Of course, not all of us can throw money at the problem. Some of us have tight budgets and have to work within constraints of that budget to solve our problems. Everyone can’t buy expensive meal replacements or host of expensive superfoods to support dieting plans. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t really lose weight.
With certain smart tweaks and changes to your diet, you can achieve it, albeit little hard work. Without stretching your paycheck, you can shrink your waistline by stocking your kitchen with cheap sources of protein, satiety inducing fats and workout sustaining carbohydrates.
All you need to do is follow guidelines mentioned below on which food items you should be investing on, how you should use them in your daily diets and when to make smart swaps to ease your pockets as well as bulge gathering around your midsection.
Load up cheap health foods and cook at home
It isn’t necessary that every health food should cost you an arm. There are some excellent health foods that are relatively cheap and are still packed with tons of healthy nutrients. Stock your kitchen with bananas. They are nature’s best portable snack. They are rich in potassium, which has tons of benefits and have high fiber content, about three grams on average per serving, which along with keeping you full for longer duration will ensure ideal bowel movement. And, don’t be afraid of buying them in bunch. In case, you notice spots, you can peel them and store in the freezer. The frozen bananas give smoothies that excellent creamy texture, which could be otherwise diluted by adding too many ice cubes.
Spinach is another health food that is expensive and is highly beneficial for your health. It is rich in antioxidants that among other things battle the harmful free radicals present in your body and also has a chemical called thylakoids that can help regulate appetite and can assist in losing weight. Indeed, a Swedish study conducted at the Lund University has discovered that thylakoid present in the extract of spinach can assist in weight loss by almost 43 per cent. The study was conducted with 38 overweight women and over period of three months. The women were divided into two groups and one group was given green drink prepared from 5 grams of spinach extract, while the other group called the control group, were given a placebo.
The spinach extract group lost 5 kilograms of weight in comparison to 3.5 kilograms lost by other group. It was also found that the spinach group found it easier to stick to the planned diet and didn’t experience any unhealthy cravings.
Plant protein instead of meat
Anyone who has even a basic knowledge of nutrition will know that daily consumption of protein is important for weight loss, muscle building and recovery. However, relying solely on animal sources of protein to meet your daily requirements isn’t the best idea. Firstly, consuming a diet rich in animal protein and fat has been linked with chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Also, consumption of meat on the daily basis and for every meal won’t be gentle on your pocket. And, when you are running on a tight budget, consumption of quality meat can be bit problematic. Unless, you are trying to build a beastly physique, you don’t need multiple meat diets.
The plant based proteins are more than adequate to meet your daily protein needs. And, moreover, it has been found that the plant based proteins such as lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans can be beneficial in the weight loss program. Plus, you can buy these protein foods for a fraction of price, you will have to pay for grass-fed beef and wild salmon.
In fact, a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that eating more legumes such as beans, chickpeas, and lentils improved blood sugar control and reduced heart disease risk for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. In another study, presented at the Experimental Biology conference, San Francisco, it was revealed that the adults who ate beans weighed 6.6 pounds less despite eating 199 more daily calories than adults who don’t eat beans. Also, bean eaters had 22 per cent lower risk of obesity. This weight loss benefit of the legumes might be due to the high fiber content.
Oats instead of boxed cereals
And, talking about high fiber content, we have oats, which are arguably one of the best sources of fiber. Now, you might love the crunchy and delightful taste of the boxed cereals. Don’t worry, we all love it. But, the problem is that not only it stretches your budget, it is also bad for your waistline. A 12 ounce box of the standard cereals costs more than $6 and gives you around 12 servings. In comparison, a two pound box of the regular oats costs under $4 and can be more than enough to dole out 30 servings.
The biggest health concern surrounding the boxed cereals is that tons of sugar and flavors are added to make them delicious. And, the added sugar along with increasing calorie intake, can lead to sugar spikes in your blood, which invokes the natural fat storage mode of your body. Also, the nutritional value of these cereals is also very low. Most of the natural nutrients present in the main ingredients are destroyed when they are heated to be converted into molten form, which can be easily molded into attractive shapes such as stars and cartoon characters. Also, some of the cereals are made from refined flour, which means they are easily digested leading to sugar spike and dreaded hunger pangs.
In comparison, the old fashioned oats have tons of benefits ranging from lowering the risk of coronary artery disease to regulating and lowering the blood pressure. However, here we are most interested in its valuable contribution to the weight loss cause. Due to its high fiber content, the oats can assist in keeping you full for longer time, removal of toxins from your digestive tract and improve your antioxidant arsenal with the supply of important carotenoids and flavonoids.
Know when to splurge
What is the benefit of saving so much, when you can’t splurge on certain essential items? Spending wisely means loosening your purse strings at the appropriate moments and olive oil should be first item on that list. The immense health benefits of the olive oil will make your salads even more nutritious. Firstly, you would do your waistline a huge benefit by weeding out butter and other saturated fats used in food preparations. This alone will make a huge difference to your weight loss program. And, not to forget, the prevention of myriads of coronary diseases. In fact, some experts claim that the consumption of at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily will lower the levels of total blood cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, being rich in antioxidants especially vitamin E, the olive oil can be a perfect foil for the oxidative stress.
Another worthy investment is avocado and avocado oil. Avocado oil is particularly good choice for stir-fries. Plus, the avocado oil can be a key player in the weight loss program. A study conducted by the Penn state found that people who consumed 40 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of high-oleic oils on a daily basis for the period of research (i.e. four weeks) reduced their belly fat by almost 2 percent compared to those who consumed a flax / safflower oil blend, which is comparatively high in polyunsaturated fat. These results have been backed by another study, which was published in the journal Diabetes Care and had found similar results. The study discovered that a diet rich in monounsaturated fat might prevent body fat distribution around the belly by down regulating the expression of certain fat genes. And, a tablespoon of avocado oil has 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, a nutritional profile almost identical to extra virgin olive oil.
Pack healthy salads
Another way to keep your budget under control and lose weight at the same time is to pack creative salads for the lunch. The homemade salads with healthy helping of colorful veggies, fat trimming proteins and healthy-fat dressings would be great for your health. And, there are tons of options available that will keep your lunch interesting as well as healthy. Especially, do include underrated superfoods such as chard and watercress, which are healthier than kale. For the best fat burning and nourishing protein, toss in couple of hard boiled eggs. The eggs will keep you full for longer time and will give the midday protein boost to your recovering muscles.
The big benefit of packing salads for lunch is that it saves you a lot of time. You can dice and freeze most of the veggies on Sunday. Or better yet, you can prepare salads for different days and store them in different plastic containers in the freezer. So, you won’t have to waste time in the morning to prepare them. Also, you can incorporate last night’s leftovers to the salad and can save some more money.