Healthy living on a dime

How can I be healthy on a budget? What alternatives are there to kumbacha and quinoa? Why is everything so expensive?

Sound familiar?

You’ve asked or wondered about this as well on your weight-loss journey. I know that when I started out, I was terrified by the high cost of nuts and don’t get me started on figuring out things like quinoa (or justifying paying that much for it). Don’t get me wrong, quinoa is great, but there are cost-effective alternatives for the regular ol’ lady like me.

Budget busters

I have always worked with a budget when doing my grocery shopping, but it is really difficult to budget on how much everything will cost. That is why I go into a shopping expedition like a mathematician whose life depends on finding bargains.

  • Buy brown rice, barley, lentils, beans and peas – whole grains and legumes are cheap! They are also very satisfying, full of fibre, complex carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals, and are easily stored in tins or glass jars in your dry-goods cupboards.
  • Buy meat in bulk from a butchery or farm store – it comes direct from the source and is usually much cheaper than large supermarket chains. Then freeze the meat for the month.
  • Buy fresh fruit and vegetables on a weekly basis and finish them by the end of the week. I have a list of the vegetables I need and only buy those. This ensures that I’m not wasting any food or money and everyone is well fed.
  • Be on the lookout for specials and two-for-one deals that many stores offer on a regular basis.

Don’t buy into fads

A lot of people are going to tell you that you need to start eating expensive health foods that you cannot pronounce – you don’t. The same applies with expensive supplements and special weight loss shakes that guarantee instant results – they won’t.

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  • Supplements are great but they’re not essential for weight loss. Invest in a quality multivitamin and take that each day. It will save you money and give your body the nutrients it needs.
  • Protein bars and shakes may be a delicious guilt-free treat, but they cost a lot more than a pack of biltong or a bag of nuts which offers the same protein. Choose the cost-effective alternative.

Eat in

South Africans spent an average of R3,95 billion on eating out in 2014, according to theUNISA/Momentum 2014 Household Wealth Index. That is an insane amount of money to spend on junk food and isn’t helping anyone’s waistline or wallet. Switch to eating in more often.


  • Make a special event out of eating in with friends by hosting dinner parties or pot luck’s. These are perfect to ensure you’re not eating anything you shouldn’t and cost effective as well.
  • Host a ‘healthy meal’ trade with friends and family to get inspiration and better ideas of healthy meals that don’t break the bank.

Following a healthier eating plan and lifestyle doesn’t need to mean the end of your life savings. There are ways to lose weight on a budget, and by following these tips, you should be able to do just that.

Post first appeared on All4Women.

I am all over social media here and here.

Until next time.



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