Howdy Friday Peeps!
You know I’ve been getting myself back into the swing of things diet-wise, but talking to others I’ve been shocked by how much they spend on diet foods and such… If you can afford it and want to do it then good for you, but I could never bring myself to pay for one of those branded smoothie makers or meals to be sent to your home.
So here are my top tips to beat the £30 diet trap (Average UK cost of diet foods when starting a new plan):
- Plan Ahead: This applies to your shopping, meals and treats. Plan your meals (all the better if you have some left over for next day’s lunch), this will also help you plan your shopping list. Don’t shop when you’re hungry because you will buy junk (I speak from experience). Plan for days when you know it will be tricky (birthdays etc) by being extra strict before and after.
- Exercise: (still working on this one) Find something you enjoy and do lots of it! If it’s cheap or free like walking, swimming or aerobic DVDs at home, then all the better. If you need equipment look for second hand or shop the sales…also you can buy it as you need it; you won’t need a full set of hiking gear for your first walk…probably just a water bottle and a raincoat. You won’t need a full set of weights if you’ve never lifted before….you get the idea. You can also build free exercise into your daily routine; take the stairs, get off the bus a stop early etc.
- Brown-Bag it: I guarantee you can make a salad cheaper than you can buy one at work. You can use last night’s dinner leftovers for lunch, you can buy or make a healthy soup… £5 lunch per day is over £1000 for the working year! Leftovers come out of your grocery budget and most soups and salads can be under £1 including accompaniments.
- Don’t Be Fooled: I watched the series ‘Eat Well For Less’ last year and the nutritionist on that did a brilliant segment on how superfoods are nonsense…it’s true. There is no nutritional classification for superfoods. Yes, blueberries and goji berries are good for you, but no better than any other red or purple fruit…so if it’s cheaper to buy cranberries, cherries or raspberries, then buy those. Shop by colour for similar vitamin content, get a good range and ignore the sales-pitch labels. (Incidentally, the same woman did a whole other segment on diet foods being bad for you and poor value.) Tip: buy in season for the best prices, you can always freeze it. Any fruit and veg will be good for you; if you only buy apples, bananas and carrots (all very cheap) then you’ll still be better nourished than if you buy snack-foods.
- Easy Saves: You can reuse a drinks bottle or buy a cheap flask. I recently bought a diary for pence (as we’re a month into the year they are practically giving them away) but even at its full retail price, it would be cheaper than a food diary. I had a fab little food diary when I did Rosemary Conley where you put in your food and calories, water, exercise, goals and weight…I looked online and they’re all over a fiver…so I got a blank day-to-view diary and wrote the categories in for myself…for less than a quarter of the price!
So I hope that helps you to save instead of splurging on diet fads, and encourages those of you who (used to) believe you had to buy weight-watchers or Jenny Craig meals to succeed- you don’t need tons of money to do this!
Good luck in your health goals!