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I don't have the money to loose the weight that I want

So my husband and I are going through tough financial times right now. We aren't poor but we don't have a lot of extra money to go out to eat or do things for entertainment. One of the things that I'm noticiing is that I'm just not loosing the kind weight that I want to. And I think this can be attributed to my diet.

We shop every two weeks. So for the first week I can stock up on fruits,veggies, etc. But we just don't have the money to eat like that every week. The simple fact is that its cheaper to make a lasagna feed the two of us for one week. I know that I should be eating healthier but I can' afford it. has anyone else dealt with this problem ? Do you have any tips for stretching the veggies/ fruits for two weeks ?

Our food budget is $300 a month. We normally only eat one meal out a week (i.e. we both pack lunch every day).

Thu. Jan 31, 10:46am

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Frozen fruits/veggies can be very cheap, and last for as long as they're in the freezer, and are just as healthy as the fresh ones. So stock up on those!

Meats that are in a more natural state are cheaper - i.e. a whole chicken, rather than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can easily roast a whole chicken and make a bunch of frozen veggies on the side, and that's dinner for a few nights. Take the skin off of yours before you eat it.

Crock pots are awesome as well. I make a great beef stew that is one package of stew veggies, some barley, and a pack of stew meat (which is the cheap meat, or just buy whatever's cheapest - it cooks for long enough for even the toughest stuff to get tender.) Throw it in the crockpot with some beef bouillion and water and cook it all day while you're gone. That's food for a few nights. And also very easy to put in a tupperware and take to work. You can add bulk by adding an extra package of veggies too.

Really, though, what you need to do is calculate the calories in the dishes that you are making. It'll take a little work, but you know how much of each item you're using, and you can calculate the number of calories in the whole lasagna casserole. Then divide it by the number of servings. If you're eating too many calories that way, then eat a smaller portion. If you're still hungry, snack on something like veggies or broth-based soup.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 10:57 AM

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You might want to get a book to teach you about portion size. That would be a good first step. You can eat most anything as long as you eat it in moderation.

And, frozen or canned fruits and veggies last a long time and are better than nothing!

You can do this, just find a way!!! Good luck!

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 10:59 AM

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Whole chickens are a great idea. For 2 people you can make that stretch into 3 maybe even 4 meals. Even the premade cooked chickens at the store are good. You can pick them up for around $5, even cheaper sometimes then buying them and making them yourself. Frozen veggies are great but you do lose the good stuff from them. Buy fruits that are only on sale, most apples you can get for great deals. If you have access to costco or a sam's club you can buy your veggies and fruit in bulk, save some money and have enough to last for quite a while. Just make sure you use them quickly. Fruits and veggies don't keep for long.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:07 AM

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It's really hard to shop well on a budget, and those fresh foods are expensive right now, but it can be done. I found I spend a lot more money if I don't really sit down and plan things out. I end up buying ingredients for one recipe and then they go bad in my fridge. Now I have to be a little more strategic and look for mulitiple recipes using similar ingredients, especially if they're fresh.

I recently bought a whole chicken and some vegetables to make a soup. I cooked the chicken for one meal - had that with a side of fresh vegetables. I then chopped up the vegetables and the chicken and made a soup that lasted for many meals and I could freeze. Then I chopped up more of the vegetables, added water to the chicken bones and now I've got chicken stock for future recipes. So, that's the kind of planning I do now, to make it stretch. It takes time at first, but then, like anything, it gets easier.

And, hey, lasagne is okay! Make your lasagne with lean meat, reduced fat cheeses, extra tomatoes and other vegetables that you like, etc., and have a frozen vegetable side. Slice up and freeze individual portions and that should last you 6 meals between the two of you.

Like anything worth doing, it may take a little more effort and thought, but it's worth it in the end. Good luck, OP.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:08 AM

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Op here- thanks! great ideas. Maybe I just need to be more creative in my cooking.... any other ideas would be appreciated.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:11 AM

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Just a tip.

When I was little I was poor and Mom used to make beef stew. A big pot of it lasted the three of us a week. Potatos, carrots, celery, tomatos and some beef. It was really good and it lasted in the fridge. I know when I go grocery shopping I make a plan of action and figure how much I'm gonna spend. I only buy on sale. So if canned veggies are on sale, I stock up. I usually get canned at Aldi's. Also, some meats can store ok in a freezer for a month. Like beef. Try to stock up while stuff is on sale that can last some time. That way if by the end of the pay period money is tight, you got beef in the freezer and canned veggies in the cabinet to get you till pay day again. As for fresh veggies, get a can or jar to set to the side. At pay day, set like 20 or 30 dollars back for more fresh fruits and veggies for the next week. Make a sign for it that says next weeks fresh veggies. That way if something is tempting you to spend that money that is held back you have a little reminder as to what that money is for and decide if you really want the temptation or the fresh fruits and veggies next week.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:26 AM

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My cheapest "diet" meal:
2 cups uncooked rice, bag of dried black turtle beans, half a chopped onion. Makes 12 x 1-cup servings @ 200 calories for a total of $2.50. Top with 1/4c salsa (8 servings per $3 jar) for a serving of veggies, 25 cals, and maybe a little leftover chicken or cheddar cheese for a protein boost. Unless you're putting half a pound of cheese on it, it works out to be about $1-$1.30 per serving. Oh, and the rice and bean mixture freezes well, and all of the other stuff has a reasonable shelf life.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:56 AM

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I second the rice and beans....way cheaper than meat as a source of protein, so healthy, and they have a really long shelf life.

Other thoughts along the same lines:
split pea soup - add a little smoked ham, you don't need too much

lentils and rice - red, green, brown, french - lots of options. And they're perfect for trying out new spices. You can fold in veggies like leafy greens that are about to go bad.

12 bean soup

chickpea (garbanzo bean) salad. Use canned beans, or dried are even cheaper, but you'll have to soak them first. Another good "playground" for trying out new flavors.

dried mung beans and rice - I cook them just like lentils for when I want the texture of separate beans rather than the almost-mush that lentils become.


Thursday, January 31, 2008, 12:20 PM

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I don't understand this statement: "I don't have the money to lose the weight I want."

How does it cost more to eat less? I've been doing this for several months now and my grocery bill is less than it use to be, as is my weight on the scale.

I pay less because I don't buy cookies, crackers, ice cream, chips, dips, sodas, frozen entrees, etc. I buy fruits, vegies & cheese sticks to snack on. Much healthier and much less expensive. Then for meals I buy basic stuff and cook instead of go to a drive thru or pop something in the microwave. The crockpot is great. You can use the cheapest toughest most tasteless cuts of meat in there and come out with a delicious dinner for 5 that didn't cost much at all.

I was 210 and now I'm 186. My food bill was $240 a week and now it's $90 a week (that is for 2 adults & 3 kids).

That's about all I did different. Just don't buy pre-made food. If you want potato chips just buy potatoes and slice them real thin, then bake on an oiled cookie sheet & sprinkle with a little salt. Or you can make your own cakes with better flour, less sugar and fat, etc.

As for exercise, why pay to belong to a gym? I just go out for walks with the kids or dogs. And I live in a 2nd floor apt so I go up and down the stairs a lot. WHy pay someone to use a stair master when I can use the actual stairs?!

Just think a little and be creative. You'll see you don't need more money at all and you might end up spending less like me.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 12:48 PM

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Op here- Eating less is not the problem. I can eat "less" of crappy foods but it still crappy food. I don't buy chips, sodas etc. The question is how to afford good healhy food... and eat less of that.

PP the idea that you can feed your whole family for $90 a week is amazing! You must get really creative in your cooking.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 1:11 PM

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Aaaaack! I am sorry, I know this feels true to you, but it is just pure B.S.!! I lost a hundred pounds with no money and my brother lived on the road as a homeless person and lost a hundred pounds on absolutely no money.

If there is a will, there is a way.

Get some beans and rice and live on FatSmasher phase one and you will lose a ton of weight and hardly spend any money. Buy a lot of cabbage....good for you , filling and cheap.

walk, walk and walk some more.

It does not take money to lose weight or to eat healthy. Get off the fattening processed food, eat veggies, drink water and get off your butt and move!

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 2:23 PM

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When I was at University I was broke

The crock pot was my best friend. Also a lot of homemade soups (boiling ham hocks for split pea and ham soup - you can get up to 6 frozen containers from it), Boling Beef bones for beef barley, roasting chicken like many have said, and boiling the carcass for chicken noodle soup. These are all really healthy options all you have to do is add some frozen carrots and peas, some fresh celery and legumes and you have a great meal.

Since you are on a tight budget try looking at a couple of recipe websites for inspiration. Even if you see a recipe that will cost too much to make, think about how you can improvise to make it work for you.
Good Luck

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 2:33 PM

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Here make a grocery list from this:

Allowed in Phase 1

*All Fruits in any quantity
*All veggies in any quantity EXCEPT:
No White Potatos
No Avacados
*Good Sources of Protein
*Brown Rice - 2 cups of cooked rice per day
*2 cups of low-fat or skim or soy milk per day
*As much water as you like!
*Oatmeal - 1 cup per day
*All herbs and spices
*6oz low-fat yogurt (2 times per day)
*4 egg whites
*2 cups of herbal tea per day

buy oatmeal in bulk and eat it for one ( or two meals a day) make sure it is not instant and do not put sugar in it. use a little apple butter or apple sauce or banana or stevia to sweeten.

DO NOT BUY ANY JUNK FOOD & you will save a lot.

buy no meat and you will save a lot, have beans, chickpeas, peasoup, lentils and rice combos for protein. Have a cup of brown rice for lunch and dinner.

buy apples in bulk and use them for snacks between meals.

Use frozen bananas ( or berries etc) for desert if you need it. or another apple

Make home made soups for one or two meals a day with lots of cabbage, carrots , kale , onions, turnips etc

Cook and freeze on weekends if you do not have time during the week.

bring rice and beans for lunch and add fresh veggies like peppers and onion for crunch and flavor

You will be eating healthy, it will be cheap and you will lose lots of weight

walk,walk, walk and go up and down stairs as much as you can


Thursday, January 31, 2008, 2:38 PM

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keep in mind folks that food prices are not the same in all parts of the country. what works for you might not work the same way for the op. i swear, i cut my grocery bill in half by moving from CA to NC.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 2:39 PM

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OP again- I might be delusional (and no I'm not offended by your comment 2:23) but I think this has got to be my diet. I'm getting off my butt, so to speak, 5 times a week! I mean I'm at the gym for 45 minutes +. Walking for me is not enough since I'm normally at such a high intensity level.

This is why I'm figuring that its got to be my diet. It's literally one week of great eating (when we have the money for the healthy stuff) and then one week of crappy eating (nothing major lasagna, pasta... the stuff that you can stretch for a week) until we have the money again.

I'm not saying that I coudln't improve my workouts...but I think the diet is the key. I only need to shed about 10 lbs... so I don't need to drop a lot of weight.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 3:06 PM

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Then just concentrate on making and freezing portions of your healthy foods during the first week, so you'll have them left for the second week.

And, switch your pasta/lasagna to brown rice and beans/lentils. Those last forever, are super-cheap, and can be stored in the same pantry as the pasta.

The problem is probably that you're eating too many simple carbs, which aren't filling, and not enough proteins and fiber, which are, so you're hungry more, and eat more.

Can you send us a link to your log? Then maybe we can look at what you're eating, and come up with cheap substitutes.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 3:17 PM

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I don't have the money to loose the weight that I want

Although i haven't lost a lot of weight on my current diet I do think it is working and will be good with some exercise. We tend to eat a basic cereal with light soya milk. For dinner often just rice or rice noodles. 150gms of chicken or 100gms of red meat, vegetables and some sort of sauce. Fruit during the day is always good.
Food in New Zealand can be expensive so we go to an outdoor local market for veges and try to get stuff that is in season as it's always cheaper especially if it's grown local.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 4:06 PM

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New Zealand? Or Austrailia? Ok I couldn't help it ... I've been watching the Flight of the Conchords on HBO, and they're from New Zealand and get really mad when people say that their accent is Austrailan. ok that was my laugh for the day

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 4:17 PM

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It sounds like you may be in a food rut where the only cheap meal ideas you can come up with when money is tight are the unhealthy ones. That is understandable if that is how you've always cooked. Try some of the above recipe ideas and maybe some of them can become cheap standby ideas. I promise lasagna is no cheaper that beans and rice. You just have to commit to trying different recipes and not just cook what you've always cooked when you're short on cash. When I need new recipe ideas I head to the library. I pick out some healthy cookbooks and then go though them to pick out cheap recipes.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 4:27 PM

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You can save money because you do not need a gym to lose weight. MANY people lose weight and keep it off without ever going to the gym.

People have given you endless ideas and you still can not see it and are fighting for your weakness. If you think you can not do it, then you can not do it. You win!

Sadly though, you will not lose those ten pounds you SAY you want to lose. Get some brown rice and beans, cabbage and peasoup and forget the crappy lasagna and pasta. Read about glycemic index and open your mind a little.

If you are workng out 5 x a week , go for 7 or double work outs.

Keep your blood sugar steady by eating regular small meals, watch the fat and salt and processed foods ( eliminate if possible and you will save money).

Eating nutritious food does not have to cost money. workouts do not have to cost money. LISTEN to all the good advice here and stop trying so hard to be right.

You ARE delusional if you think it costs money to lose weight....that is just nonsense.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 4:54 PM

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Buy your produce from a market, not a supermarket

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 5:39 PM

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TO OP! If you're willing to let me help you, email me at I can take a look at what you're eating and provide some suggestions.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 5:44 PM

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"PP the idea that you can feed your whole family for $90 a week is amazing! You must get really creative in your cooking. "

Not really. I shop at Aldis & Savealot. And when I go to regular groceries like Pick n Save or Sentry I use coups combined with store sales.

Take a look at She has lots of terrific ideas on how to feed your family well on very little money. I do a lot of the things she writes about. Of course not all of her stuff is the healthiest because it's basically a website on how to get by with not much. But a lot of her ideas are good and work for my family.

Join a yahoo email group like frugal_moms_living or frugal_folks_life. They share TONS of ideas about how to eat well (healthy) for less. And they have coupon exchanges.

If you buy frozen fruits & veggies with coups when the store has a sale on them or at a store that doubles coups, you're ahead.

If you can make your own bread using whole grain flours, a spoonful of yeast, a spoonful of olive oil & a cup of water, you're way ahead. My family LOVES my home made breads with soups I make using frozen veggies. Economical & delish.

Shop at a store that has a bulk dept so you can buy your herbs, spices, flours, beans & nuts in quantities that work for you. It costs so much less this way.

Also, stock up when you can. If a store has something on sale & you have a coup + you go on double coup day, buy as many as you can afford. I do this with things I'd buy anyway even if they weren't on sale and I didn't have a coup. Like applesauce, natural peanut butter, chickens, those single serving fruit cups, etc. Sometimes it's equal to buy 1 & get 2 free.

SO actually, I'm feeding 5 on $90 a week because I searched the internet for ways to be frugal while keeping a standard of health & nutrition.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 5:44 PM

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(PP here)

And if I really paid attention to all the advice being given on the frugal websites I visit, I could probably do better and spend less than $90 a week.

There are some ladies who shop at CVS and get some amazing deals. I realize CVS doesn't have too many healthy food items, but if you can get a great deal on toothpaste, shampoo, soaps, household cleaners, etc, that frees up some money for better food items. Google CVS 101 and see if you can get to the website where this lady walks you through the steps of getting a CVS card, matching coups to sales, and rolling over CVS extra care bucks that you receive when you buy certain items they have on sale.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 5:51 PM

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I just have to say I agree with what the OP is saying. It is costing me more since I started watching what I eat. Not so much in the summer but in the winter we have added about 1 hundred dollars a month to out bill.
I have the ability to go to a fruit and vegetable stand. Many people don't. We have 3 different stores here and none of them have double coupon days. They have sales and we do our best to catch them but not every one has the ability to get those good deals like some do.
I agree a person could live on beans and rice and cabbage. But you have to realize that not everyone likes beans and rice and cabbage nor can their systems handle that much fiber. I have family members that would have a terrible time.
However, when I make a meal like lasagna I add lots of veggies to it to make it stretch. I count the calories and divide by the servings. I use meat as a condiment rather than the main part of the meal.
I hardily agree with the soup idea. It is inexpensive and lasts a long time.
Same with the whole chicken approach. I make meals and freeze the leftovers in single portion sizes so I can't have more than I am supposed to. I vacuum seal them so I can have a couple weeks or more between the meal so I don't get bored of them.

OP try and put some creativity into this, make it a challenge for you. Try and change your outlook on it and it will come easier for you.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 7:32 PM

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Depending on where you live..plant a garden. Most areas in the United States can begin planting early greens (spinach, lettuce, etc) in 4-6 weeks. You can start other plants now in the house or garage. Growing your own is definitely cheaper than buying and especially if you grow organic. Between our garden and neighbors and friends, we buy very little produce over the summer. When you look at the savings that generates, you may be able to afford fresh produce when the weather limits gardening.

Aside from the economic and health benfits of growing your own fruits and vegetables, gardening is a pleasant exercise..certainly not cardio but lots of bending and stretching. A great activity for the kids to help with.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 8:07 PM

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I do WW and I eat ANY food that I want to eat. It does not matter if it is a steak, Lazanya or what ever the only difference is i measure Every thing I eat. Try this even if you donot do weight watchers, know what the calories you are eating and stay with in your amount. I do not spend any extra money on SPEACIAL foods, (only 2% cheese and FF butter) the rest is regular foods and I am losing an average of 2lbs a week.

Thursday, January 31, 2008, 9:02 PM

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