Dieting on a Budget

Whenever I engage in a conversation with friends or colleagues around dieting I am almost guaranteed to hear the word ‘expensive’ – and rightly so. Choosing the healthier options at restaurants and revolving your shopping list entirely around healthy foods can be expensive. But it does not have to be – and you should not be spending more than $100 (AUD) per week on food.

Over the years I have changed, but more importantly refined, my diet. Originally I was shopping with the idea that leading an active and healthy lifestyle had to be done via salads and exotics super-foods. I would spend anywhere from $170 – $190 (AUD) per week on food. Which is outrageous and quite frankly unsustainable.

It got to a point where dieting was more stress than it was enjoyable. So I made it my mission to redesign my diet to fit a budget. I started off with setting up my macros with a 45% carbs, 45% protein and 10% fat split on a 2100 calorie diet. This told me exactly how much food I was going to need which became a pivotal factor in ensuring I am not buying excess food and letting it go to waste. After setting up my macros I then looked at what foods I could use to maximise my macros. I started with basic foods such as chicken, bacon, eggs, spinach, mushrooms, sweet potato, frozen vegetables, apples, oats, almonds, bananas and chobani (greek yogurt) capped off with some dark chocolate and a scotch fillet for when those cravings kicked in. I was able to pick up these items for under $95 (AUD) each week.

Once I had the fundamentals it was time to get creative. I researched various recipes so I could utilise the ingredients I had without getting bored with it all. But I must confess I am a creature of habit and am happy having the same thing over and over again. Nevertheless, the key factor was that I now had a basis for what foods my diet would entail.

To keep your grocery expenses to a minimum you need to plan out your shopping list. This way when you get to the grocery store you are shopping with your brain and not your stomach. Too often we get caught in the trap of seeing delicious items on special – but it all adds up and is just as bad for your physique as it is your wallet. So before you reach the shops know what it is you need (not want) and I promise that you will be able to minimise costs.

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