Dieting on a Budget

Dieting on a Budget

By: DadBodybuilding

Have you made the decision to get healthy? That’s great news! The next step is to focus on getting your eating habits and diet in order. This means cooking more at home, making smarter decisions when out, and planning out your meals when possible.

In adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle, it can be expensive. This is actually one of the main reasons why people get discouraged and don’t follow through with living a healthy lifestyle. However, as the old saying goes, if there’s a WILL, there’s a WAY!

Here are some helpful and cost-effective tips when starting your diet.

Grocery Shop

One of the biggest tips when dieting on a budget is to go grocery shopping for the food you need. I recommend shopping to have at least enough food for 3 days, if not a week. This allows you to actually have the means to eat at home, thus giving you one of many reasons, NOT to waste money eating out. However, there are things that you need to be aware of that can help you save money when you do go grocery shopping.

  • Buy frozen: When you can, try and buy some of your favorite foods frozen because it is cheaper than buying fresh. Some examples are frozen spinach, frozen seafood, frozen fruit.
  • Stock up on sale items: Many times, stores will have weekend sales, holiday sales or even daily sales on a ton of food items. Take the extra time to know what items are on sale and stock up on the ones you like. If they’re perishable, simply put them in the freezer until you’re ready to consume.
  • Buy produce that is in season: Produce that is out of season is typically more expensive than in-season produce. Know which produce is in season before heading to the store.
  • Mix up protein options: Meats like poultry, beef, and seafood are great protein choices, however, they can get expensive. Try adding other less expensive plant-based protein sources and also investing in buying a tub of protein powder.
  • Shop at multiple stores: Don’t limit yourself to shopping at just one main store, just because it’s near you or because you’re used to shopping there. Many times, different stores have better prices on important items. Or they may even have better items, that will save you money and macros.

Shop with a plan: It’s great to go grocery shopping, but don’t find yourself in the store without a plan.

  • Have a pre-created grocery list: It’s always good to have a grocery list prior to going the store, so that you don’t get off track. A good rule of thumb is to segment the list out by food category. Ex: Produce, Protein, Dairy, etc.
  • Only buy what you need for your diet plan: It’s easy to start grabbing extra items for the simple reason that they’re conveniently placed, on sale, or have catchy marketing. Don’t get caught up in this – stick to the plan.
  • Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry: This will almost always lead to you buying food you don’t need, food that does not fit your fitness goals, and lead to over spending.

Cook at home: Cooking at home is the easiest way to ensure that you stay on track with your nutrition and also save a lot of money.

  • Meal Prep: Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you stay on track with your diet, because you always have diet friendly meals ready to go. Meal prepping is also a cost-effective way to sustain a healthy lifestyle. As rule of thumb, meal prep on Sundays for the week or at a minimum for 3 days.
  • Plan meals ahead of time: In addition to meal prepping or cooking food in bulk, make sure you actually plan your meals prior to eating. This will ensure that you stay on track with your health plan. Planning your meals ahead of time will also deter you from eating out and spending unnecessary money.

Plan nights out: Whether it’s a date night or outing with friends or family, it’s always best to plan ahead.

  • When planning ahead, you’re able to figure out how to fit the food into your diet to stay on track with your goals. You’re also able to plan such nights into the budget, so that you can spend less at the grocery store, or prep one less meal for meal prep.
  • Planning nights out ahead of time, also helps cut back on spontaneous spending. At the time, it may seem like a good idea, but the money spent could have been better used to get you closer to your health & fitness goals.

For more practical health & fitness tips, check out our book: The Definitive Guide to Living the Fit Dad Lifestyle.

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