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To think it is much harder to lose weight

49 replies

NutElla5x · 11/10/2018 10:49

if you are on a tight food budget.Lean mince for example costs 3 times as much as the fatty stuff.Chicken breasts over twice the price of a fatty thigh.Fish is very expensive,unless it's the frozen battered kind.An apple twice as much as a packet of crisps from a multi pack.Olive oil and Fry Light cost lots more than your standard vegetable oil.Unhealthy options like frozen pizza and oven chips are dirt cheap compared to a healthy meal of say lean meat and two veg.Even reduced sugar baked beans are more expensive than your bog standard own brand beans.I'm aiming to lose another two stone(lost 1 already since July),but as a single mum-with three (slim) kids to feed -working a minimum wage job- I'm finding it a struggle,so am basically just not eating through out the day and saving all my calories for my one evening meal.I'm aware this isn't a healthy way to diet though, & to be honest don't feel too great-can sometimes get cranky with hunger and also feel a bit shaky at times, so if anyone has any tips/suggestions/ on how to eat healthily on a budget I'b be grateful to hear them Smile

OP posts:
NutElla5x · 11/10/2018 10:51

By the way I'm off to work soon,but will read any replies this evening so don't think I'm ignoring you. Grin

OP posts:
sharkirasharkira · 11/10/2018 11:00

I agree, however there are ways around it, mainly batch cooking and portion control but it is difficult. Veggie stuff is always cheaper but not always as satisfying if you are used to meat!

ChelleDawg2020 · 11/10/2018 11:03

YANBU. Despite what privileged people claim, healthy food is more expensive than unhealthier alternatives, especially when you talk about single person portions.

Witchofwisteria · 11/10/2018 11:07

Hi OP, I feel your pain. I dont think sometimes its that healthy food costs more, I think (personally) I resent buying it more because - lets face it a banana is not as enjoyable as a 99p chicken mayo from McDonalds!

I follow slimming world and they have lots of good suggestions for people on a tight budget. Perhaps a few things you could try though are:

Having 2 meals a week that are meat free: ie, veg and noodle stir frys, vegetable pastas - so like pasta and meatballs type of sauce but with no meatballs, jacket potato and beans etc, peppers stuffed with dry packet golden rice (the white packet own brand one), eggs chips (but cut up potatos and fried not oven chips) and veg or beans.

Try the virtually fat free dry pasta sachets but shop for them and buy the fake ones in Aldi or Lidl, Its a massive filling bowl of pasta for about 39p.

Buy the cheap fruit and veg: yes fruit it expensive if you insist on only eating berry types but things like satsumas, certain apples and bananas are not that dear.

Try Aldi shopping, they highlight 5 differnt types of fruit and veg each week and make it mega cheap like a cabbage for 29p.

Honestly I seriously advise slimming world if you are looking to gain some tips and get an idea of a solid diet plan which is well balanced and substantial.

Deedee248 · 11/10/2018 11:08

I totally agree. In our local supermarket, you can buy a packet of 6 doughnuts for well under £1. I have lost a couple of stone over the last couple of years, and am determined to keep it off. However, I really like all nuts except peanuts which I loathe (as I was sick after eating too many as a child). If I want a snack such as cashew nuts which I love, they are just a crazy price. Even pink lady apples, which are my favourite average 50p each. Or, as I say, I can buy an entire pack of doughnuts for a lot less than a pack of either cashews or pink lady apples. No wonder we are such an obese nation. We are surrounded by high sugar high fat 'snacks' rather than something healthy.

Ariela · 11/10/2018 11:33

Less is more. So buy the lean mince/chicken that tastes nicer but cook less of it, fill out the meal with more veg. Buy a big pack of fruit with the longest sell by date and allow 1 a day. Don't use any oil, saute don't fry.

If you've a real butcher, get him to cut off any fatty bits before weighing - it'll work out cheaper than most standard supermarket fare but taste nicer so you don't need as much = cheaper.

If you've a real greengrocer, or market stall see if they've any cheap/free damaged stuff - make soup. or buy as they're closing up, prices are reduced to save taking it back with them. Same with fishmonger, this reminds me of my poor student era when I could buy tail end market veg and fish on a Saturday about 4.30pm and have a decent meal for about 25p!

Smaller plate looks more satisfying, and makes a smaller portion look bigger.
Porridge is a good cheap staple for breakfast that keeps you going for much of the day.

Well done on the weight loss so far.

WasabiSpring · 11/10/2018 12:00

I agree on the packing meat out with extra ingredients. I buy a massive bag of spinach and another of kale each week and handfuls of them go into pretty much everything. Or I use lentils if suitable to add meat to. It helps to bulks stuff out and has the added bonus of getting extra vegetables down my child since I shred it so he can't pick it out.

Another thing I tend to do is buy a whole chicken and annihilate it for every bit possible, up to and including using the bones for bone broth. I can get at least four batch cooked meals out of one and then add bone broth into a load of other stuff (I freeze it using ice cube trays). You can get an organic one for £6 in Lidl so it does work out over a week or two.

But I agree it is really hard on a budget.

Jamboree05 · 11/10/2018 12:03

It is tricky, but I've noticed things like a whole chicken is £2.75 in sainsburys as opposed to breasts which are around the same price and thighs which are marginally cheaper. We have started buying a whole chicken and planning food for three nights with it which has cut out food bill massively.

Nuts are something of a no no really if your on a budget but there are plenty of healthier alternatives to crisps (popcorn, rice cakes, etc.)

It can be done you just need to be savvy.

LaurieMarlow · 11/10/2018 12:11

Veg protein is cheaper than meat (and healthier). Lentils, chickpeas, beans. Add to curries, casseroles, pasta, sauce.

If you have the time, make healthy treats like flapjacks rather than buying donuts/biscuits.

LividAtDolphins · 11/10/2018 12:11

Lean mince for example costs 3 times as much as the fatty stuff

Don't buy either. Simple.

Stonebake · 11/10/2018 12:14

Have you thought about doing intermittent fasting? I loved it when I did it and it saves you money! I did 16:8 and that was enough for me to lose some weight when I needed to and I didn’t have to buy any “diet food”. I noticed that every tome I tried a “diet” I ended up having to do a whole food shop for the occasion. Stupid and expensive.

Lots of people successfully combine 16:8 with 5:2. There is a good support thread on here somewhere too.

Stonebake · 11/10/2018 12:15


I love your username!

Villainelle · 11/10/2018 12:16

Fatty meat is more filling though so a casserole made with chicken thighs although a bit more calorific would satisfy you and stop you from reaching for expensive diet snacks later.
Quorn mince is cheap. I think the freezer is your friend when eating on a budget.

Thomlin · 11/10/2018 12:18

God i could cry at some of what you've posted. High fat foods do not make you fat!!

pandarific · 11/10/2018 12:21

Though you're not incorrect op, you can still lose weight eating the chicken thighs and ordinary mince - meat is generally low calorie and you wouldn't have put on the weight from eating it (in my own case it's always been the rubbish that's done it!).

Just buy the normal meat imo, it will save you some money which you can spend on extra veg and fruit etc.

Beechview · 11/10/2018 12:22

You’re right but there’s nothing wrong with using chicken thighs instead of breast or normal mince instead of lean, if you’re not eating too much of it.
You can use a tablespoon of normal veg oil in a family meal and it’s not that much.
A lot of fresh and frozen veg is fairly cheap so just eat a lot of that.
You’d still lose weight as long as you were controlling the amount you’re eating.

Wolfiefan · 11/10/2018 12:26

You need to rethink your approach to weight loss and update your thinking.
Olive oil isn’t a light alternative to veg oil.
Buy the chicken thighs. But eat less.
Bulk out the expensive mince with lentils or veg or brown the fatty stuff off then drain the fat.

SolemnlySwear2010 · 11/10/2018 12:27

I have found that using the butcher counters in Tesco actually is cheaper than getting the pre-packed mince etc.

It is usually around £4 for 500g of mince but from the counter it costs around £2.50 - plus we never use 500g so i am able to buy slightly less (usually around 350g/400g) and bulk it out using veg instead which has the added benefit of making it healthier

Bloomcounty · 11/10/2018 12:32

You're right, OP. It's massively harder, because most of the factors that make healthy food cheaper involve buying in larger packs (harder to carry 5kg of dried lentils on a bus than in a car), storing stuff in a freezer, unlimited money to spend on actual cooking costs (dried beans are cheap but they can take hours to cook) and perhaps access to a local farm shop. It's tough.

Have you looked at Jack Monroe's website?

Bloomcounty · 11/10/2018 12:38

I eke our mince out with lentils. Most of the time, I buy turkey thigh mince - it's cheaper than the breast mince, a fraction of the cost of the beef mince and makes fantastic burgers, chilli, bolognaise and cottage pie. I can get spag bol, chilli and a cottage pie out of a 500g pack (there's just two adults here) if I add loads of cheap veg, cheap red kidney beans, some lentils - I basically tart it up with cheap ingredients as it develops from one recipe to the next.

I buy a sack of potatoes from our farm shop when it opens in November. I get a 25kg sack for a fiver, and I'm lucky enough to have a cool store room to keep them in. That sack does us until at least mid January. But, I live rurally, I have a car, and a farm shop to use. Do you have anything locally like a farm shop, or a farmers market? Some of the stalls will be selling pricey stuff, but there's bound to be a veg supplier.

delilahbucket · 11/10/2018 12:39

I think you are looking at this all wrong op. Yes, lean meat is cheaper, because it doesn't shrink considerably when you cook it because it doesn't leech out fat. Use less of the better quality meat. Frozen veg is a lot cheaper than fresh. Frozen fish is cheaper, and not of the battered variety. Making your own chips is cheaper. Eggs are cheap, low fat and really filling. In fact, making your own stuff in general is cheaper because it is more filling so you eat less of it and snacks become unnecessary. If you fill yourself with cheap processed food you are going to be hungry more often and eat more of it. False economy.
Ok, so all of these things take time, and as working single parent, I appreciate that's tough. It is doable though. The kids can pitch in around the house and older ones with cooking. Batch cook stuff and freeze it for days when you will be shorter on time. I used to spend a few hours on a Sunday cooking up things to eat midweek because I didn't get in from work until 6:30 and at that point I had a hungry toddler to feed. Not ideal, but that was just what I had to do as a single parent.

AamdC · 11/10/2018 12:44

I dont think so im on a busget. A d i have to lose about 5/6 stone im.doing slimming world and im shopping at ice landi buy big packets of chicken breast 5kgfor £20 anyway which are skinlesz and buy the low fat mince etc salad is cheap you can use frozen veg its a lot more preparation and more time consuming though!


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DistanceCall · 11/10/2018 12:44

There's no such thing as "healthy" (or "unhealthy") food. There is such a thing as eating more or less healthily - which means eating all kinds of things, in moderation. So you can eat healthily and eat cake sometimes. You can even lose weight eating cake sometimes.

If you want to lose weight, you need to consumer fewer calories - and presumably, you also want to have a more or less healthy diet doing that.

You don't have to buy more expensive food to do that. It's a matter of planning your calories and your nutrients. If you have a smartphone, I have found the Lose It! app to be really useful for this (and it's free).

AnotherPidgey · 11/10/2018 12:46

I think some of your examples such as the chicken thigh or mince are poor examples. There is little difference between thighs and breast for weightloss and as PPs have said, a whole chicken is better value. The mince can be browned with excess fat drained away. Bulking out with lentils is good value and healthy. Tinned fish such as tuna is also healthy and cheap. Frozen fish is cheaper than fresh. Indeed frozen veg is cheap and convenient.

An apple will fill you for longer than the crisps because of the fibre content.

On the face of it, it is certainly true that calorie dense, low nutrition foods are cheaper than natural or homemade alternatives, but one of the reasons that they lead to weight gain is because they are digested quickly and aren't filling so you eat more of them. They are often a false economy.

The majority of people don't need "diet" variations such as the reduced sugar/ salt baked beans. In a generally balanced diet, the standard product is absolutely fine. Whole versions of food will usually satisfy the appetite for longer so a standard yoghurt containing fats would be better than a low fat yoghurt bulked up with thickeners and sweetners. Full fat milk is 4% fat making it a low fat product in its own right! There is a huge amount of gimmicks in the food/ diet industry.

To lose weight, eat a range of foods across the food groups including plenty of fruit and veg, protein and complex carbs. Sensible portion sizes so you have a deficit. Avoid over processed substitutes.

Dontfeellikeamillenial · 11/10/2018 12:47

Cheap I. E. Crap food is cheap for sure.

Veg, pulses, eggs are not. As a pp says but cheaper cuts of meat and learn to cook them. Make chicken stock. Make Dahl and casseroles. Omelets. Baked stuffed potatoes.

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