I started a diet in a desperate attempt to lose this ten pounds that has hounded me for the last year. The diet is relatively low calorie, and includes a higher percentage of protein than I'm used to eating (I'm generally kind of a carbohydrate whore). I'm also supposed to eat what seems like a giant serving of fruits and vegetables at each meal!
What this means is that I've made two or three trips to the grocery store in the last half of the month to restock my refrigerator, and this has decimated my grocery budget for the month. I budgeted for $85 this month for food, and I'm probably closing in on $150!! And I've barely lost any weight (maybe a couple of pounds).
Granted, it's been less than a month and I'm still getting used to the types of food I need to eat, but I'm just a bit bummed about it. So what's a frugal gal to do? Well, as always, I turned to the trusty internet for some tips. And luckily, one of the first articles I came across was in Consumer Reports (and I didn't even have to subscribe to read the full article! How's that for frugal?)
The article in question is about dieting on a budget, and has some budget-friendly ideas for people like me who want to shed a few pounds without spending hundreds of dollars. . . . here are some of the better ones:
- Plan ahead: make a menu for the week and stick to it; take a list to the grocery store and stock up on the items you'll need for your meals. This is something that I didn't do when I shopped for groceries at the beginning of last month---I didn't know I'd be on this diet, so simply shopped for my usual items, only some of which I've used.
- Buy in season: I've said it before, and I'll say it again, watermelon in the summer is cheaper than the same item purchased in the dead of winter (and better for the environment, too)!
- Eat beans: I already eat a lot of beans, since they're a frugal food source, but I may need to find more recipes to add to my arsenal.
- Try tofu: now, this is something that I've not tried much yet. Tofu doesn't appeal to me---but that may be because I'm just not familiar with it. So I'll check the price of tofu (against other protein sources like chicken and tuna) to see if this will save me some dough the next time I shop for food.
- Buy a whole bird: I did this last month---I found whole chickens at .77 cents a pound at Albertson's, and cooked one in my crockpot. It made a fair amount of chicken meat; now I just have to find the time to cook the second one, and keep my eyes peeled for good deals like that. Next time though, I'm going to measure exactly how much meat I get from the bird and compare the cost to the bags of frozen chicken breasts I usually buy, to make sure I'm getting a good deal. . . .
- Plant a garden: I'm in the process of doing this right now! My seeds took off, and I now have more tomato starts than I know what to do with. Unfortunately, I lost track of some of my seeds, so I now have some 'mystery starts' that I put in the ground last weekend. Hopefully soon I'll know what they are (assuming they survived the transplant. . .)