Nowadays, many people are starting to change the way that they eat for the better. Thanks to an ongoing rising in awareness on this topic, we are finally understanding the importance of what we put in our bodies. But can anyone adopt a trendy, health-conscious meal plan, or are there limitations?
One of the most common and widely encountered misconceptions about diets is that only the financially privileged can afford them. While it is true that some healthy options are more expensive, and the organic whole foods market usually sports luxury prices, this is not always the case. You can maintain optimal nutrition when on a budget as well. Of course, to lose weight and preserve your well-being for less, you will need to be very careful. However, if you follow some simple rules and impose a few limitations on yourself, this goal is perfectly achievable. Here are five ways in which I have noticed that dieting can actually help save money, rather than cost more.
1. Limit What You Eat
The first step towards this is to limit what you ingest to a set list of ingredients. Depending on which diet you choose, this comes with varying degrees of difficulty. However, you need to keep in mind that this helps reduce both food waste and overspending at the same time. but is there a right and a wrong way to go about this?
When I began doing this, my favorite foods were initially at the top of my list. You’d imagine that that is the correct approach, but personal experience has taught me otherwise. Not only is this awfully limiting, but it can also cause you to overspend. For example, my preferred dish ever since I was a child used to be roast meat with sweet potatoes and Indian-style spices. I’d enjoyed this meal ever since my mom used to cook it for me as a child, and when I started making my list, for a while, I’d always put the ingredients for it at the top. Not only did this impede me from having any variety in my diet, but it also put me off this particular meal for a long time after. Thus, switching up the list sometimes works best.
I’ve personally found that something along the lines of the Venus Factor customizable meal plan is perfect in this situation. This, as well as similar approaches, revolve around a set list of allowed ingredients that you need to follow. Although restrictive eating might be hard at first, many programs allow for a few cheat days when you can splurge on candy, fast-food, or whatever else you might desire.
2. Control Your Portions
Strict self-imposed portion control was what helped me personally save the most extra bucks with my diet. Before going on it, I used to waste a lot of food by cooking way too many portions. I ended up throwing most of it away, which is not only unfriendly to the environment, but also costly in the long run.
Just about any meal plan you choose can provide you with exact amounts for each ingredient that goes into a dish. If you’re also used to over-eating, it will be harder for you to adjust to this, but positive effects will soon become visible — not only on your waist but in your wallet as well.
3. Prevent Impulse Groceries
Making various purchases on a whim is something we can all relate to as active participants in our consumer-oriented society. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then, but how much is enough? I couldn’t answer this question until recently, when I learned the importance of wise spending.
As previously mentioned, a diet can ideally provide a clear outline of what to eat and in what quantities. I’ve found that this has the beneficial consequence of preventing impulse grocery shopping. It’s really easy to fall into temptation while browsing the aisles of your local supermarket, but a strict meal plan will surely teach you how to resist in time.
4. Set a Monthly Budget
A failsafe way to control how much you spend on food is by setting a monthly budget. With it in mind, it will be easier to make your meals for less. When doing this, I considered my income and my other expenses to make the best decision. And the good news is that, if you ever get bonuses or even raises, you can allow yourself an upgrade (though not so much that you succumb to lifestyle inflation). The key is to adapt what you eat to what makes sense for you to spend.
5. Grow Your Own Produce
A sure way to save money on healthy food that has the added benefit of being extremely eco-friendly is growing your own vegetables and herbs. A coquette little greenery is all you need to stay in shape on a budget. And you don’t necessarily need a backyard to do it, either. Many of them can grow inside an apartment as well.
If you’ve never tended to a garden before, the best approach is to start off small. Plant just one type of veggie and a couple of future condiments and see how that works out. In time, you can expand your selection as much as you please. I have found that the most convenient ones are beans, chives, carrots, beets, and cilantro, but you can even go as far as planting your own corn.
Despite popular opinion, you don’t have to be rich to eat healthily and stay fit. Of course, dieting isn’t for everyone, but certain types of restrictive diets can actually help you save a lot of money. If you have specific fitness goals you are looking to achieve on a budget, you need to limit both your spending and the foods you eat. There are many ways to stay thrifty while getting healthier, and you can always choose between one or the other depending on your needs.
Mike Jones has been a regular health and fitness-focused guest blogger for over two years for sites. Find more of Mike’s tips on fitness and diet on his Twitter and Facebook.
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