Many people carry around some extra pounds that they don’t want, but it can be difficult to stick to a diet on a busy schedule and a tight budget. Fortunately, it’s possible to lose weight without spending extra money on food, exercise equipment, or diet products. Here are six tips for dieting on a budget:
- Find the right eating schedule.
Many people benefit from eating five or six small meals or adding two or three snacks between larger meals. Eating more frequently throughout the day will keep you full and energized, preventing you from overeating during meals.
However, some people prefer eating three large meals per day with no snacks. Eating a larger volume of food at once may be more satisfying for you. Everyone is different, and there isn’t one correct eating schedule. However, you should experiment with different meal sizes and frequencies to find what works best for you.
Trial and error is one of the most important steps to take in the beginning of your weight loss journey because it helps you discover sustainable habits.
- Avoid sugar and caffeine.
Sugar and caffeine are two of the most addictive substances in the world, and far too many people are reliant on them for energy. Caffeine may give you a good energy boost in the morning, but it can cause a variety of negative effects, too.
Cutting out your morning coffee and ditching sugary snacks or drinks will help you lose weight while also saving you some money. Quitting caffeine cold turkey will probably be difficult, so many people find more success when they gradually reduce their caffeine consumption.
- Eat plenty of fiber.
Instead of soft drinks or sugary snacks, choose snacks that are high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. If you get the recommended 25 grams of fiber per day, it will help you feel full for longer. Fruits, veggies, and many other high-fiber foods also have a low calorie density, so you can fill up on them without worrying about consuming too many calories.
- Make a meal plan.
Making a weekly meal plan is the best thing you can do for your budget. Plan all your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for the week, and only buy the groceries you need to make those meals. You won’t spend extra money on food you don’t need, and you’ll be more motivated to eat your healthy foods if they’re all you have in the kitchen.
Following a meal plan also provides you with more structure. On a busy and stressful day, you’ll already have a plan for dinner, which saves you some time and energy. After a couple weeks, you’ll start to discover your favorite cheap and healthy recipes. You’ll also learn to get creative with any leftover food you have at the end of the week.
- Comparison shop.
If you have more than one grocery store in your area, take a couple hours to compare their prices for the foods you buy weekly. One store might have cheaper produce, but the other might have lower prices on bulk foods. You can visit each store for their cheaper items, or you can calculate which store will be cheaper to shop at overall. It might take some time to figure it out, but it can help you stay within your grocery budget.
- Stock up on bulk foods.
Buying foods in bulk is often cheaper than buying in smaller quantities. However, only buy something in bulk if you’re certain that you’ll eat it all before it goes bad. You won’t be saving any money if you let it go to waste. Although that’s not to say the right service can’t still be just as cheap, for example Nutrisystem cost actually isn’t that bad vs how much you’re already spending.
When your grocery store has a sale or a coupon for canned goods or other non-perishables that you eat frequently, stock up for the next several weeks or even months. People who utilize coupons and pay attention to sales sometimes spend half as much on groceries as people who ignore the promotions.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that losing weight involves making lifestyle changes. Instead of planning on a short-term period of following a strict diet, you should build up healthy habits that you can sustain for the rest of your life. Losing weight this way won’t hurt your wallet, and it will help you stay happy and healthy permanently.