in a lunch box.
Choose one day a week to prepare everything. Typically, Sunday is a good day to prepare for the week ahead.
Meal prepping is also a great way to ensure you’re eating enough. One of the worst things you can do when trying to lose weight is to eat too little. With meal prepping, you’ll meals and calories are pre-portioned and you have enough food to keep you full throughout the day (no more turning to processed snacks).
3. Eat Leftovers
If meal prepping isn’t your thing, then you can make a meal in bulk and then simply eat the leftovers throughout the week. This keeps you away from quick and convenient foods when you don’t feel like cooking. Plus, it keeps you from spending on foods throughout the week, too.
Eating leftovers is key to dieting on a budget. You waste less food and less money and you can know the pre-cooked food is healthy.
4. Shop the Sales
This is one of the harder things to do when dieting on a budget. It takes time and research. However, once you’ve had practice, you’ll get a system that will make this process quick. You’ll even start to know what types of foods will be on sale when (and where).
Look at paper or digital weekly ads, download your local grocery store apps on your phone, and plan your meals based on what is on sale.
If whole chicken is on sale this week, then opt for that over beef for example. Be sure to base your healthy snacks on sales, too.
5. Shop at Discount Stores
Stoes like ALDI, Save-a-lot, and local markets will have some of the best deals on healthy food items. You may have to give up convenience if discount stores are further away, but the money you will save will be worth it.
Stores like ALDI offer organic, clean, and whole foods at crazy low prices. Because they don’t use bags or cart-catcher employees, they can maintain low prices and a green system. Be sure to bring your own bags and a quarter for your cart (which you’ll get back when you’ve finished shopping)!
6. Shop at the Flea or Farmers Markets
Sometimes local farmers’ markets can be higher than the grocery store. However, sometimes you can find exceptional deals and bargain with the sellers.
This is especially true if your local flea market has a farmers market. You can find great prices on produce of all kinds.
Look for items that are in season to get the best deals.
7. Use Coupons
Couponing is another dieting on a budget tip that can take some time and dedication. However, if you truly want to save dough and lose weight, it’s worth it.
Look for coupons online, in the grocery store apps, in the mailers, and on your receipts. For example, you can find great discounts on Nutrisystem at MightyDiets.com.
Keep your coupons in a specific place in your purse, wallet, or phone where you’ll remember to use them.
8. Shop in Season
Do some research on seasonal produce in your area. When planning your meals and shopping, consider which fruits and vegetables are in season and grown locally. They will be cheaper than others.
For example, berries and melons in most of the U.S. are ripe and harvested in the summer. Apples and squash, however, are fall fruits.
9. Freeze or Buy Frozen
If you’ve bought in bulk and cannot use all of the items before they spoil, then freeze them in freezer bags. Meat, vegetables, fruits, and bread can all be kept well in the freezer.
Another option is to buy frozen items from the start. Frozen vegetable and fruit options are often around the same price as fresh produce. Meat can be cheaper if bought frozen.
10. Buy it Whole
Whole foods actually will cost less than foods that are already cut up, chopped, and bagged. For example, bagged lettuce can cost you two times the amount of whole lettuce.
So, purchase your fruits and vegetables whole and fresh as much as you can. You can always freeze them if you don’t use them up.
Never buy canned produce, as these often have preservatives and exposure to harmful metals or plastics.
Foods in high in fiber slow down the digestive process and keep you full longer. Try to include fibrous foods in your meals or snacks.
High-fiber options include nuts, seeds, leafy greens, avocado, quinoa, and legumes.
See, Dieting on a Budget is Easy!
With these tips, you’ll be dieting on a budget and happy with your results in no time.
For more tips like these, check out all our health and fitness blogs.