You’re ready to bite the bullet and lose the weight. You know you need to cut calories and eat healthier, but how can you lose the fat without breaking the bank? These tips will help you lose your waistline, not blow your budget.
- Get fresh. Avoid the (expensive) pre-packaged, highly processed diet food that chokes your budget. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats without any added processing, and healthy carbohydrates like whole grains. You’ll get far more bang for your buck while you cut down on the chemical additives. Frozen veggies are a good alternative choice, but be sure you’re getting just the vegetable and not added sauce, pasta, or fat. Instead of buying expensive “diet” snacks, make your own at home and pre-package them for convenience. You’ll know what’s in them, you’ll have the ease and convenience of snacking on high-quality food that won’t break the budget, and you’ll save big.
- Shop with a strategy. Plan your weekly menu in advance, taking into account the days of the week that are most hectic for you. On those days, convenience and ease of preparation can keep you from ordering a pizza or veering into the drive-through at the fast food joint, so plan to have easy, nutritious food on hand for quick preparation. Concentrate on shopping the sales at your local supermarket, and build your menu around the items that are on sale for the week.
- Cook at home. Maybe you can’t boil water. Maybe you hate to cook. Try it again-you’ll find rich rewards in cutting the bottom line. When you cook at home, you have control over the ingredients. You don’t need to rely on the waiter to tell you whether there’s added butter or salt. You can stick to fresh ingredients and you control the quality of those ingredients. You can season your food to taste. If you already like to cook, you’re really in luck. You can enjoy delicious, nutritious food using high quality ingredients.
- Be smart when you eat out. Go for lower fat choices. Stick to a glass of wine rather than sugary cocktails. Eat a snack before you go so that you’re not ravenously hungry. If you absolutely must have dessert, share it. Most restaurant portions are huge, so divide your meal as soon as it arrives and ask for a to-go box for the leftovers. There’s nothing wrong with a splurge every now and then, but budget carefully-both your calorie allotment and your monetary cost.
- Exercise your body, not your credit card. You can get fit without spending much money. Walk your dog. Chase your toddlers around. Go for a bike ride. Join a no-frills gym (and then actually use it!) Incorporating exercise will save you money as you cut calories by helping your reach your goal faster. In the long run, making exercise a regular part of your day will save you much more than money by boosting your health.
Cutting your calories doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. Enjoy your healthier lifestyle without putting your finances on a diet!