Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Weight Loss/Healthy Eating On Budget!

10-28-2008, 03:04 PM
Hello. :) This is only my 2nd post but I think it has A LOT to do with why I cannot stay on a plan and stick to it.

I am on a budget. I just started learning how to budget actually, lol. I don't have to be but I choose to for simple reasons.

What comes easy to me is making menus and/or meal plans in advance, shopping by them, and following a schedule. I like things organized. But, how do you eat healthy & lose weight (like you want to!!), feed a man, and not burn your wallet? I do have some food aversions from my struggle in the past so it does make things a little complicated. My husband is pretty ... simple. He likes fruits, veggies (some), and meat except pork or fish as well. He eats breakfast/lunch at work.

When I was seeing the Diet Dr. I felt like I was always in the kitchen preparing my breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and then dinner for us. The only meal I don't mind taking longer to prepare or cook is dinner. The others, I need time away from the kitchen during the day, unlike my previous weight loss plan. I'm also not great at buying in bulk, or making meals in advance. It sucks! :(

Any ideas on losing weight with a budget?

10-28-2008, 03:14 PM
We have many, many previous threads on this.

10-28-2008, 03:25 PM
Great, thanks hon!! I'm liking this site even more. There's so much to read and so much to take in, lol.

10-28-2008, 03:55 PM
Definitely read the previous threads - and keep searching. There's so much good info.

I'm a big believer in prepping and planning. I do most of my meal prep on Sunday night to get things ready for the week ahead. Now that it's winter, I also make lots of soups, stews, chillis, and casseroles that can be cooked in the crock pot or simmered on the stove all Sunday and then dipped into all week for meals.

Oh, and welcome to 3FC!!! :)


10-28-2008, 04:05 PM
Thanks Chick!

Do you have any healthy, inexpensive recipes for your soups, chili's and casseroles? I'm trying to keep on the budget for just my husband & I, which is filling for the both of us but helpful for me to lose weight. My husband doesn't need to lose any.

I'm still browsing. I'm going to be here for hours, hahaha! I really should get off my butt (I find every excuse NOT to) but this site is really cool!

10-28-2008, 04:59 PM
I tend to cook by eye and taste, so my recipes reflect a lot of "guesstimate" measurements. :)

Tonight I'm making chili for dinner and it'll be something like this:
* 1lb Ground Beef 93% Lean
* 1lb Ground turkey, 93% lean
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 6oz cans tomato paste
* 8 cups water
* 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
* 2 tsp vinegar
* 2 tbsp chili powder
* 1 tsp ground Cumin
* 10 whole allspice
* 3-4 dried chilies
* 1 bay leaf
* 2-3 cans Bush's Pinto Beans (or an equivalent volume of home cooked beans)

Brown the meat. Push it off to the side of hte pan and add the onion and garlic and let that cook until onion is translucent. Add tomato paste and water. Mix well. Add the Worcestershire, vinegar, chili powder, cumin. Bring to a boil. Put the allspice, chilies and bay leaf into a spice ball and drop that in the mix. Lower to simmer and cook for about 1 hour - then remove the spice ball. Continue simmering for as long as you like (the longer you simmer, the better it'll be) - I usually let it simmer on low for 2 or so hours. When you're ready to serve, add the beans (drained and rinsed). This makes 8 HUGE portions at about 240 cals per bowl.


My pinto bean soup is also sort of a catchall recipe:
1 small (I think it's a 15 oz bag but I'm not sure) bag pinto beans, rinsed and soaked for at least 4 hours
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 ham bone from Honeybaked Ham (they sell them for about $5 each)
8-10 cups of water

Simmer the hambone in the water for 2-ish hours. Strain the water and KEEP it. Set the bone and bits of meat aside. Saute the onion and garlic in the bottom of a large pot (I use a little bit of olive oil here - not even a full Tblspn). Add the beans and stir around. Pour in the broth from the ham bone. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. While the beans are cooking, pick the rest of the meat off the ham bone and pick out the fat. Keep the meat set aside for now. Cook the beans until done (for me that's about 2ish hours - some people like their beans mushier or firmer, it's all up to you. Add the meat back into the soup and heat through. This also makes about 8 large portions for about 120 cals a bowl. It's VERY filling.


Tuna or Chicken Noodle Casserole - again a lot depends on what you have in the fridge/pantry
1 large can chunk white tuna or white chicken breast, drained.
6 oz whole wheat rotini (cooked almost done)
2-3 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 T olive oil
1 can Healthy Choice cream of mushroom soup
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (I hate low fat cheese, so I use the real stuff and deal with the calories, but you can use low fat - how much cheese you use depends on your taste as well)

Cook the rotini until almost but not quite done. Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the olive oil until tender. (Here is where the catchall part comes in - sometimes I'll throw some spinach in there to saute as well, or shredded carrots, or broccoli, or whatever other veggies I happen to have on hand.) Mix all the ingredients together except the cheese. Put everything in a 9x9 square baking dish, top with the cheese and bake in a 400 oven until it's all bubbly and starting to brown. Makes 9 servings (cut into 3" squares) at about 200 calories per square. Also very filling - one of these and a salad is a yummy dinner.


Really a lot of the time I just throw stuff together in a casserole dish and add different spices and see what turns up. I buy canned tuna and canned chicken in bulk from Sam's Club or Costco and it saves a huge amount of money. You can throw together chicken or tuna salad for sandwiches, casseroles, add them to soups, etc.


10-28-2008, 06:19 PM
I wonder if I could change up the chili and add chicken instead? I wonder if that would taste the same? It all sounds wonderful, though. I'd like to only spend maybe $60-70 on actual grocery items per week if that is at all possible AND still lose the weight? (does not include other necessities) I'm only feeding 2! lol

I will have to definitely try a recipe or 2. Thanks a bunch! What do you generally do for your lunches and/or breakfast and snacks?

By the way, I see your weight loss ticker. Congratulations on that kind of weight loss!! I'd love to find (if its on here) or hear your story sometime. I want to lose about 60lbs. I don't have "mini-goals" - I want the full enchilada & am going for it! I'll probably shop this weekend!

10-28-2008, 06:28 PM
Thanks! :) It's been a long journey. I don't think I've ever posted my "whole story" - but bits and pieces of it here and there. Maybe someday I'll do something more cohesive on my blog ... something to think about now that the weather is colder and I can snuggle down in front of the fireplace with my laptop! A project for the early winter! :)

I think you could quite easily do it on $60-$70 per week, feeding 2. And I've made the chili with chicken before - although generally I do more of a "white" chili with chicken - with navy beans and chopped green chilis and so on. Like I said, I tend to experiment with my cooking.

I'm pretty routine for my breakfast/lunch/snacks. I have some standard go-to items that I rotate.

Breakfast is one of the following:
homemade yogurt with frozen fruit (usually blueberries)
1/2 peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread or muffin
serving of steel cut oats with cheese
Scrambled egg or fried egg and whole grain muffin (mostly on the weekends)

Morning snack is one of the following:
Fage yogurt w/ honey or jam
Apple w/ cheese
banana w/ peanut butter

Lunch is one of the following:
Leftovers from the night before
Big salad with grilled chicken breast (I tend to grill a bunch of breasts at once for the week)
Soup of some kind (I like to make a batch of butternut squash soup and eat it for lunches through the week)
Tuna salad on wasa crackers
Turkey sandwich on whole grain (lettuce, tomato, mustard, avocado sometimes)
Eating out with a friend (I know all the low cal options at the restaurants around my office!)

Afternoon snack is one of the following:
Boiled egg
Wasa crackers w/ laughing cow cheese
veggies and hummus

Post workout:
scoop of protein powder. If I have extra calories, I'll mix it in juice or milk, otherwise in water.

Anything goes (foodwise, not calorie wise). I like a lot of variety. I subscribe to a lot of food blogs, collect cookbooks, read cooking magazines. I grill a lot and really enjoy cooking new things. I'm pretty good at tweaking recipes to be healthier and I think it's a lot of fun, so really you never know what I might be eating for dinner.
Standbys are soup, chili, casseroles, anything in the crockpot, a big stir-fry of tons of veggies, and sometimes just a big spinach salad w/ everything in the fridge on it! :)


10-28-2008, 06:31 PM
Ok, actually you made me think of a good project for my blog. :)

I'm going to keep strict track of my shopping and budget for the next couple of weeks and see if I can blog my shopping and menu choices. Hmmm ... this could be a challenge.

*rubbing hands together*

Almost as good as the popcorn challenge! :D


10-28-2008, 09:52 PM
Wow, you are awesome!! You seem to really have it together with your food choices. The recipes sound great & whenever you have enough time, I'd love for you to share some more of the easier ones that are great as leftovers as well. I tend to like the same things everyday b/c it's easier. lol As far as the salads, the Diet Dr. I was seeing said to only eat 1 cup for lunch and/or dinner with 1/2 cup of a few other veggies. So, mine were never large. :( Do you add cheese, black olives, sunflower seeds, carrots, or anything to them of that nature? I have some food aversions & while I love salad, a "wet" item has to cover up what I'm eating whether that's salad dressing (masking the texture of food), mustard with fries (or anything else!!), etc. Is that a problem? What type of dressing do you recommend?

I'm pretty clear on how to eat right. I do love my veggies, except brussel sprouts and cabbage. It's portion sizes & budgeting that is my main concern. I don't want to become overwhelmed as I prefer things very organized. lol

Your such a great help! Thanks!! And, please do share your blog if you make it public. I'd love to follow.

10-28-2008, 10:20 PM
Oh no problem. :) Although I gotta say I have my "together" days and my "not so together" days.

My blog is here:
Feel free to read up - it's a bunch of really rambling thoughts. :)

As far as the salads, the Diet Dr. I was seeing said to only eat 1 cup for lunch and/or dinner with 1/2 cup of a few other veggies.I think that's just crazy talk. I can't see why you should limit your salads when most people don't get enough veggies in their diets. I love salads and sometimes will eat a huge salad before dinner.

Here's my favorite salad from Sweet Tomatoes (one of those salad bar type restaurants where I go for lunch a lot):
baby spinach, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, beets, jicama, shredded carrot, zucchini, cabbage (red and green), beets, radishes, chopped broccoli, thin sliced red onion, olives, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and blue cheese. I sometimes put a sprinkle of sunflower seeds on - but they're a lot of calories, and I'd rather have the cheese. :) I also use the olive oil and wine vinegar instead of dressing - again because of calories and also because of taste. I suppose you could use a light or lo-fat dressing, but I generally don't like the taste of those.

Another salad I make a lot at home is a spinach salad:
baby spinach, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, either feta or blue cheese. Make a dressing by shaking together olive oil, a little juice from the mandarin oranges, some garlic powder (just a very little) and some fresh ground pepper.

I know you said no cabbage, but something else I do (one of the rare times I use a low-fat dressing) is buy the angel hair sliced cabbage at the store and use Kraft Asian Sesame dressing (the low fat version) to make a sort of Asian cole slaw. I'll throw in some raisins or craisins, some slivered almonds, or even some chopped granny smith apple for crunch and sweetness.

My general rule is that I don't worry about portion size for most veggies. If it's a squash or a potato or something that's starchy, then I'm more careful, but you know ... a serving of baby spinach is 85 grams. That's a HUGE amount of spinach. A serving of broccoli is 100g - a plateful practically. And both of those are like 35 cals. I could eat 2 platefuls of veggies and still come in under 150 cals ... and be stuffed. :)

So for me most veggies count as "freebies" ... I still track them and measure them, but if I wind up eating double servings of broccoli or whatever, I really don't stress about it.


10-29-2008, 12:47 PM
I'm on a budget but only cooking for one and I tend to spend about $100 week TOTAL at the store (including cat/dog food, personal items, whatever else I need around the house). I would say I spend $50-$70/week on food for just me. I generally eat at home most of the time, particualrly during the week.

Breakfast is:
1/2 cup cottage cheese, two scrambled egg beaters, 60 cal light & fit yogurt (200 cals total depending on the cottage cheese)
Reduced sugar Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and 60 cal light & fit yogurt (170 cals total)
some vaiation of those, maybe some 45 & delightful toast with an egg...

Lunch is usually a frozen Michelina's meal between 250-390 calories. Keep in mind if you eat any frozen meals get even more water than usual becuase they tend to have a lot of salt. I drink 4-6 liters of water a day plus about 2 diet sodas.

Dinner is usually:
Gorton's Tilapia (2 fillets), green beans and a sweet or regular baked potato with some butter spray and salt/pepper or sometimes if I have calories to spare I put cottage cheese on it. Dinner is usually between 400-450.

I eat a chocolate brownie gnu bar for my morning snack (140 cals)

I aim for 1400 calories per day and I like to get an after dinner treat in... they make the Betty Crocker Warm Delights in 150cal servings which is really good.

I'm sure there are ways to cut down on costs, but I like convenient. I work 32 hours a week and I am trying to get a second job for about 24 hours a week so I need fast and easy.

10-29-2008, 01:18 PM
You both have shared some wonderful ideas! I like convenience as well but my problem stems from feeling like I'm always preparing food. I want to get in the kitchen & get out, lol!

Photochick ~ The salad with almonds and mandarin oranges, etc sound so refreshing and yummy! Mmmmmmm!!!! Would the almonds be considered the protein for the meal if I was to just have a salad (different types) for lunch daily or would I have to add in something? I think that would be pretty simple for me. As far as the "coleslaw", I've never been able to stomach it. Maybe it's the texture or something but I just don't like it, lol. However, I do love the way you think as far as having veggies and as many of them as you want! I think the limit my Diet Dr. had me on was because I was having 4oz of meat with lunch however I prepared my lunch (she gave me specific menus/setups) ... THAT was a lot of meat. I found myself gagging through lunch & eventually fell off the diet, LOL! But, you do have some wonderful suggestions. I'm going to go through the site & write down recipes, tips, etc before my shopping this weekend. Thanks a bunch. I really do appreciate your time & effort into helping me.

Peachcake ~ Speaking of the Diet Dr., when I was slowly falling off of her plan, I found myself buying the W.W. chicken marsala meals for convenience and because it was easier. But, when things added up, my calories were too much. Those meals are high in salt but they are good. Mmmm! (and easy!) It also sounds like you have a wonderful plan for yourself. You all make this sound so easy. lol

Good luck to both of you .... I'm definitely going to use your tips. My husband is in shape (5'9" or so, about 155lbs) so he's not a "great" support system. He supports me in whatever I want to do but he just doesn't get it. He thinks I'm beautiful as I am .... He doesn't see the 50-60lbs I want to lose. LOL!