Slim Down On A Budget With These Quick Tips

March 4, 2013  |  
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Research has found that on average, eating healthy can cost up to $30 a day while eating junk food can cost only about $5. We want to combat those facts! You should be rewarded for wanting to live healthy, not forced to have to pay a high price. So here are a few ways to beat the system.

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Make a list and stick to it

If you go grocery shopping with the mentality, “Oh I’ll know what to buy when I see it,” you risk impulse buys. Sit down and make a list ahead of time that will cover all your nutrition needs, and stick to it.

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Buy multi-purpose foods

Buy foods that you can use in a variety of recipes. For example, buy vegetables that can be eaten raw or cooked to be put in hot dishes or in salads. Buy grains that you enjoy cold, so you can make salads out of them as well. The reason behind this is you can often get better prices on produce if you buy in bulk.

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Limit your fresh meat intake

Fresh meat is one of the most expensive items, but you can get plenty of protein from vegetarian meals. Substitute meat with eggs (omelets, frittatas, scrambles), beans, and even low-sodium deli meats.

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Become a member

If you haven’t already, become a member of your local super market. Often stores have amazing discounts just for members, like $8 for a pack of 3 steaks that is $15 for non-members. In the produce department there are almost always two varieties of each fruit and veggie, and one will have a card member price.

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Try frozen or canned vegetables

Fresh produce is often costly. A whole artichoke can run you $3, meanwhile a can of compacted, chopped and canned artichoke, equaling that of two artichokes, can also be $3.

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Learn portion control

Being on a budget forces you to control your portions, and that’s a good thing! You should be eating just enough to satisfy you until the next meal. If you end a meal feeling stuffed, you’ve wasted money by consuming food that should have been saved for another time.

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Buy bulk bags of produce

You’ll usually find loose apples costing you 50 to 75 cents each, meanwhile a pre-packaged dozen can be just $4! The same goes for most citrus, hand-held fruits and potatoes.

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Befriend the potato

Regular baked and sweet potatoes contain tons of fiber, fill you up, and don’t cost much. When things are really tight, make baked potato meals, accompanied by a handful of fresh produce and maybe some canned beans.

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Try the dollar store

Many dollar stores actually have complete produce sections. There’s nothing wrong with this produce: it’s simply surplus given up by the larger markets. To give you an idea of what you can find: $1 banana bundles, $1 sacks of potatoes, $1 bags with 3 heads of lettuce, $1 6-packs of Roma tomatoes and more.

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Become a coupon clipper

Those coupon booklets dropped in your mail aren’t just for bored stay-at-home moms. There are often deals in there for foods you eat regularly like cereals, breads, canned foods and even packaged meats.

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Buy store brands

It’s time to say goodbye to pretty little labels on your food. Read the back of any store-brand product and its “nicer” competitor, and you’ll usually find the exact same ingredients. So you’re just paying a couple extra bucks for the label!

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Eat at home

In case it’s not obvious from this list, eating at home is the best way to save money while dieting. But even when you can’t be at home, plan ahead and set aside time to pack lunches and snacks to bring with you. Invest a few bucks in a cooler bag and some microwaveable Tupper ware.

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Drink lots of water

Often we misread dehydration for hunger. Budget or no budget, you’re advised to drink more water, but now it could be saving you money! Any time you feel hungry between meals, down an 8 oz. glass of water. You’ll usually find you don’t want food afterwards.

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Avoid caffeine and alcohol

The acidity in caffeine and alcohol can create a feeling of false hunger in your stomach. And you don’t need that when you’re on a budget. Stick to tea for your caffeine, which actually makes you feel fuller, and if you can, simply avoid alcohol.

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