People sometimes think there is no such thing as cheap food for weight loss. A healthy diet costs money, so they head for the local fast food outlet, convinced that healthy living on a budget is not an option. This is a pity because they are wrong – it is possible to buy cheap healthy food, although there may be problems for some. With fast food you go to the shop, pay the money and eat. It certainly is fast, there is no need to prepare anything or even sit down if you don’t want to. But the downside is you get fat doing it.
Buying cheap food for weight loss is different. The cheap food is out there, but you must look for it. You will need to trawl the superstore for cheap cuts and special offers or browse the local farmer’s market looking for fresh fruit and vegetables. This takes time – you need not add cooking time if you don’t want to. It is possible to eat a tasty, healthy diet without cooking anything, but there is buying time. That may be daunting if you work a twelve hour day, have two children and get home exhausted. It might be possible to arrange a weekly food shop, and if you eat a healthy diet and lose weight you will be better able to cope with a busy lifestyle. But we all live different lives and what is possible for one is often impossible for another. The decision is yours, but cost should not enter into it because cheap food for weight loss is available.
So what sort of food is healthy and cheap? Here are some approved by the British Heart Foundation.
Canned fish: Not all healthy food has to be fresh. Oily fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel are cheaper in cans and still good for you. Do not buy any sort of tuna if you want to save the planet, it is being overfished to extinction.
Canned vegetables: Avoiding discussion over what is or isn’t a vegetable try canned tomatoes, beans, peas, carrots or new potatoes. Except for baked beans I would use canned vegetables only occasionally, as fresh vegetables are cheap and easily obtained. Check the labels for excessive sugar or salt in canned food. You may find there is a more healthy option for the same price.
Fruit and vegetable in season: There is often more produce in season than people to buy it, so prices are low. Fresh fruit and vegetables taste good too. Look for perishable fruit when it is over ripe but still eatable. The vendor has the choice of either selling it cheaply or throwing it away. Bargains are to be had.
Oats for breakfast: Oats with low fat yoghurt and some grated apple and cinnamon is a filling breakfast. This with a cup of coffee – black or made with skimmed milk, is cheap and healthy.
Adjust the ingredients: Vegetables are cheaper than meat, so include more vegetables and less meat in your meals. Soups and stews are also a good way of saving money.
Cheap pasta: Pasta in all its varieties is cheap to buy and easy to store. It features in numerous Italian dishes from the simple to the complicated. Whole grain pasta is the healthiest.
There we have half a dozen ways to choose cheap food for weight loss. If you have the time to shop once a week you could have a healthy diet and spend no more than you do in a fast food outlet. It’s worth considering.
See you soon,
11 December 2011
Photo. Hilltowngal (Flickr)