Plant a Garden
If you have the ability to plant a garden, take advantage of this great opportunity. I live near the forest and the deer, rabbits, and other wildlife would enjoy my harvest before we could. But I have a lot of friends that have an overabundance of tomatoes, zucchini, and other produce that are happy to share their extras with us.
We enjoy lean meat as part of our diet–mostly chicken and pork loin. I will also buy the leanest ground round and occasionally a London broil. I purchase whole turkey breasts since we found that the white meat was what we enjoyed the most. All meat in our home is only purchased when it is available at a very good sale price. I purchase enough to last a few months and break the package sizes down to make dinners for two and wrap securely in saran wrap and foil.
We love different legumes which are extremely cost effective and healthy. I can fill a crock pot at night or in the morning with some very delicious low fat recipes. Some might be legumes, low fat taco soup, chicken in cranberry sauce and many others that I have gleaned from browsing the internet. Once we have our meal, I freeze the rest in portions for two and have several meals made ahead for very little cost and effort. This is not only cost effective, but it helps you to control your portion sizes if you freeze the portions ahead of time.
Designate a leftover shelf in your refrigerator so food won’t turn into science experiments after you have forgotten what is in there. It’s helpful to keep a list on the outside of the fridge to help remind you what you still have to use up.
Plan about 7 to 10 simple meals that are cost effective and low fat. When you don’t have the imagination or time to spend in the kitchen this list can be extremely helpful. My list includes omelets, soup and sandwich, baked potato covered with veggies or homemade low fat chili, salads, cold and hot whole grain pasta dishes, and low fat tostados.
You can keep veggies chopped up in containers, low fat or fat free cheese, olives, feta cheese and other goodies in the fridge. Chili and shredded low fat chicken can be fixed in the crockpot and frozen in small portions. During the summer there are some wonderful cold soups you can make. You can create a salad bar, potato bar, pasta salad bar with all of these different kinds of foods on hand.
Plan at least two or three breakfasts you can enjoy and alternate, as well as several things for lunch. Variety will help prevent boredom, which leads to losing momentum.
It takes some time to get your food stockpiled and portioned. But the crockpot can do a lot of the work for you while you are doing something else! On the weekend you can cook things that can serve double or triple duty during the week, such as a turkey breast, chicken breasts, meatballs and meatloaf. You can also cook pork loin in the crockpot and shred and use for a variety of recipes. Tostados can be very low fat by baking a corn tortilla until crisp and adding shredded pork or chicken, tomatoes, low fat cheese, lettuce, a few sliced olives.
I’ve suggested a variety of ideas to get you thinking, but searching the internet and cookbooks, using your imagination, you can make all kinds of fun and tasty recipes. Grow your own herbs–that is one thing I can do on my deck without the wildlife eating them! They add a wonderful gourmet touch to meals.
And, don’t forget your sweet tooth. You don’t have to give up dessert because you are losing weight. There are hundreds of low fat dessert recipes. Make some No Pudge fat free brownies (delicious!!) with a dollop of fat free cool whip.. Make ice cream sandwiches with 2 squares of chocolate graham crackers with a few spoon fulls of fat free cool whip. I can buy the off brands of cool whip for .77. Buy low fat frozen yogurt and diet root beer and make a root beer float. Make fat free sugar free pudding mixes–and be sure to search cookbooks and the internet for other great ideas.
A couple of other rules that won’t cost you a penny. First, stop eating at least a few hours before you go to bed. Several experts recommend making the kitchen off limits after 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. Second, get moving and keep moving. The more you can exercise along with cutting back on portion sizes, the faster the pounds will melt away. Enjoy the warm summer evenings to go for a walk, and even better take an early morning walk as well. If you find yourself sitting a lot, get up and move around. Walk around while you talk on the phone, do some exercises while watching television. Too hot to go outside? Try out a yoga and pilates video or DVD from your library.
This is not a comprehensive list of the many things you can do, but I hope it will stimulate your own thinking and to help you realize losing weight can be done on a frugal budget! I’ve created my own mantra, and you might want to develop your own. I borrowed mine actually from Nike.
Just Do It!!!
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Copyright © 2006 by Karen Kuebler. All rights reserved.