You know what the best and worst foods for weight loss are. Knowledge isn’t keeping you from adopting a healthier diet—it’s having the discipline to curb your cravings, set the time to meal prep, and shop smarter for groceries.
Luckily there are simple lifestyle tweaks and hacks that make all of the above just a bit easier. Give ’em a shot.
1. Don’t eat out
Fast food can seem super cheap with things like the Dollar Menu or coupons for 2-for-1 burgers and shakes. Why bother cooking when you can shell out a couple bucks and eat without the mess, right? The fact is eating out’s actually not cheaper than going to the grocery store and cooking a meal for yourself. For example, you can buy a package of raw chicken thighs for about $5. That one package of chicken can be used in three or four meals. Cooking for yourself is a little more work, but becoming self-sufficient and learning is a much better use of your time and money. Same goes for eating out at sit-down restaurants. Nine times out of 10, you’ll save money and eat fewer calories if you stay home.
2. Cut down on meat, make more veggies
Most meals, especially dinners, focus on meat as the main source of protein. But meat’s expensive—especially red meat. To cut down on costs, eat less meat per meal. To get your protein quota, rely more on beans, nuts, and eggs. These options offer a bevy of health benefits and fill you up (research found beans are actually more filling than meat). Shop around for more cheap, protein-filled foods.
Put a greater emphasis on in-season fruits and vegetables, too. You can shop fresh produce when it’s on sale or opt for frozen products. Because these foods are processed right after they’ve been harvested, most of the nutrients have been preserved. Plus, they tend to be cheaper. Check out which fruits and vegetables are in season by visiting fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.
3. Drop your bad habits to be healthy
Junk food isn’t doing your wallet or belly any favors. One of the easiest ways to cut back on your food bill is to stop buying soda. It provides basically no nutritional value, and has a ton of sugar. Do the same with alcohol, cigarettes, as well as sugary items like cookies and candy. Nix them and you’ll trim the fat off your everyday expenses—well, that and your waistline.