Sticking to any diet plan is tricky enough, but if you also have to follow a strict budget, it can feel impossible. After all, picking up processed products or fast food is much cheaper and faster than preparing healthy alternatives at home. But you can still meet your health goals when your finances are tight. Here are a few tips for sticking to both your diet plan and your budget.
In order to stick to both your diet and budget, create a diet plan. Your dietary needs are unique, so don’t jump on the bandwagon of a popular diet; figure out a long-term diet plan that will work for you.
Whatever diet you decide on, commit to it wholeheartedly. Know what items you can and can’t eat, and know them well. If you are knowledgeable about off-limit foods, you will be able to make smarter choices at mealtime.
Regardless of what kind of diet you choose to do, look up some recipes to try out at home. Lifesum provides a diet plan app which can help you track progress and nutrients for your plan, supplemented by diet-friendly recipes. After you’ve found some recipes to try, use them to create a grocery list and ensure you can afford all the items. Be sure to check for ingredients you may already have at home, so you don’t buy doubles of anything!
To keep your wallet full at the store, you’ll have to shop smart. Keep the following in mind when doing your shopping:
The best way to both eat healthy and stick to your budget is to cook your own meals at home as much as possible.
Before you begin cooking, make a schedule of what recipes you’ll cook on which days. You can use a small whiteboard on your refrigerator to keep track, and plan around your plans for the week. If you have to work late on Tuesday evening, make a big meal on Monday night so you can eat the leftovers the next day. Not only will this hold you accountable for your plans, it’ll give you something delicious to look forward to.
Sounds intimidating, right? Meal prepping is easy to do on a budget, and is actually incredibly versatile. Set aside some time each week to prepare meals for the days ahead. You can choose which meals to prep — breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks — depending on your needs. If you find yourself skipping breakfast because you go to work early, make something you can grab and eat easily when heading out the door in the morning. If you often eat unhealthy snacks when you’re hungry at the office, prepare healthier snacks to bring in every day. Focus on how you can make meal prepping on a budget work for you.
There’s no faster way to blow both your budget and your diet than eating out. Eating out is much more expensive than cooking at home. Everything, from drinks to that well-deserved tip for your waiter, adds up quicker than you think. You also probably have groceries sitting at home that you can make into something much healthier than the food you would get from a restaurant.
However, sometimes eating out is inevitable. If you do go out to eat for a friend’s birthday or work event, prepare as much as possible. If you know where you’ll be going, look at their online menu in advance for options that will fit both your budget and your diet. Try eating a small snack beforehand, so you aren’t as hungry; then you can either order an appetizer or eat part of an entree and save the other portion for later.
Don’t forget to treat yourself every so often. Build splurges into your diet plan and your budget. If you plan for it, you won’t be upset with yourself when you choose to do it. Be sure not to go overboard with your splurges though! If you do it too frequently, it’ll be harder to stay on track with your plan.
Making a healthy diet plan on a budget doesn’t have to be a difficult or stressful process. Check out everything Lifesum has to offer for more information on setting and realizing your weight loss goals, and help with diet plans.
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