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2COCOS SparkPoints: (0)
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2/8/12 9:39 A

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If you are willing to invest a little time, you can definitely eat a healthy diet on a budget. By avoiding processed food, especially anything in individual packages, you can use the saved money to buy fresh vegetables and fruits (again, whole not packaged) and a few gourmet items (spices, herbs, nuts,salsas, hummus, greek yogurt) to give your meals a boost.

Big packages of oatmeal, rice and beans are super inexpensive vs their counterparts. Whole chickens are way more economical per lb than cut up pieces. Roasting a chicken is very easy, (I tend to just put olive oil, salt and pepper) as is creating chicken stock from the leftovers for soup. Buying spices, nuts and dried fruit in bulk saves a small fortune. Avoid deli meat. A roast might have more sticker shock, but compare the price per lb and you will be astounded. Deli meats can cost up to 10x more and they are some of the unhealthiest foods around.

To make cooking with whole foods more convenient, I would suggest investing in a few items. Small containers, such as Ziploc containers, makes it super easy to portion things out. An electric pressure cooker (you can get a good size on Amazon for about $80, and the electric models are super safe and easy to use) makes cooking rice and beans in large quantities very quick. A small crock pot (about $20) allows you to cook oatmeal (old fashioned or steel cut) overnight and have it ready for morning. A salad spinner (they have collapsible models now) and a few plastic bags, Ziploc or even recycled shopping bags, is great for cleaning greens and avoiding expensive (and less healthy) pre-washed options. One good chef knife and one paring knife (I have found some solid knives for $30 total, the key is to keep them sharpened), a pull through sharpener which is inexpensive and easy to use, and a large wooden or plastic cutting board, makes prep much quicker and more enjoyable.

If your cooking skills a low, you can find simple recipes online. I highly recommend Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. Every recipe from the mag is online, the recipes are simple, well tested and focus on whole foods. You can also create grocery lists with Ziplist from this site, which is a nice timesaver. Also, watching Food Network can help with technique, etc. I'm sure there are numerous tutorials online. Knowing the right way to chop fruits and vegetables can save at least half your prep time.

Good luck with your new diet!

Edited by: 2COCOS at: 2/8/2012 (09:45)
2COCOS

My goals for Feb 2012:
- plan weekly menus
- snack better/no binging
- get 8 hours of sleep each night
- exercise or yoga 3 times a week

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." ~Helen Keller
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." ~Albert Einstein


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PETALS4TRACEY SparkPoints: (0)
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2/7/12 11:43 A

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I am new to the site. My calorie goals seem a bit higher than a lot of post I read. Mine is set at 1500-1850 a day. I can usually attain that with no problem as long as I avoid fast food places. I am just starting to change my eating habits again after losing 15 pounds and then regaining it after I got a car. Though now that I qualify for assistance through our department of economic security and am receiving a decent amount in nutrition benefits I can shop healthier. So will update everyone on my progress. I did it once before in a few months I know I can do 30lbs in 4 months. Just have to get the fitness in.

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LIZBOND SparkPoints: (0)
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1/14/12 6:18 P

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Also, try gluten free products. SOME of them have a lower carb and calorie count. My fav. spaghetti is corn pasta. Rice pasta is good for baking dishes.

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SNAPDRAGON04's Photo SNAPDRAGON04 Posts: 3,779
1/6/12 8:46 P

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The Carblovers cookbook from Health magazine has healthy recipes that often have a limited number of ingredients so they're pretty cheap. Cooking Light also has a budget cooking section every month...recipes that make 4 servings for under $10 total. If you go to the website and type "budget cooking" in the search the 1st link pulls up 100 recipes. You can search the Carblovers recipes on the Health website as well...so you don't have to spend money of the magazines.

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KIRSTAB's Photo KIRSTAB Posts: 538
1/6/12 11:08 A

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I "Strive for Five" with fruits and veggies and let the calories fall into place around that. The more fiberful foods you have, the longer you'll feel full and getting into the habit of 5 fruits and veggies a day is something that I can sustain when I'm in maintenance mode, vs being a slave to counting calories. If I get closer to 1550 calories because I had 6 servings of fruits and veggies, I'm fine with that! I've done the roller coaster where I lost a lot of weight being a slave to 1200 calories per day and then I gained it all back because I couldn't maintain that. I don't want to do that again so I'm all about finding something that I can maintain for good and lose weight in the process. More fruits and veggies help me with this!

KB


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MOMMY_LOVES_J's Photo MOMMY_LOVES_J SparkPoints: (0)
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1/5/12 4:48 P

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Hi MEOWZ3,
It sounds like your on the right track so don't be afraid to add additional fruits and vegetables to get the nutrition your body needs to metabolize and function. The rule of thumb I use is that snacks need to contain two food groups. So, apple and peanut butter; yogurt and banana, pretzels and milk. I feel more satisfied and fuller longer.
MOMMY_LOVES_J

Goal: Reach the 120's.

Strategy #1: Drink 8 cups of water daily.
Strategy #2: Get outside or on the treadmill daily.
Strategy #3: Only beverages in office.


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RENE.CICCONE's Photo RENE.CICCONE Posts: 11
1/5/12 12:00 P

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If you like tomato juice, the little cans of tomato juice or V8 are really good cold, low calorie, packed with lots of good vitamins and nutrients, and they help to reduce hunger.

I also love to use "Cook This Not That." A really good cookbook filled with really delicious ideas for meals under 300 calories. Of course, Sparkrecipes are great too!

Taraball - What popcorn are you eating? That sounds like a great option!

Edited by: RENE.CICCONE at: 1/6/2012 (11:19)
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LENKA763's Photo LENKA763 Posts: 2,395
1/5/12 9:10 A

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I'm not sure what is your activity level
maybe the lower end is not really your way to go

I eat a lot of food
but I workout a lot

breakfast is usually
oatmeal cooked in milk with fresh or frozen blueberries or banana, some type of nuts or flaxseeds
coffee
since i hit the gym usually in the morning I have no time for morning snack

lunch turkey burger, slice of cheese,small salad, whole wheat bun and piece of fruit
snack apple and vedge of cheese or yogurt
dinner similar to lunch

if I stick to one serving then I lose weight...
good luck

In dreams and in life, nothing is impossible.


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CD7183142 Posts: 395
1/4/12 6:00 P

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you can do it Meowz3 - it seems odd at first but it does get better. Have you ever tried Fiber One bars? they're 90 calories and soooo good....I also usually have 98% fat free popcorn for afternoon snack. 6 cups is 120 calories which is an entire bag....you cannot eat an entire bag and not feel full (unless you're my 7 yr old but that's a different story).

MEOWZ3 Posts: 11
1/4/12 3:29 P

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HI Guys!
I have just started recording my food intake yesterday and I'm kind of shocked at how much the very little i ate added up. My suggested calorie intake is 1200-1500 (trying to stay on the low side). I dont think i am eating that high of calorie foods either but it sure adds up. For instance, i had 1 hard boiled egg and cream of wheat for breakfast. Snacks have been 1 apple or a yogurt or a banana. (I've only eaten 1 fruit per day!) Lunch has been a Weight Watchers meal which is under around 240 calories. Dinner has been veggies and chicken or lean beef. Everything has been adding up to just over 1200 calories. I feel like i hardly have eaten anything! i'm afraid even to eat another piece of fruit. i know i cant starve myself because that affects your metabolism but it's almost easier to me to just not eat instead of plan your meals. Please send me some encouragement (and ideas) !!!!!!!!!!!

CD7183142 Posts: 395
1/4/12 10:34 A

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Hey All,

Thought I would throw in my 2 cents.
Jennybyway - that is amazing progress good job!

As for food and shopping on a budget - I do a lot of casseroles, I find you can stuff those suckers full of veggies (do NOT be afraid of frozen or canned they can be much less expensive than fresh) plus other goodies and a serving size is quite filling. Best of all you can freeze the leftovers for meals later. Any given time finds my freezer with 3 different casseroles that can feed me and my husband for a week or more.

My kids are special cases because of picky eating and special dietary needs so I won't talk about the amount we spend per week on food. I will say I buy a lot of bulk so we only have to pick up most meat and veggies every other week.

Good luck to you.

MY_THREE_SONS's Photo MY_THREE_SONS Posts: 32
1/3/12 9:29 P

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Hey JennyBWay! I just read your signature about your weight loss progress and I wanted to congratulate you! You are doing an amazing job! Keep it up1

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SNEAKYVEGAN's Photo SNEAKYVEGAN Posts: 215
1/3/12 1:26 P

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I don't use the menu planner. I work long hours and it's just not practical for me. I've spent time educating myself about nutrition, so that has helped me figure out what to eat. Spend some time reading sparkpeople articles, and a good rule of thumb is to get as little processed foods as possible.

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SARAHFATIH's Photo SARAHFATIH SparkPoints: (136,766)
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1/3/12 9:07 A

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I don't use the menu planner either. I think allowing yourself options is better for long term goals than to eat things you don't like for short term results. Eating what you usually would want, but watching portion sizes will be easier to stick to.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mahatma Gandhi

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
-- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Insist on yourself. Never imitate."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson


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KEENACECE SparkPoints: (0)
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1/3/12 5:05 A

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I don't like the meal planner so I don't use it. I do manually put in what I eat so I can track my food. I do use the sparkrecipes.com and find it helpful in giving me new ideas for meals. It even lets you save them to your own cookbook. It takes a little planning but if you make meals that re-use ingredients then you should do well with sticking to your budget. Also freeze things and it will help lower your budget in the future. I make things like chili, spaghetti sauce, taco meat and freeze what I'm not going to eat. Make sure to freeze in portion sizes so you don't have to defrost it all. I do things like this when ground beef is on sale. Good Luck

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SBOWIE-TH SparkPoints: (0)
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1/2/12 8:40 P

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Okay so I followed the spark menu thing for grocery shopping. It was under 67.00 with my Cats food included. So I think I did pretty good on shopping. I did have to curb on some things because they didn't have them so I had to substitute for others. I hope I get to my mark by June I hate being overweight!

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!


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1/2/12 11:47 A

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I found this helpful! :)

I hope it helps me! :)

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsou
rce/healthy-eating-plate/index.html

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!


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MOMIN09's Photo MOMIN09 Posts: 27,858
1/2/12 11:34 A

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I agree that the key is portion control.

-Nicole

CAMO Crew BLC32

1st Half Marathon Complete! 2:58:57
2nd Half Marathon Complete! 2:52:42
3rd Half Marathon Complete! 3:00:54
4th Half Marathon Complete! 3:31:24
5th Half Marathon Complete! 3:20:33

docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1x_Ri
UXtlL_7pwdrjflA5O7WZCBTTSZfgFS8UN2ReQ5
0/edit#gid=7


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JDUFORD's Photo JDUFORD Posts: 2,057
1/2/12 11:19 A

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Between coupons and sales, we spend about $150/month on groceries for a family of 5. We eat boneless skinless chicken breast that we get from $1.29-1.49/lb (bought in 10lb packages). Frozen broc. has been the veggie of choice lately. I'm allergic to many veggies and the fresh ones are too expensive right now. As far as fruit goes, we are eating clementines and apples. We buy US fruits and veggies only. We didn't have as profitable of a crop this year from our garden, but that may be and idea for you next year. We freeze and can as much as we can to save on our grocery bill.

I simplified my eating plan to make it cheaper and easier:

Breakfast Options:
1 - 1 slice toast with 1 TBSN Peanut Butter, a fruit and 8oz of 1% milk
2 - 1 slice toast with 1 TBSN AppleButter , a fruit, a hard-boiled egg, and 8oz of 1% milk
3 - 1 slice toast with 1 TBSN AppleButter, a fruit, 1 egg plain omelet, and 8oz of 1% milk
4 - 1 slice toast with 1 TBSN AppleButter, a fruit, 1 egg omelet with 1/2 slice 2% American cheese, and 8oz tea with 1 tsp sugar.

This gives me enough room that I don't feel like I'm eating the same thing every day, yet enough consistency that it doesn't change our grocery shopping.

Overall, you have to look at what your family normally eats, what you will eat, and make your plan around that.

Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health. - Julia Child


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1/2/12 11:13 A

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Thank you I find this helpful! :)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!


 current weight: 179.0 
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1/2/12 11:10 A

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Thank you! I am looking at this meal tracker and there are some good suggestions, but I am trying to figure out how I can do all this without draining my pocket! It seems so unrealistic! emoticon

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!


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JENNYBWAY's Photo JENNYBWAY Posts: 89
1/2/12 12:36 A

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For me, it doesn't matter what I eat. It matters how much I eat. I don't deprive myself of anything. I eat chocolate, cookies, ice cream... And have lost 110 lbs. the key is portion control. Example... Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 1 Tbsp of peanut butter, 1 Tbsp of jelly, one slice of high fiber nutritionally dense bread. Less than 250 calories. Filling, satisfying, etc...

Approx top weight : 300. Didn't weigh self
for many years prior to 2004
Weight in 2008 : 270
January 2011 : 217 August 2011 : 205
Oct. 21, 2011 : 200. Oct. 30, 2011 : 197
Dec. 2, 2011 : 197 Dec. 12, 2011 : 194
Dec. 15, 2011: 192 Dec. 16, 2011: 190
Feb. 6, 2012: 185
Sept. 15,2013: 230
Oct. 2014: 252. Jan 20,2015 236
Goal weight : 170 ( or less )


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MOMMY_LOVES_J's Photo MOMMY_LOVES_J SparkPoints: (0)
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1/2/12 12:12 A

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Great suggestions!


Goal: Reach the 120's.

Strategy #1: Drink 8 cups of water daily.
Strategy #2: Get outside or on the treadmill daily.
Strategy #3: Only beverages in office.


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ZINENIST's Photo ZINENIST Posts: 289
1/2/12 12:09 A

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Hey there. To get by with 60.00 I think you might have to ignore the spark meal plan. I don't use it anyways and on my last go around ( when I lost 40+lbs) we were spending $55 per week for a family of three.

The key is to plan you meals and reuse what you can. You can get a whole chicken or chicken breasts for 1.25-1.99 per lb at Winco, which is a bag your own grocery store. With 5 lbs of chicken, black beans, tomatoes, artichoke, Parmesan, light mayo, salsa, lettuce, sour cream, eggs, and light tortillas you can make a lot of meals like:

Chicken & black bean tacos
SW chicken salad
Chicken, Parmesan, and artichoke wraps
Chicken ceaser salad
Chicken cob salad
Hard boiled eggs for snacks
Etc.

For breakfast I normally just eat oatmeal (1.50 for a pack of 8) or cereal and a banana (52c per lb!).

You'll need some misc produce too for snacks. I go with what's in season or cheap ( carrots, pears right now). If you have kids and lunches to worry about you can buy some lunch meat and reuse the tortillas and make wraps with cucumber and sprouts.

Also, if chicken isn't that cheap where you are at consider a pork roast. The cheap cuts are normally leaner and run around 1.50-2.00 per lb. you can turn this into pulled pork sandwiches ( this normally lasts a few nights), pork enchalldas ( less cheese for less calories), sw pork salad, shredded pork tacos, pork roast with potatoes and carrots.


Good luck!

Wherever you go, there you are.


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1/1/12 11:33 P

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I don't know what to eat and I refuse to spend over 60.00 on groceries. I understand this site has a meal plan but I am starting to feel a bit discouraged by all of it! "Not giving up!" But I am so confused!

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!


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