Losing Weight on a budget

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How does a mother with a family start when trying to lose weight on a budget?
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  • WBB55
    WBB55 Posts: 4,131 Member
    edited September 2015
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    This is one of my favorite topics!

    (1) I think some people see the price of fruit and vegetables and think to themselves "boxes of mac-n-cheese are so much cheaper, but so much worse for me!" But the trick for this is to buy in season and also find the things that are usually good bargains (at least in your location)

    (2) Planning menus and making things ahead always saves money over convenience foods

    (3) You don't have to buy "diet" foods. You can just eat what you eat now, but less of it! Track your calories using the app. If anything, buy a $15 digital food scale at Walmart and keep eating what you're eating right now, if it's things that work in your budget.

    If it helps, here's a list of food that I made for myself of food that's always cheap versus its nutritional benefit to me. Your experience may vary. Sorry for the long list.

    Seeds
    Nuts
    Banana
    Rice
    Lentil
    Barley
    Dry beans
    Split peas
    Potato
    Turkey, ground frozen
    Milk, whole
    Butter
    Olive oil
    Canola oil
    Wheat germ
    Oats
    Tomato paste
    Frozen corn
    Frozen peas
    Onion

    Some minimally processed foods:
    Whey protein mix
    Peanut butter
    Semi-sweet morsels
    WW flour
    Rye flour
    WW pretzles
    WW crackers
    WW pasta
    Tortillas
    Bread crumbs

    Some cheap, but more highly processed foods:
    Fig bars
    Mac-n-cheese
    Toaster tarts
    Ramen noodles
    Frozen burritos
    Canned chili beans

    Supplement the above with whatever fresh greens are on sale that week. Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.
  • DianaLovesCoffee
    DianaLovesCoffee Posts: 398 Member
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    You can still lose weight eating what you have always eaten. Just eat less.

    Do you have space and time to garden? Seeds are pretty inexpensive and yield lots of produce.

    Think about what "junk food" you may buy and cut back there to add in more fresh fruit and veggies.

    Look into some meatless meals. Meat tends to be the most costly thing on my list. Bulk dry beans are sometimes a good substitute.

    Do you currently eat out or go through the drive-thru? This can be a good place to cut back and cook at home. Search for some new recipes and experiment with new spices.

    Glad to hear you are starting. You can do it!
  • RuNaRoUnDaFiEld
    RuNaRoUnDaFiEld Posts: 5,864 Member
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    Great post @WBB55 !

    And start walking as many places as possible, that way you will save on petrol or bus fares.

    Have a few vegetarian nights, vegetable casseroles are yummy, vegetable soups for lunches. It really doesn't have to cost more :)
  • Lourdesong
    Lourdesong Posts: 1,492 Member
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    You just need to create a caloric deficit to lose weight. Consuming smaller quantities of what your family currently eats will stretch your groceries farther and you'll lose weight.

    No, you do not need to eat garbage bags full of perishable produce to succeed at weight loss. Frozen veggies are pretty cheap, though, and better quality than their unfrozen brethren anyway, imho.
  • RuNaRoUnDaFiEld
    RuNaRoUnDaFiEld Posts: 5,864 Member
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    http://www.thriftylesley.com/recipes-nutrition/

    A link to the Thrifty Leslie site for you, great cheap family meals with the nutrition worked out :)
  • rockmama72
    rockmama72 Posts: 815 Member
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    There's a really good thread about this--I think it was started yesterday in the Food and Nutrition board. Lots of good advice!
  • teanahk
    teanahk Posts: 81 Member
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    There's a free cookbook called "good and cheap" that has some great ideas. You can download it free here leannebrown.com free!

    Some great ideas already posted. I occasionally make boxed Macaroni and cheese but I throw in a few cups of frozen veggies. Eggs are great too.
    Mostly though it's just really important to keep an eye on portion sizes and eat less calories than your body needs. Good luck :)
  • SueInAz
    SueInAz Posts: 6,592 Member
    edited September 2015
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    Your thinking is probably along the lines of "I need to eat healthy to lose weight. Healthy food costs more than processed food. Therefore, eating to lose weight costs more than I am spending now." This is simply not true.

    To lose weight, you simply need to eat less calories than your body burns every day. You don't need to eat differently than you are used to eating, you simply need to eat less of the same food. Eating less food = less food cost. Therefore, it's cheaper to eat to lose weight than it is to eat enough to become overweight.

    Eating more fresh food and less processed food is certainly a preferable lifestyle but it's not a requirement for weight loss. That said, there are some great posts here already about how to eat more healthfully on a budget. I hope you are able to put some of that information into practice.

  • tigerblue
    tigerblue Posts: 1,525 Member
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    When I was in my main losing phase, hubby lost his job and had to take one making 1/2 his salary. Money was very tight. It actually helped me because we couldn't eat out! Frozen veggies are your friends. Also the crock pot. Cheap cuts of meat are great in the crock pot! The only thing that really is more difficult on a budget is eating high protein, but even that can be done with planning.
  • Liftng4Lis
    Liftng4Lis Posts: 15,150 Member
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    To lose, you'll be eating what you always do, only in a caloric deficit.
  • Kristinemomof3
    Kristinemomof3 Posts: 636 Member
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    You don't need to have money to lose weight.
  • kjac1992
    kjac1992 Posts: 16 Member
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    Being poor was the best weight loss program I've ever started...

    I started walking/biking everywhere since my car broke down and I can't afford to have it fixed.
    we don't have the money to go out to eat.
    making meals stretch into leftovers and actually looking at serving sizes...it's wonderful!
  • vivmom2014
    vivmom2014 Posts: 1,647 Member
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    Do you have an Aldi nearby? Go!!
  • shadowfax_c11
    shadowfax_c11 Posts: 1,942 Member
    edited September 2015
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    Find a local farmers market. You can get great fresh local produce in bulk for a lot less than the grocery stores. Like literally a bushel of peppers for $10 or 5 pounds of tomatoes for $4. A few weeks ago I spent $3 on enough summer squash to last me (single person) several weeks. I used to buy a lot in the summer and freeze what I was not going to eat fresh. Having a chest freezer was great. I stocked that thing up all summer to offset the cost of food over the winter.

    Locally grown and in season is going to be your lowest cost for veg.

    Winter squashes are coming in season now so those will be cheap, and you can store those for up to 6 months at room temperature in a cool dry place in your house.
  • BurnWithBarn2015
    BurnWithBarn2015 Posts: 1,026 Member
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    You just eat less of what you ate before

    Its about calorie deficit ( eating less calories than you burn) Not about what you eat.

    So moderation and portion control

    Weigh all your food on a food scale and log it.
  • vivmom2014
    vivmom2014 Posts: 1,647 Member
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    Find a local farmers market. You can get great fresh local produce in bulk for a lot less than the grocery stores. Like literally a bushel of peppers for $10 or 5 pounds of tomatoes for $4. A few weeks ago I spent $3 on enough summer squash to last me (single person) several weeks. I used to buy a lot in the summer and freeze what I was not going to eat fresh. Having a chest freezer was great. I stocked that thing up all summer to offset the cost of food over the winter.

    Locally grown and in season is going to be your lowest cost for veg.

    Winter squashes are coming in season now so those will be cheap, and you can store those for up to 6 months at room temperature in a cool dry place in your house.

    I wish I lived near your farmers' market. The one nearest us (just outside of Washington, DC) sells eggs for $6/dozen and bread for $7/loaf. Vegetables are very pricey, too.

  • ashliedelgado
    ashliedelgado Posts: 814 Member
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    Meal planning. That has been my number one weapon. My family budget is approximately $400 a month, and if I plan instead of wing it, I can usually get out of the grocery store spending around $170 every 2 weeks. Frozen veggies and berries. We go through a lot of those at my house. We drink water - milk is around for the kids breakfast and some cooking. I make everything I can from scratch.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,981 Member
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    tigerblue wrote: »
    When I was in my main losing phase, hubby lost his job and had to take one making 1/2 his salary. Money was very tight. It actually helped me because we couldn't eat out! Frozen veggies are your friends. Also the crock pot. Cheap cuts of meat are great in the crock pot! The only thing that really is more difficult on a budget is eating high protein, but even that can be done with planning.

    Dried beans and lentils are extremely cheap and great in the crock pot as well. Allrecipes.com has tons of slow cooker recipes.

  • cupcakesplz
    cupcakesplz Posts: 237 Member
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    I do a menu plan and a inventory of my pantry and freezer.
    That way I don't buy things I don't need.
    Since my family has started to eat better we save money on not buying food.