Dieting on a Budget: How to Lose Weight & Save Money

Smart diet choices can stretch your diet further 
One misconception about eating healthily is that it will cost you a pretty penny. But with a little thought, you can keep both your weight and your bank account in great shape. In fact, usually you will eat less food when you’re dieting, so there’s no reason for your grocery bills to rise at all!
Let’s face it, the average person eats far more food than is necessary. By consuming smaller portions you can save money, nourish your body, keep you satisfied, and importantly keep your body svelte.
It’s also about making the right food choices to stretch your dollar. A good diet is more about quality, not quantity.

Meat - the most expensive part of your diet?

We all need protein (it’s vital for the repair and maintenance of the cells in our bodies) and we get our daily fix from foods like meat, fish and dairy products. However, most of us are eating far more protein than our bodies actually need.
Proteins are also one of the most expensive parts of your diet, and those expensive cuts of meat will quickly empty your wallet. However, that’s not the only reason to cut back. Eating meat too often can also contribute to heart disease and weight gain. Cutting back on proteins will keep more money on your pocket, and keep you in better shape too.

Some recession-proof replacements for meat...

Beans are very economical source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are very versatile - you can use them in soups, stews, salads, and dips. Combine beans with brown rice for a filling source of heart-healthy complete protein. If this doesn’t sound exciting, try experimenting with different spices to really add some flavour. Black pepper, tumeric, ginger, and chillis not only pep up your bean dishes but also raise your metabolism.
If you’re used to buying expensive fresh fish, here are a few healthy, low-fat alternatives that won’t break the bank.
  • Tuna packed in water
  • Tinned Sardines
  • Canned Pink Salmon
All are great sources of Omega 3, fatty acids which help control appetite and reduce fat storage.
Eggs and dairy
Eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, and low fat milk make good protein sources and are also a great place to get your calcium. Studies have shown an increased consumption of calcium has an increased effect of fat burning.
And for when you really want some meat...
For those carnivore moments, low fat ground beef and frozen chicken breasts are much more affordable than buying from your butcher. Another good diet food is turkey. You can cook an entire turkey and use it for soups, salads and sandwiches. It will last for days if you cut it into smaller portions and freeze in zip-lock bags.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables

You can always find reasonably priced fruit staples at the supermarket such as banana, apples and oranges. But an even better idea is to go to your local farmers market.
Farmers markets are full of seasonal fruits and vegetables that are grown locally. When you buy a tomato you’re not paying for it to be flown halfway around the world, and it’s probably fresher too. Foods that are in season are always cheapest.
Freezing the seasonal produce that you buy in your farmers market is a great way to save money too. For example, you can use frozen vegetables for soups, quiches, casseroles or just as a side dish.
Personally I love blueberries, so when it’s blueberry season I stock up on 50 pounds at just $1 per pound. I freeze them and make smoothies and low fat muffins for the next 12 months! (On a separate note, blueberries contain a powerful antioxidant named Anthocyanin that promotes weight loss and reduces food cravings.)

Getting value from your grains

It might be a little more expensive, but the extra goodness you get from multi-grain bread is well worth the extra money. White bread will spike your sugar levels and can make you feel hungry later, whereas multi-grain releases its energy more slowly.
A humble bowl of oatmeal with banana or berries will give you loads of energy to start your day. You can save even more money by buying your oatmeal in the bulk foods section. Brown rice is another food you can buy in large quantities - its highly nutritious, filling and packed with vitamins, mineral and fiber.

Don’t drink away your financial health

Water is not only the ultimate economical thirst-quencher... it’s also a super fat burner. Drink water whenever you can instead of pricey (and fattening) alternatives like soda, sugary drinks, juice and alcohol.
Here’s a great tip for weight loss on a budget. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants, curbs your appetite, and actually increases your body’s metabolism of fat. Ever better - it costs virtually nothing and it won’t pick you up and dump you like your usual morning coffee.

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