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Diet Programs On A Budget - How To Lose Weight Without Breaking The Bank
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Diet Programs on A Budget    -    How to Lose Weight Without Breaking the Bank

Weight loss programs are great at promoting healthy lifestyles, but they never tell you how to follow their program on a budget. Most diet programs have specific foods that they want you to eat and specific meals they want you to make. If you are not already eating those foods, your first trip to the grocery store can cause severe sticker shock. How can you lose weight without breaking the bank?

First, pick a diet program with a weight loss meal plan that encourages eating natural foods. Diets rich in whole foods like lean meats, beans and lentils, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are best for eating on a budget.

Next, review the suggested meals on the plans as well as the flexibility of the diet program. Does the meal plan give you the option of moving your meals to different days of the week or different weeks in the program or is it rigid?

Flexibility is key because then you can tailor your weekly meals to specific ingredients. By keeping your meals to less ingredients each week, you can buy in bulk (see tips below), have less waste, and spend less overall.

Once you've decided on your diet program and your weekly meals, it's time to start shopping. Here are a few tips for saving money on your diet grocery bill:

Buy Generic. Buy a brand that is cheaper than your normal brand. Experimenting with generic products will give you an idea of which generic items you can buy instead of the name brand to save money. I have found that most generic items are just as good and sometimes better than their name brand counterparts. Every once in a while I am disappointed and realize that a name brand item is required. It's personal preference. Give it a try!

Bulk is Best. Become a member at a warehouse club or look for bulk item purchases at your local store (some retail and grocery stores carry bulk items to compete with the warehouse clubs). We save a lot of money by purchasing our healthy foods from our warehouse club. Milk, bread, eggs, rotisserie chicken, some baking ingredients, and fruits and vegetables are the items we buy in bulk at the warehouse club. Make sure you know the normal price of your grocery items before you go to the warehouse club. Sometimes you can get extreme discounts on your food. Other times, you will save more by buying them on sale at the grocery store. Price comparison is the key!

Read Your Circulars. Most stores have websites that include their online circulars. Use their "search" option on the website to quickly find the items you eat regularly on your diet program to find that week's best deals. Grocery stores rotate their sale items every 4 to 6 weeks, so when you find a great sale on your everyday items, buy enough to get you until the next sale. Depending on the item, consider freezing perishable items so you may buy more at the discounted prices and have it around until the next sale. This is great for meats. I also do this for peppers, onions, carrots, and celery, but chop them into the size you would use for cooking prior to freezing. I would not recommend defrosting the frozen vegetables and planning to eat them raw. This is only for quantities you would cook with. Also, base as much of your weight loss meal plan menu as you can on what’s on sale that week to save you money.

Frequent Buyer Cards and Coupons. Membership cards are FREE at your local grocery store and should be carried with you at all times. They will ensure you qualify for the very best discounts the store has that week. Look to combine your sales with coupons and you can get healthy food at EXTREME discounts.

Think Outside the Grocery Store. Retail stores and drug stores have small grocery departments with some items that are cheaper than at the local grocery store. The staples (eggs, milk, bread) are often at a reduced price to entice you through their doors. Price savings on other items vary, but shopping outside the grocery store can save you money.

I hope these tips help you to afford the food you need to achieve your goals. The first step to living a healthy lifestyle and losing weight is selecting the right diet program for you. I cannot stress that enough. If you do not choose the right program, the one you pick will end up being just another diet.

If you pick a weight loss meal plan that is very strict, you will end up binge eating the things you are depriving yourself of. You then risk feelings of guilt and negative self-image because of "cheating" on this plan.

The key is finding a healthy lifestyle that will enable you to eat well, exercise in a way that you enjoy, and still shed weight. It can be done. Slow and Steady Wins the Race!


Street Talk

The key is healthy lifestyle. I really wish the word diet would go away! Great tips AJ, as usual!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

It is true that following diet programs can be really expensive, but following a healthy lifestyle can be done in many ways. Very nice

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Very true, Maria. You've got some great ideas on your website on how to live a healthy lifestyle. I hope more people realize diet = failure, lifestyle changes is where you truly get results.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
joe witt  

great article AJ, I agree!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thanks Joe!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Rob, I give more information on other diet program options in the link attached to "living a healthy lifestyle". Your wife can read about the path I took to lose 30 pounds after hitting a weight loss plateau after my son was born. Not only did I keep off the weight, but I've lost an additional 5 pounds since Thanksgiving.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

My wife follows the Weight Watchers diets as best she can and finds she can stay within our budget. Had her read this article as well, going to get her hooked just now, may be even another author.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

I tried weight watchers about 10 years ago (okay, now I'm showing my age), and it was a good program to follow on a budget. But, I don't agree with the part where as you lose weight, your calorie intake shrinks and it gets to the point where there isn't room for a real meal in your points system. I know it's changed since I've done it, but I think this type of diet leads to a slower metabolism, not a revved up one. As a side note, I'd love to meet your wife as an author here!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

May be the weight watchers route is not the correct one for her, any suggestions of others for her to try? She looses to a certain point then gives up because of lack of progress, and of course I probably do not help wanting to remain with my normal food. Hope she starts to write, then she will get off my back about being on the computer so much during the day.

  
  about 6 years ago

I agree with many of your ideas. The Weight Watchers program is flexible. I eat a lot of inexpensive foods. One of the factors I weigh in for buying fruit is how much of that weight is fruit, and how much of it is stuff I would discard. For example, peaches and nectarines have big pits, and oranges and grapefruit have lots of pulp. Therefore, I am willing to spend more for grapefruit and oranges because I just mainly discard the skin.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Sarah, I never thought of purchasing my fruits and vegetables based on their edible quantities, but it makes sense. Thank you for sharing your tips!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Starting a diet or health and nutrition program on a budget is a very smart way to get started. Too many times people decide they are REALLY going to get those much sought after results by buying all of the expensive food and supplements to go along with their new program only to realize weeks later that their budget really can not afford all of these additional costs. This of course causes you to lose momentum in your overall progress and might cause you to discontinue your program. Starting the diet or program on a budget and staying dedicated is the way to achieve best results. Eating beans, vegetables, and whole grains is the healthiest way to maintain good health for life!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

That's so true, Jay. Picking a diet or nutrition plan that you cannot afford will lead to failure. Picking the right plan for you is essential to your success.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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