South Beach Diet - Is South Beach always this expensive?

10-03-2010, 01:33 AM
I just did my first shopping trip for phase 1 and it came out to almost $130. Now, I did have to buy a bunch of spices, but that still gets me to $100. Are there any tips for beaching on the cheap?

10-03-2010, 02:04 AM
For me....I just choose a few meals to cook (rather than following the book meal plans to a T). Then I buy only the stuff to make those meals. That way I'm not spending a bunch of money on all new recipes. i tried choosing recipes that included things I already had in my kitchen. But, I'm also the type of person who can eat the same thing for b'fast three days in a row :)

10-03-2010, 07:37 AM
I'm not really understanding what would be more expensive than any other way of eating. At our house we eat pretty much the same foods we used to with one exception we buy lots more veggies and fruit and alot less junk.

I have never followed recipes from the book. I understand the principles of the programs the yays and nays on the food lists. I know my family's preference for foods and make my own menu. Spices are expensive and really add up fast. Many times I'll substitute something rather than buying a new one or I'll go to a spice shop where I can buy a very small amount.

Best wishes!

10-03-2010, 08:19 AM
I'm rushing this morning but I know there have been a few threads about this in the past. Here's one:
Budget Friendly Ideas (

A couple of quick thoughts - use dried beans. Beans are great South Beach food, lots of fiber and nutrients and good carbs. They are versatile and I often eat them with every meal. Using dried is so cheap!

Buy what's in season. Around here we can get winter squash (for Phase 2), end of season tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnips, and fall greens for a great price. South Beach stresses veggies, 4.5 cups a day, so build your meal around the seasonal vegetables.

Whole foods can appear more expensive at the start. Most people find they need smaller portions of whole foods than they processed foods.

10-03-2010, 08:38 AM
The SBD may initially cost more as you restock your kitchen with healthier foods, but gradually you'll discover you are spending the same, or even less, on groceries than you have previous been spending.

Using the tips that Cyndi, Lexxiss, and Jyoyo have suggested, and checking out Cyndi's link will help you stick to a budget, yet still be eating healthy, SBD friendly foods.

10-03-2010, 02:44 PM
I buy lean ground turkey for $1.97 at Walmart (cheaper and healthier than ground beef). I also would encourage you to incorporate more beans into your diet. Spaghetti squash has been on sale here and is absolutely wonderful in the "Deep Dish Italian Pie". For Phase II I buy the store brand oatmeal (cheaper per serving than ready to eat cereal). Eggs are fairly cheap. I buy chicken breasts in bulk when on sale and freeze them. I always buy the ugly tomatoes at my farmer's market - way cheaper & just as tasty.

I figure I'm saving on healthcare costs at my age - no chronic diseases or prescription med for me and my husband. We've been eating this way for almost 3 years & at our age our health is fantastic!

10-04-2010, 08:09 PM
When I first started SB, I was a bit shocked by the grocery store total. Then I started shopping smarter - I visit the local farmers market every Saturday and buy my week's veggies - ALWAYS cheaper than the store. I've also been more conscious about SB-safe foods when on sale. I don't buy Laughing Cow or string cheese unless its on sale. The same with meats - find it on sale and buy a little extra and freeze.

I've been on SB over a month now, and my grocery costs are the same or cheaper than they were before. I've making healthier choices for my family, and I don't crave the junk any more (snacks stuff like crackers, chips, pretzels, etc add up!). Good luck, and don't worry - with a little smart shopping, your costs will reduce. ;)

10-04-2010, 08:47 PM
Yeah I really think there is a learning curve. I was spending about 150 a week on groceries in the beginning, but now its under 100 a week. If you look around at different stores, you can find really great deals. Like I found a giant bag of lettuce at my local store and it was 4 bucks. But 4 bucks lasts me a whole week, and I eat lettuce several times a day.
Once you learn what you like, and what you don't, I think you will find its easier. :)

10-04-2010, 09:04 PM
Thanks for the tips. I will try to integrate them to bring down my costs.

10-04-2010, 10:59 PM
The Shoestring meals subforum has a lot of tips and recipes that are South Beach friendly.

I believe my tvp/ground beef mixture recipe is South Beach friendly (at least when it's finished). The inexpensive ground beef I use in the recipe, is too fatty for South Beach (if you were eating it alone), but by browining it with dry tvp (which has no fat), onions, celery, bell pepper and seasonings and adding broth or water I end up with a mixture that is as lean, or leaner than 95% lean beef or turkey (which I believe is South Beach friendly).

By using cheap (fatty) ground beef with the (fat free) tvp (which is cheaper than ground beef per serving), I get the equivalent of 95% lean beef or turkey at less cost per serving than the cheapest ground beef. Plain tvp is even cheaper, and lower fat per serving, but hubby doesn't like the plain tvp flavor, but he can't tell the difference between ground beef and ground beef/tvp.

After I brown the mixture, I freeze it (by putting the mixture in a freezer bag, and smooshing the bag around every 20 minutes until the mixture has frozen into crumbles, so I can scoop out what I need in any recipe that calls for browned ground beef - taco filling, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes.....)

Hubby and I are on a fixed income (both on disability) and so I've learned hundreds of ways to cut the food budget and still eat healthy. I'm not currently on South Beach, but I follow an exchange plan. When I choose my foods I try to keep what I learned from South Beach and Primal Blueprint (whole foods - I have to cut carbs a little more than South Beach advocates). There's no doubt that carb calories are often the cheapest calories, but there are a lot of ways to save money without having to resort to off plan foods.

The Tightwad Gazette books, and similar books offer helpful tips (search using the phrase "frugal living" and you'll find tons of these books). There are also dozens of frugal living websites.

When you read some of the tips, you think "no way," but you don't have to (and couldn't if you wanted to) use all of them, just the ones that fit your lifestyle, and your food philosophy/plan.

10-05-2010, 10:49 AM
I buy giant bags of veggies and fruits, and cheese and meats at Costco. The price is way better - a tiny box of sweet peppers is $3 at my grocery store, and a huge bag is $4 at Costco. The giant bags of frozen chicken breasts are a much better price, so are the salmon fillets, chicken sausage, etc.

10-06-2010, 12:09 AM
I started buying a lot of frozen veggies instead of the fresh veggies. This saved me ALOT of money. I was a little concerned that frozen veggies wouldn't have the same nutrients as fresh ones, but if you do the research you will see that frozen contain the same nutrients if not more sometimes then straight of the produce section veggies.

10-06-2010, 12:38 AM
I started buying a lot of frozen veggies instead of the fresh veggies. This saved me ALOT of money. I was a little concerned that frozen veggies wouldn't have the same nutrients as fresh ones, but if you do the research you will see that frozen contain the same nutrients if not more sometimes then straight of the produce section veggies.

especially veggies that are going into soups and casseroles. there is absolutely no difference in flavor or texture when frozen veggies are mixed with something else.

when i'm roasting veggies, i opt for fresh, but that is a personal taste thing.

10-06-2010, 02:14 PM
When you are buying those ugly tomatos at the market , if you have extras whizz some up in a blender and throw them in a freezer bag....this winter take a bag out and make some pasta sauce with it. ohhhh its soo good!! tastes like summer again.

10-06-2010, 02:43 PM
I agree with the frozen veggies- I do usually buy a lot of fresh ones, but I always have a few bags on hand of frozen ones, usually Broccoli, spinach, and Krogers seems to always have frozen stir fry mixes here for .99... I eat those for lunch a LOT and throw a bit of bragg's and some hot chili sauce in them for a super yummy lunch! pair with some brown rice if p2! (which is what I am having today ;))

Also, Beans and rice are much cheaper dry... I set aside a day for my pressure cooking and make big batches and freeze them so I have them readily available...(which I am also doing today! haha)

10-06-2010, 02:57 PM
ooh, that is a good idea about the frozen stir-fry kits. i have a giant bag of stir-fry mix in the freezer.

10-06-2010, 10:38 PM
Wal-mart has the frozen stir-fry mixes as well. My favorite is the sugar snap pea stir fry. YUM!!!

10-08-2010, 04:01 AM
The Walmart asparagus stir-fry blend is awesome too (it's my favorite, but the sugar snap pea stir fry blend is my second favorite).