low carb on a budget(8 Posts)
Dh and I have both been on and off low carbers for many years. We know from experience that it works. My current issue is that I am struggling to fit this woe into our current budget. Dh earns an okay salary, I am a Sahm and we live in an expensive city in an expensive country (France).
For a while we put budgetary concerns at the top of our list - lo ts of carbs to bulk out meals. And we both steadily gained weight. About for months ago we decided tswitch back to low carb. We have steadily lost weight but our food bills have increased by about one third! We just can't afford to sustain that. And even at that we eat cheaper meats - sausages, fatty mince etc. We never eat steak or fish - just way to expensive.
So I'm looking for tips on how to do it cheaply. I know it's an investment in my future health etc but we simply cannot afford it as it is at present. And eating more protein is one thing - but eating sausages and mince all the time can't be the best alternative!
Eat less meat? I'm attempting it as a vegetarian (though I'll admit I'm not very successful yet) but I don't eat meat or fish, rather eggs and cheese. Must be cheaper than meat every meal?
Some cheaper meals could be Omelette with salad, Tuna (in the can) with salad, Roasted vegetables with garlic salt on them, Cauliflower with melted cheese. Just have meat now and again. What about buying chicken (whole or fillets) from the freezer and defrosting, works out cheaper than fresh. Frozen fish is usually cheaper than fresh too.Good luck!
I would hope in France you would be able to buy and eat green veg and some more green veg! But red, yellow, orange or purple veg it's wonder'fill' too!
My rule of thumb is forget about counting calories or carbs! If you need to loose weight: grains, sugar and legumes need to go and starches should be in moderation (carrot is better than a potato ).
I'm just outside Paris and in the market today I saw:
- really meaty chicken wings at 2e a kilo. Fantastic roasted and dunked in mustard mayo
- enormous turkey legs for 4.50/kg. They'd feed you for several days
- mackerel for 2.40/kg, plus other fish bargains. I like mackerel asian-style with soy, ginger, garlic and lime. Trout are delicious with butter, capers and lime juice. Tonight I'm baking some merlan with herbs and a few cherry tomatoes to eat with courgettes slow-fried in basil oil
- baskets of 8 small ripe avocados for 2e. Ditto mushrooms that need eating soon. They often have baskets of peppers, aubergines etc which can be roasted (you may need to cut out the odd bit that's going mushy) to be eaten cold with antipasti-type things for breakfast or lunch
If you have a freezer, Picard have some good deals too:
- 4 pork chops (off the bone) for 6.50. These go well with their celeriac puree, or their pumpkin puree, both of which are much easier and cheaper than making it yourself
- 10 turkey fillets (ie breast cut into portion sizes). We have these fried with mozzarella, pesto and griddled aubergine slices (from the veg section) and tomato sauce and green beans (also frozen). Alternatively try them cut up and fried with tarragon mustard, cream and mushrooms.
- boxes of 10 steak hachés for ?6e
- There are usually seasonal offers on, eg over Easter they were doing legs of lamb for about 13e.
Also: Monoprix usually discount their Label Rouge, ie free range, chickens 2-3 days before the sell-by date, depending on stock levels, 1st thing in the morning. I always pick one up for the freezer when I see one. It'll do a roast meal, a salad (with avocado and bacon to bulk it out) and then stock for soup. It's worth looking out for knocked-down smoked salmon and trout for the freezer too. I got some BOGOF frozen salmon last week: not as nice as the fresh stuff by itself but fine in a coconut/thai curry sauce with green veg.
Lastly, Lidl is good for cold meats and cheeses. I bulk-buy their mozzarella and parma ham to have with some veg for a quick meal.
I'm also a SAHM. My twin buggy won't fit on the metro but if you fancy meeting for a low-carb picnic (ever been to Parc de Sceaux? It's wonderful. Alternatively what about the park by Notre Dame?) let me know. We are probably due a Paris meet-up one of these days too.
thereistheball that market sounds amazing.
This may sound a bit extreme but another option is to look at adding in a bit of fasting; quite a few primal style low carbers do this so it would involve skipping breakfast or dinner twice a week, this will save a little money and may have health benefits. John Briffa who wrote escape the diet trap only eats 2 meals most days.
I love tinned mackerel in olive oil as a cheaper option. Also if you poach a whole chicken its easier to get more of the meat of the bones and you can use the paoching liquid for stock, you can even reboil the bones and make more stock but I'm not sure how economical it is once you factor in the hob.
Thanks all, especially thereistheball, that was an inspiring list! I think part of the problem is that I have v got into a real rut of cooking the same things all the time, especially trying to find things that the children will eat too and b which can be crammed into the few minutes a day that I have available to cook.
I'm not in Paris, in Lyon, and we have fab markets , which are great for choice and economy. I just don't seem to get to them very consistently these days! My youngest starts maternelle in Sept, so things should improve then.
Onwards and upwards!
no problem! for some reason, I read that you were in Paris.
DH isn't well today and he devoured the salmon/thai curry paste/coconut milk (Picard)/aubergine (picard)/green bean (anywhere) concoction that came entirely from the freezer. It was really good.
That said I ate lunch from a vending machine today (1x packet crisps, 1x small packet plain biscuits, water. They really were the best of some bad options) so I am not one to lecture about low-carbing. I do feel better when I do it though. I find the best way is to buy the protein (and freeze if necessary, eg it's on its sell-by date) then plan around it. Good luck!
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