Many folks who are trying to whittle their waistlines are finding their wallets are taking a bit of whittling as well. The reason? Unhealthy diets don’t take a lot of thought. A healthy diet needs a wiser shopping plan and more informed choices than an unhealthy diet.

When shopping on a budget, you may be tempted to load up on inexpensive prepackaged foods. But, your diet will suffer. Those foods are filled with fat, sugar, and empty calories. You may be surprised to find out that you can easily recreate a favorite dish with healthy foods at less cost and with more nutrition.

Shopping wisely will make the difference. Instead of grabbing the first inexpensive food item on the grocery shelf, stop and think about the alternatives. Eating a healthy, nutritious diet doesn’t have to be expensive. In other words, you can watch your diet without breaking your budget. Let’s look at how we can do this.

Cut Out The Junk – Your budget is instantly back on track when you cut out the junk or snack food. When you keep those chips and soft drinks out of your cart you automatically save both money and your diet.

Smaller Portions – Some weight loss programs suggest portion control. Take smaller servings to help reduce not only calories, but money at the grocery store. Cooking smaller quantities translates into smaller grocery bills.

Beans, Peas, And Lentils – Eating these alternative sources of protein is a great money saver. Why? Because these alternatives are a lot less expensive than meat, chicken, or fish. The bonus is that they also serve as a vegetable serving and are packed with fiber. Plan two or three meals each week with these proteins and your budget will love you – and your diet will too.

Whole Rice And Pasta – You can stretch a meal inexpensively while eating healthy when you choose long grain or brown rice and whole wheat pasta. They are both nutrient rich and fairly inexpensive. Whole grains are more filling than the fluffy white type, so it takes less to make a meal satisfying. Less means more in this case.

Veggies And Fruit – You no doubt have been eating more veggies and fruit since you’ve been trying to improve your diet. If the cost has you wondering about cutting back, you don’t have to. Shop wisely! Buy fruits and vegetables that are locally grown or in season. When the prices jump, buy frozen fruits and veggies. They are frozen with very little processing at peak times so they are as good as fresh. Skip the fruit and vegetable drinks as you’ll be paying more and some of that money is going for water, sugar, and other additives. Just a good old bag of apples and oranges is cheaper and better for you.

Eggs Any Time – Find some good recipes for egg casseroles and skillet dishes and enjoy! Be creative and serve eggs in a variety of ways so you don’t lose interest or get tired of them. Eggs are inexpensive and nutritious so serving them one or two times a week for dinner is a good way to stay on your diet and save your budget. Look for strata recipes and rice dishes that use eggs and fresh ingredients to stretch your dollars.

Meat, Chicken, And Seafood – This is normally where people on a budget start to fret. Inexpensive meat is hard to find in the lean cuts. But, with a little bit of trimming, you can turn an inexpensive piece of meat into a fat reduced cut. Choose chicken breasts with the bones in and skin on, then just remove the skin and pull out the bone. Fish in season will be less expensive and canned fish is normally a great value. Stock up on tuna canned in water when you find a sale and you’ll always have fish in the house for a nutritious meal.

Healthy food does not have to be expensive when you know how to shop. Avoiding junk food and prepackaged foods will immediately save you money, along with calories and fat. Shop wisely and save money while you diet. Your wallet, and waistline, will thank you.

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