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The Cheapskate’s Grocery Guide To Weight Loss On a Budget

Struggling to let go of a few extra pounds?  With all the fad diets and misinformation out there it can be hard to know which way to turn when it comes to weight loss. There are some effective programs out there – and there is a lot of trash that doesn’t work, isn’t sustainable and/or is potentially very risky to your health.

weight loss budget grocery guide

If you are struggling to lose weight and are tired of all of the high cost, low return crap out there, one simple place you can start is your pantry.  Clean it out and start filling it with healthy foods that will help support your weight loss goals.

Foods to Avoid For Weight Loss:

Do Some Kitchen Housecleaning

clean out kitchenAs you go through your pantry, clear out any foods that are highly processed, high in sugars and high in saturated fats. Get rid of anything with artificial sweeteners.

“Low Fat” foods are often loaded with extra sugars and should be avoided.  Toss out the potato chips, white breads and pastas. Get rid of those high fiber bars and plan to eat small amounts of fiber throughout your day. Avoid the “100 calorie packs” – it might be “low cal”, but it’s generally highly processed and loaded with sugar.

There are lots of simple, tasty, low sugar, low fat, low calorie foods that you can use to replace these items with that provide much more nutritional value.  Keep in mind, weight loss is not about calories alone. It’s about developing a healthy diet that nourishes your body.

Plan Ahead For Best Results

Planning is an important part of a healthy diet. Take time to plan your meals for the week before you go to the grocery store so you know what you need. If you are constantly on the go, carve out time each week to prep your meals and snacks so that you are less likely to end up hitting the drive through or the pizza parlor when you are rushed.

Budget Foods that Support Weight Loss

Now, the first thing that you might be thinking is that this is going to cost you a fortune. Eating healthy does not have to break the bank – and it is definitely a LOT less expensive than the cost of treating disease.  Luckily, organic foods are becoming more readily available at lower costs, too.

Any trip to the grocery store is going to cost a little cash, but  the better you plan your meals, the easier it will be to budget and the less likely you will indulge in a lot of impulse items.  Let’s take a look at some healthy foods that can help you lose weight and that you can buy on a budget.

Brown Rice:

brown riceBrown rice contains lots of B vitamins, magnesium, iron and other important nutrients that are stripped when it becomes white rice. It’s a highly nutritious, low calorie food that is high in fiber and gluten free. Brown rice makes a great side dish and can be seasoned in a variety of ways to keep it interesting. It also helps your body digest fats, which is great if you are trying to shed pounds.

Brown rice is slightly more expensive than white rice, but still fairly cheap overall.  You can buy it in bulk, which will save even more money. If you have a bit of a time crunch, just plan ahead – you can pre-cook your rice for the week and store it in the fridge – just pull out and heat up what you need when it’s time for dinner.

Canned Tuna:

canned tunaTuna is high in Omega 3 fatty acids and protein, and is a very low calorie food on its own. You can buy canned tuna very inexpensively. Just be mindful of how you prepare it – try making a tuna salad with chopped carrots, celery and onion, maybe a little relish if you like, and some seasoning – skip the mayo altogether. It won’t bind like it will with mayo, but is much lower calorie and much healthier for you.

Still like that mayo texture? Try making it with nonfat Greek Yogurt instead.

Nonfat Greek Yogurt:

greek yogurtIt’s not all hype. Greek Yogurt does have an edge over regular yogurt in the health arena – mainly because the straining process decreases the sugar content by about half, which is great for your health – just watch out for added sugars in the flavoring. It is high in protein and calcium – also great for you. Be sure to stick to nonfat or fat free, however, because regular Greek Yogurt is very high in saturated fats.

We recommend getting plain yogurt and seasoning to taste to avoid a lot of additional sugars and unwanted calories, but be sure to read your labels. Greek yogurt is great with fruit and granola, and can be a healthy substitute for sour cream and mayonnaise. Buy it by the quart to save some money and use it to make a variety of healthy snacks.

Rolled or Steel Cut Oats:

rolled oatsOats provide a number of vital nutrients, are high in fiber, low in fat and sugars, contain protein and are low calorie. They are also filling, which is great when trying drop some weight. Steel Cut Oat (Groats) are slightly higher in nutritional content, a little nuttier in flavor and chewier in consistency, but overall, the two are rather close in all of these areas so go with your preference.  Rolled oats are often a little less expensive.  Like rice, buy in bulk to save some cash. There are tons of great healthy recipes out there for this versatile food.

Frozen Fruits and Veggies:

frozen fruits and veggiesThere are lots of inexpensive fresh veggies and fruits available and if you plan well, you may be able to do well in the fresh produce section. If you are on a tight budget and the cost of fresh fruits and veggies is prohibitive, frozen is your next best alternative.

Even better – if you have a large enough freezer – get bulk fresh fruits and veggies from local farmers when they are in season and freeze them yourself. Make sure that your fruits do not have added sugars.

Dried Beans:

dried beansVery nutritious, high in protein and fiber, and super cheap. And you know what they say… beans, beans, they are good for your heart!

Beans provide numerous health benefits, are low calorie and are a very versatile food that can be used to make a wide variety of delicious dishes.

Buy them dried then soak them overnight. This is better and cheaper than buying canned beans.

Your Ultimate Budget Weight Loss Grocery List

Here is a list of common grocery items for your weight loss program. The good news is that you don’t need to have all of these in your pantry right away, so before going out and purchasing the whole list, sit down and plan out your meals and snacks so you know what you need now.

Look up some new recipes and try new things.  Be creative and have fun.  Losing weight should be an exciting time of self-love and nurturing, not a chore or an exercise in self-denial. Find some delicious new foods to add into your diet so that you can enjoy eating healthier.

FruitsVeggiesMeats & Fish
ApplesSquashCanned Tuna & Salmon
StrawberriesBrussel SproutsFresh Salmon
MelonsOnionsSkinless Chicken Breast
CherriesCeleryLean Beef
BerriesCarrotsLean Pork
AvocadoBeetsWhole Grains
TomatoKaleBrown Rice
PineappleSweet PotatoesCouscous
Nuts & BeansBeansDairy
AlmondsPeasLowfat Milk (2%)
PecansOther ItemsNonfat Greek Yogurt
WalnutsFresh SpicesCottage Cheese
Pinto BeansDried SpicesHard Cheese (Real)
Kidney BeansHoneyButter (Real)
Garbonzo BeansCoconut Oil
Navy BeansOlive Ol
Nut Butters
Almond Milk
Gluten Free Flour

Remember to steer clear of the processed packaged foods. Try to stick to the outside area of the grocery store. The unhealthy food is usually kept towards the middle of the store while the fresh food is around the outer edge.

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Health Coach Drew

HI, MY NAME IS DREW. I'm a certified health coach and nutrition expert. My goal is to take the confusion out of weight loss and healthy living and make it simple for everyone. Take The 21-Day Smoothie Diet Challenge
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[…] supplements, the Paleo Dieter will not be getting some key essential ingredients. Make sure your grocery list for weight loss includes some of these important […]

2 years ago

That last paragraph is AMAZING! Im trying to shed some covid lockdown weight lol and that last paragraph is so true! Saving for a home but wanted to a few and this article is pretty solid at doing both for me! Thanks for the info!

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