10 Diet Hacks for Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget | Nova Bariatrics

NOVA Bariatrics

10 Diet Hacks For Eating Healthy On A Tight Budget

Sometimes it seems impossible to eat healthy on a tight budget. Often, the cheapest vegetables and cuts of meat are the ones that doctors and dieticians say you should avoid. There is hope! Let’s jump right into 10 easy diet hacks you can do to eat healthy and even lose weight on a budget.

NOVA Bariatrics

Dr. Alibhai

With Dr. Alibhai’s training in minimally invasive and robotic surgery, he performs a wide range of general surgical procedures as well including:

  • Robotic Gallbladder surgery
  • Robotic hernia surgery
  • Acid Reflux surgery

Mustafa H. Alibhai,MD,FACS,FASMBS

1. Start Meal Planning

Eating healthy on a tight budget begins before you head to the grocery store. The first thing you should do before you write out your grocery list is pre-plan all your meals. Plan what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It’s also a good idea to include the whole family so everyone is on a similar diet. When you get to the store, resist any urges to buy products that are not on your list. Meal planning takes just a little time, yet makes a huge impact on how much you spend at the checkout counter. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much money you can save when your grocery list becomes a plan of action instead of a cravings-driven free for all.

2. Buy Whole Foods and Kick Processed Foods to the Curb

That almost sounds painful, right? But, you can do this! Processed foods can be harmful to our health and are a big reason for the prevalence of obesity in the United States. They are either high in fat, salt and/or sugar. To be clear, nearly all food is a little bit processed (example: bagged salads, canned nuts). What we’re referring to here is overly-processed foods like boxed dinners,frozen meals and shredded cheese. Instead of buying several bags of shredded cheese, buy one whole block and shred it yourself to eat healthier and stay on budget.

3. Pass Up The Bagged Salads

Bagged salads are healthy, but they can be expensive, only hold small portions and don’t include the other vegetables most people add on. Instead of getting pre-prepared salads, grab all the ingredients and make your own. A head of lettuce is less expensive than the pre-washed, pre-cut variety in bags because the produce companies charge customers more for having done the work for you. Grab a box of quart size storage bags and make your family’s favorite salad blend to go. This is an awesome hack for eating healthy on a limited budget and on the go.

4. Eliminate Junk Food

You knew this one was coming! Many bariatric patients are not clear about which foods are junk foods. To keep it simple, you should consider junk food to be any food that is high in calories but low in nutritional value. That includes potato chips, fruit snacks, sodas, bottled juices, pizza, cheeseburgers, fries and ice cream. Not only is junk food bad for your health, it will sabotage your attempts to eat healthy on a budget.

5. Eat Other Protein Sources Besides Meat

We all know that meat is a primary source of protein, but there are other healthy options that help you meet your daily protein intake at a lower cost. When your budget is tight and you can’t afford healthy meats, opt for non-meat proteins such as:
  • Dry beans
  • Reduced fat milk
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs (especially egg whites)
  • Cottage cheese

6. Get Frozen Produce

Frozen fruits and vegetables are the next best thing to fresh produce. Frozen produce (without sauces and syrups added) are generally washed then flash-frozen to preserve them for later consumption. Stick to buying the sauceless versions so you can control the seasoning and calorie intake. While they may lack some of the nutrients of fresh produce, they are still a great option for getting your daily dose of protein while eating healthy on a tight budget.

7. Buy Canned Produce In Natural Juices

You may have heard that canned fruits and vegetables are not healthy, but that’s not entirely true. This variety of produce is often on sale and allows you to eat healthy without overspending. When buying canned produce, pay attention to the labels. For vegetables, choose options that say “no sodium” or “low sodium” to avoid some of the negative effects canned veggies have on your health. For canned fruit, look for labels that say things like “no sugar added” and “in its natural juices.” Be extra mindful to avoid the labels that say “seasoned” or “in heavy syrup.”

8. Say Goodbye To Deep Frying

Deep frying can turn the healthiest foods into diet nightmares! There are restaurants that serve fried brussel sprouts, onion blossoms and tempura vegetables. If deep frying healthy vegetables is unhealthy, imagine how harmful it is to batter and fry meat, potatoes and seafood. Not only is deep frying bad for your health, it adds extra expenses to your grocery budget. You will eat healthier and avoid the cost of oils, flour and other battering ingredients by tossing deep frying in the trash.

9. Drink More Water

Increasing your water daily water intake is a great diet hack for eating healthy on a tight budget. By comparison, a 2 liter bottle of soda is 68 ounces and costs anywhere from one to two dollars. A 24-pack of bottled water is over 400 ounces and costs around $3. For only one dollar more, you can get nearly six times more refreshment. Of course, if you’re used to flavored drinks, removing them from your diet completely can be a bit of a disappointment. But, you can infuse your water with pieces of fruit like lemons, limes, berries and melons to make them taste more exciting. Your body and your wallet will thank you for cutting back on the sodas and sugary drinks.

10. Count Calories

This is one thing you don’t have to buy when you’re eating healthy on a limited budget. It only requires a little bit of time and basic math. You should consult a physician or dietician about your ideal daily caloric intake. From there, pay attention to nutrition labels of the foods you buy from the grocery store and restaurants you visit. Look closely at the section that says serving size to make sure you’re eating the proper amount. Most people are not aware of how much they are eating every day. By counting calories, you will likely reduce your overall food consumption, which will reduce your expenses. You can eat healthy on a budget by making small adjustments to the way you prepare, shop for and order food. If it’s all too challenging for you, speak to a doctor who specializes in weight loss for guidance and dietary advice. There are surgical and non-surgical treatment options that help people just like you take back control of their lives. At Nova Bariatrics and Minimally-Invasive Surgery, we understand that weight loss and healthy living can be a daily struggle for many. With harness over experience and expertise to help those patients who have been unable to achieve significant weight loss through diet and modifications and exercise alone. Our team at NOVA works with each patient individually to find the appropriate solution for weight loss and restoration of one’s health. Contact us