Managing Your Weight on a Budget

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Managing Your Weight on a Budget

Sticking to a healthy eating plan can be hard when living on a tight budget. The good news is, with a little careful planning and preparation, budget-friendly weight management is achievable.

Planning a budget-friendly diet

Careful advance planning of your weekly meals will help avoid waste and stop you from being tempted by unhealthy and costly items. There are plenty of meal-planning websites and apps available online to help you with this. Taking the time to write a shopping list before heading to the grocery store will also help you make smarter and healthier choices when you are there.

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Smart grocery shopping tips

Smart shopping ensures you find the most budget- and waistline-friendly foods. Choose fruit and vegetables that are in season to help keep costs down. Frozen and canned fruit can offer the same nutritional value as fresh, with a much lower price tag. Pulses such as beans, peas and lentils are a healthy choice as they can help maintain blood sugar levels. The good news is that they are also cheap and easy to cook.

Consider buying store-branded products as an alternative to expensive brands. Avoid taking a shopping trip when you are feeling hungry. Typically, the most nutritious food within a store is located around the perimeter. This usually includes fresh produce such as bread, dairy, meats and fish.

Cooking affordable recipes

Cooking homemade meals instead of buying processed and convenience foods is a great way to ensure you eat healthily on budget. Making healthy meals in bulk and freezing some for later can help save both time and money.

A useful tip is to keep your storage cupboard stocked up with lots of healthy essentials and then plan your meals around these. There are many interesting and exciting ways you can use your leftovers to create more meals and avoid waste.

Try incorporating a couple of meat-free days into your week. Meat is often the most expensive item on your shopping list and you can easily substitute for it with other healthy sources of protein, such as beans and lentils.

Keeping fit on a budget

Keeping fit doesn’t have to cost you a fortune and there are plenty of ways to get up and moving without spending a penny!

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to grab some exercise and fresh air is to go for a walk. Take your dog, friends or family along for some company.

Use your body weight to do some simple muscle-toning exercises in the comfort of your own home. Some examples include jumping jacks, squats, lunges and push-ups.

Swimming is a great all-over body workout that shouldn’t cost a lot if you find a local pool.

There are plenty of free workout videos available online. A search on YouTube will bring up many options so you can find one that is right for you.

You can even substitute items readily available in your home for gym equipment. Climbing stairs can get your blood pumping while toning and strengthening your legs. Use cans or bottles as hand weights. Get creative!

Even though your budget may be restricted, you don’t need to sacrifice healthy living. It will take a bit of planning and organization, but your health and well-being are worth it.

Want to learn more about eating well with diabetes? Read “Improving Your Recipes: One Step at a Time,” “Top Tips for Healthier Eating” and “Cooking With Herbs and Spices.”

Nicola Davies, PhD

Davies is a Health Psychologist and Medical Writer at Health Psychology Consultancy Ltd. Her expertise is in the psychology of health and well-being, which she writes prolifically on across the globe. She has three books: I Can Beat Obesity! Finding the Motivation, Confidence and Skills to Lose Weight and Avoid Relapse, I Can Beat Anorexia! Finding the Motivation, Confidence and Skills to Recover and Avoid Relapse, and Eating Disorder Recovery Handbook: A Practical Guide to Long-Term Recovery.

Davies’ work in the field of pain is largely focused on lifestyle, behavior change, coping, and developing the skills and confidence to self-manage.

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