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Motivated But Poor

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Hey guys,

I've been a member here on and off for a while, but this time, I'm going to do everything within my power to stay motivated and keep going. I actually work at McDonald's, which keeps me extremely active for back to back eight hour shifts some days.

My only problem is that I am currently in a relationship that, sadly, feels like it's hitting its expiry date, and my boyfriend makes more money than I do working at McDonald's, so it's his money that buys all the food.

How do I maintain a healthy diet working making minimum wage for less than 20 hours a week? I have to eat McDonald's at least once every day that I work because by the time break comes around, I am famished and the food is free.

If anyone knows of places or brands that have good, fiber rich/low calorie foods that aren't extremely expensive and don't taste like cardboard, please let me know! I know that I can get fresh and frozen fruits and veggies at Walmart, but that's hardly a well-rounded diet.

Thanks for reading, and for any potential responses!
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Replies

  • osothefinn
    osothefinn Posts: 163 Member
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    If you have time to do food prep buy the basics. Chicken (bone-in is cheaper), rice, beans, pasta, fruits, veggies, eggs, etc, and make things from recipes. Crockpot recipes are great and provide meals for several days.
  • MJ1975CA
    MJ1975CA Posts: 31
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    Try this:
    peel and cube 1-2 sweet potatoes (approx. $2)
    dice one green bell pepper and one red bell pepper (approx. $4)
    dice one white onion (approx. $1)
    toss with garlic olive oil, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder (prices vary, but once you buy it will last a long time)
    cook on medium in skillet until sweet potato is soft and lightly golden on the outside

    serve with a fried egg or over brown rice or black beans. You can also use for tacos or enchiladas. Keeps very well in the fridge in a tight sealed container. Makes a lot of food. Freezes well uncooked too (add oil and seasoning later if you are freezing). makes a great stuffing for chicken breasts too or a steak topper :)
  • KetosisTina
    KetosisTina Posts: 197 Member
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    sure rice, beans and pasta are cheap.. heck all the restaurants use them as cheap fillers along with chips and bread. BUT, this doesn't make them healthy. Cheap carbs are what are keep us fat. Veggies, lower sugar fruits are good. Also healthy fats will keep you satiated (full). If you must eat a meal at Mickie D's go for the salads or the unbreaded chicken. True it's not as exciting as a Big Mac and fries but it's much healthier for you. Being on a tight budget is hard but dollar stores can help. Canned salmon or tuna is going to be much better for you than a burger. A spinach salmon salad brought in a lunch box is just as fast as a happy meal. I bring my lunch to work every day. It actually turns out to be cheaper than running to the cafeteria.
    True it's not free.
  • suejoker
    suejoker Posts: 317 Member
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    Beans & rice are also super cheap at Walmart! When I was really broke, I would shop for chicken and fish at Chinatown. If you have one near you, they always have the best prices on meat & fish. The chicken was only 69 cents/pound. Asian markets can also usually beat Walmart on produce prices. It won't usually be organic, but wash it well and enjoy!
  • weather_nerd
    Options
    Search your local grocery flyers every week for good deals. I know where I live, they will have whole chickens on sale for a ridiculously cheap price. I buy 4 of them and freeze them. Make one of those and you can get a couple nights worth of dinner, plus you can make a hearty chicken and vegetable soup with the leftovers.

    Some ideas off the top of my head:

    Stuffed peppers with rice and beans
    Any sort of soup or stew
    Chili (vegetarian or with meat)
    Rice paper wraps with julienned carrots, cucumber, hard boiled egg and mixed greens (or lean meat if you wish)
    White fish wrapped in tin foil with lemon and pepper, grilled in the oven
    Stir fry
    Roast with potatoes and carrots
    Broccoli chopped lengthwise and tossed with olive oil, garlic and a dash of parmesan cheese (can get pricey, wait until the cheese goes on sale)
    Snack on any kind of fruits or veggies
    Oatmeal

    Hope this helps!

    L.
  • aishmartin
    aishmartin Posts: 468 Member
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    I LOVE my crock pot! It's like having a wife :)

    You can google "cheap crock pot meals" and find a ton of stuff.

    As for rice, pasta and breads, make sure you're getting the whole grain stuff and the brown rice. It's more filling and more nutritious! HTH
  • bethanycopley1980
    bethanycopley1980 Posts: 75 Member
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    Michelinas Lean Gourmet frozen dinners are $1 at Walmart....calorie and portion controlled. Im poor too...I use them at work.
  • Elliehmltn
    Elliehmltn Posts: 254 Member
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    I just read about a guy who lost a lot of weight in 6 months of eating *only* McDonald's food. He ate the healthier choices.

    Free food at work is a big plus if you're on a tight budget. It doesn't have to be a Big Mac and X-Large fries. Read the calorie counts and count 'em up. Eat the smaller items from the Dollar Menu, even though you don't have to keep your cost down.

    At home, dry beans are cheap. So is rice. Apples don't cost a whole lot. Tomatoes are often less expensive per pound than apples, and have more nutrients in them. Potatoes are cheap. So are carrots and cabbage.
  • osothefinn
    osothefinn Posts: 163 Member
    Options
    sure rice, beans and pasta are cheap.. heck all the restaurants use them as cheap fillers along with chips and bread. BUT, this doesn't make them healthy. Cheap carbs are what are keep us fat. Veggies, lower sugar fruits are good. Also healthy fats will keep you satiated (full). If you must eat a meal at Mickie D's go for the salads or the unbreaded chicken. True it's not as exciting as a Big Mac and fries but it's much healthier for you. Being on a tight budget is hard but dollar stores can help. Canned salmon or tuna is going to be much better for you than a burger. A spinach salmon salad brought in a lunch box is just as fast as a happy meal. I bring my lunch to work every day. It actually turns out to be cheaper than running to the cafeteria.
    True it's not free.

    If she's eating at a deficit, making sure she hits her macros, and doesn't have a metabolic condition she will have no problems with the carbohydrates in potatoes, rice, beans, or pasta. If carbs from rice caused obesity the third world should be full of 300 pounders right?

    Canned salmon runs like $0.75 an ounce, so it wouldn't top my recommendation of foods to shop for when someone is on a tight budget. Agree on healthy fats and the items off the McD's menu, but as long as she's eating at a deficit she can lose weight. I'm down 100 pounds eating anything that fits my macros.
  • hopelesswritr
    Options
    sure rice, beans and pasta are cheap.. heck all the restaurants use them as cheap fillers along with chips and bread. BUT, this doesn't make them healthy. Cheap carbs are what are keep us fat. Veggies, lower sugar fruits are good. Also healthy fats will keep you satiated (full). If you must eat a meal at Mickie D's go for the salads or the unbreaded chicken. True it's not as exciting as a Big Mac and fries but it's much healthier for you. Being on a tight budget is hard but dollar stores can help. Canned salmon or tuna is going to be much better for you than a burger. A spinach salmon salad brought in a lunch box is just as fast as a happy meal. I bring my lunch to work every day. It actually turns out to be cheaper than running to the cafeteria.
    True it's not free.

    I feel like that could be doable. I actually opt for the grilled premium chicken sammiches with a fruit and yogurt parfait (no granola) and a small Sprite or Coke Zero.
  • Josalinn
    Josalinn Posts: 1,066 Member
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    Do you have a wegmans near you? They have $1 bags of frozen veggies
  • hopelesswritr
    Options
    If she's eating at a deficit, making sure she hits her macros, and doesn't have a metabolic condition she will have no problems with the carbohydrates in potatoes, rice, beans, or pasta. If carbs from rice caused obesity the third world should be full of 300 pounders right?

    Canned salmon runs like $0.75 an ounce, so it wouldn't top my recommendation of foods to shop for when someone is on a tight budget. Agree on healthy fats and the items off the McD's menu, but as long as she's eating at a deficit she can lose weight. I'm down 100 pounds eating anything that fits my macros.

    I'm doing my best to meet a 1580 net calorie limit but sometimes I go a wee bit over (and sometimes I go over in sodium but everything else is usually fine). I also plan on replacing my starchy pasta with whole grain pasta (even though it doesn't taste all that great).
  • MissingMyOldSelf
    MissingMyOldSelf Posts: 689 Member
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    If you have time to do food prep buy the basics. Chicken (bone-in is cheaper), rice, beans, pasta, fruits, veggies, eggs, etc, and make things from recipes. Crockpot recipes are great and provide meals for several days.

    This is a GREAT helper! Plus, if you have an Aldi's around you, you can get your grocery bill for about 1/2 of what you'd pay at walmart. Thankfully, spring is (hopefully!) on it's way, and farmers markets should be coming up soon, and they're fun places to experiment with new foods, plus, they don't mind negotiations ;-)

    Best wishes!! I'm in the same boat as you, and I seem to be reliant on oatmeal for breakfast (since it keeps me fuller longer) and my main meal of the day has at least rice, beans or pasta in it for more a more satisfying meal :)
  • JulieGirl58
    JulieGirl58 Posts: 158 Member
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    Do yourself a favor and don't drink soda. Stick with water, Even diet soda is so bad for you. If you can quit this unhealthy habit in your youth you will be so far ahead of everyone else.
  • MissingMyOldSelf
    MissingMyOldSelf Posts: 689 Member
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    oh! I forgot to mention!!!

    I found a website called budgetbytes.com. This girl has a GREAT knack for finding awesome, delicious recipes that won't break your budget. :)
  • zoeysasha37
    zoeysasha37 Posts: 7,088 Member
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    Hello :-)
    I actually have a friend on here, who also works at McDonalds and has a limited income, and is a student. Its very hard. But first I want to congratulate you for trying!! Its not easy :-(
    But I think if you get a free meal each day there, I would choose the salad with a bottled water. And as far as your other meals go, I would suggest meal prepping. You can get chicken breast and veggies from Walmart, and make up several healthy meals at once and you'll have them, so all you will have to do is heat them up. I know its rough, but you can do this! :-) have a good night! :-)
  • Samby_v1
    Samby_v1 Posts: 202 Member
    Options
    sure rice, beans and pasta are cheap.. heck all the restaurants use them as cheap fillers along with chips and bread. BUT, this doesn't make them healthy. Cheap carbs are what are keep us fat. Veggies, lower sugar fruits are good. Also healthy fats will keep you satiated (full). If you must eat a meal at Mickie D's go for the salads or the unbreaded chicken. True it's not as exciting as a Big Mac and fries but it's much healthier for you. Being on a tight budget is hard but dollar stores can help. Canned salmon or tuna is going to be much better for you than a burger. A spinach salmon salad brought in a lunch box is just as fast as a happy meal. I bring my lunch to work every day. It actually turns out to be cheaper than running to the cafeteria.
    True it's not free.

    I feel like that could be doable. I actually opt for the grilled premium chicken sammiches with a fruit and yogurt parfait (no granola) and a small Sprite or Coke Zero.

    Hi! I also know the misery of trying to eat well on a tight budget. If you need a break from the MaccyD's and you're near a farmer's market then check out Jack Monroe's recipes. She's an anti-poverty campaigner here in the UK. Her recipes are really healthy and they usually come in at under a dollar for a portion.

    http://agirlcalledjack.com/category/recipes-food/

    Good luck!
  • TheBadToe
    TheBadToe Posts: 246 Member
    Options
    sure rice, beans and pasta are cheap.. heck all the restaurants use them as cheap fillers along with chips and bread. BUT, this doesn't make them healthy. Cheap carbs are what are keep us fat. Veggies, lower sugar fruits are good. Also healthy fats will keep you satiated (full). If you must eat a meal at Mickie D's go for the salads or the unbreaded chicken. True it's not as exciting as a Big Mac and fries but it's much healthier for you. Being on a tight budget is hard but dollar stores can help. Canned salmon or tuna is going to be much better for you than a burger. A spinach salmon salad brought in a lunch box is just as fast as a happy meal. I bring my lunch to work every day. It actually turns out to be cheaper than running to the cafeteria.
    True it's not free.

    I feel like that could be doable. I actually opt for the grilled premium chicken sammiches with a fruit and yogurt parfait (no granola) and a small Sprite or Coke Zero.

    Hi! I also know the misery of trying to eat well on a tight budget. If you need a break from the MaccyD's and you're near a farmer's market then check out Jack Monroe's recipes. She's an anti-poverty campaigner here in the UK. Her recipes are really healthy and they usually come in at under a dollar for a portion.

    http://agirlcalledjack.com/category/recipes-food/

    Good luck!

    I was going to say the same thing. Buy from a local farm, "pick your own" farms are the best. Buy eggs from someone who owns chickens... Drink only water... Plant an herb garden in your window box.
  • rondaj05
    rondaj05 Posts: 497 Member
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    I just read about a guy who lost a lot of weight in 6 months of eating *only* McDonald's food. He ate the healthier choices.

    Free food at work is a big plus if you're on a tight budget. It doesn't have to be a Big Mac and X-Large fries. Read the calorie counts and count 'em up. Eat the smaller items from the Dollar Menu, even though you don't have to keep your cost down.

    At home, dry beans are cheap. So is rice. Apples don't cost a whole lot. Tomatoes are often less expensive per pound than apples, and have more nutrients in them. Potatoes are cheap. So are carrots and cabbage.

    ^Free food is helpful when you don't have a lot to spend on groceries and McDonald's does have healthier choices. Good Luck!!
  • Buff2022
    Buff2022 Posts: 373 Member
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    If no one has mentioned it please see if you qualify for food stamps.