Losing weight, not money!

I mentioned a month or so ago that I had joined a slimming club with a few work colleagues. We have a weekly weigh in, pay a pound a week and the person who has lost the most at the end of the month wins the pot. It has proved a good incentive for losing weight.

I have found it easy to lose weight steadily without spending lots of money on organised slimming clubs, special diet foods or an expensive gym membership. I have lost 8lb  and I can really feel the difference in how my clothes fit.

I am planning another 4lb and then I will be on target. Any more and my mum will start telling me I am too thin and trying to feed me up!!

losing weight  I haven’t followed a particular diet or felt deprived in anyway. I have simply stopped snacking during the day and now just eat fruit, I have reduced my portion sizes and avoided anything fatty or heavy and given up sugar and chocolate. I have allowed myself the odd glass of white wine in the evening plus maybe a Ryvita with low fat cheese or a bag of Aldi French fries, which are only 65 calories. This way I have lost 1 or 2lbs each week with no pain. I guess if I was very heavy I would be more stringent, but I only need to lose 10-12 lbs. I would like to get just under 10 stone, which is fine for my height and build.
  I have increased my exercise with a short walk most lunchtimes and a long one with Mr Shoestring at the weekend. I am also doing my usual yoga practice but trying to make time to do this more often. I feel better all round when I do.

Yesterday we had an epic walk – longer than intended! We thought we would try the Flitch Way near Braintree, a long straight walk along a disused railway track – all the way to Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire if you do the whole thing, which would be a 30 mile trip there and back. We decided to walk about 3 miles and find a pub for lunch, a nice manageable 6 mile trek. However, a lack of preparation meant that we failed to find a pub at all – at 4 and a half miles we discovered we would need to walk another 2 to get to one in Felstead, so we turned round and headed back to Braintree.

 We stopped at the little café in Rayne and called a few places nearby to check they were still serving food but they weren’t. At this point we gave up and stayed at the café for tea and sandwiches! It was 2.30 by this time and we were starving, so they went down a treat.

By the time we reached the car park at Braintree station we had walked over 9 miles! We had also burnt about 800 calories each so I was happy. Got blisters though!

Low Fat On A Budget?

low fat on a budgetIs it possible to eat low fat on a budget? I think it is. I made this yummy Slimming World recipe over the weekend, crustless bacon and mushroom quiche. The recipe says it will serve two but I would say  three as two of us couldn’t eat it all: recipe here.

So-called ‘slimming foods’ can be expensive in my experience, but all of the ingredients for this came from Aldi and it was quite a cheap supper. We had the left over cottage cheese and bacon over the weekend, so no waste there.

Low fat on a budget is possible

Logically if you are eating less you shouldn’t be spending more. People tend to buy more healthy fruit and veg and lean meat and less of the cheap stuff like sausages and processed food when they are dieting. But if they also purchase fewer treats, less alcohol and gave up the takeaways you would think it would even itself out!

I am encouraged at the number of nice looking veggie meals that are either low fat or can be adapted to be lower fat than usual. A meal based around pulses, vegetables and grains will generally be cheaper than eating meat.

Another nice dish which happens to be vegetarian is vegetable paella, another Slimming World one which is low fat on a budget. Delish and packed full of peppers and other veg so lots of antioxidants too. Replace the saffron with turmeric, use dried parsley and use ordinary rice instead of risotto  rice to make it a bit cheaper. I used mushrooms instead of courgettes as that was what I had. Use frozen instead of fresh peas and beans.
low fat on a budget

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5 pints veg stock
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, sliced
2 courgettes, sliced
454 g tomatoes, skinned and chopped (I used a tin)
349g risotto rice
1 tsp paprika
0.5 tsp saffron, soaked in 2 tvsp water
110g green beans
110g peas
salt and pepper
3tbsp chopped parsley

Put the onions and garlic in a large pan with half a pint of the stock and simmer until the onions are soft. Add the peppers, courgettes and tomatoes and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and paprika. Pour in the saffron and add the peas and beans. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook very gently, adding stock as it is absorbed and stirring regularly until all the liquid is absorbed. Season to taste and add the parsley just before serving.

I will definitely be making both these again! Do you eat low fat on a budget?

Can you eat really healthily on a tight budget?

Can you eat healthily on a tight budget? In a word, yes! You don’t have to buy an organic veg box every week to eat a good diet. You just need a decent understanding of nutrition and to be willing to try different  foods.

eat healthily I know I go on about Aldi and the money it saves when I shop there. Lidl is similar. They both have their specials on fruit and veg for a start. This week Aldi is offering as part of their weekly super six selection mushrooms, oranges, apples, onions, mange tout and grapes – 59p for a pack of each. Lidl has aubergines, rocket, cherry tomatoes and broccoli for 39p each.

Pulses help you eat healthily

Tinned pulses cost very little wherever you buy them and the dried kind cost even less. They are packed with protein and fibre and low fat to boot. Kidney beans are pretty much a super food too! I have found nuts and dried fruit to be very expensive in health shops and the bigger supermarkets but great value in Aldi. I take them to work to snack on rather than falling foul of the chocolate machine.

They sell a decent range of fruit and green teas. Their fruit juice is a bargain and nicer than the value range from Sainsbury’s or Tesco I have found.

If your budget is really tiny you may not be able to eat much meat. I have found that adding a small amount of bacon or chorizo to a dish can add flavour and stop carnivores feeling deprived. It won’t break the bank, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest a vegetarian diet is good for your health. You could leave the meat out altogether, chuck in loads of vegetables to soups, casseroles and pasta dishes and there is no need to feel deprived.

If you can afford a bit of meat or don’t want to go full on veggie the chicken thighs in Aldi are amazing value. If you are feeling flush they even sell free range.

 A treat at the moment with cheese or some hummous is the seeded crackers. They are exactly the same as Dr Karg’s, which I love, only about half the price 😀.

Aldi sell plenty of low fat and natural yogurts and even organic milk.

The eat well plate for healthy eating

The eat well plate looks like this:

Lots of fruit and veg, healthy carbohydrates, a smaller amount of protein and dairy and tiny portions of fat and sugar. You can buy all of these types of foods at the discount supermarkets and most within the value or basics ranges at the larger ones. So, yes you can eat healthily on a tight budget!

I am trying to teach my daughters what constitutes a good diet and they all have good basic cooking skills. They all eat too much chocolate, but they do have me as a mother!