Saving Money When Low Carb Dieting

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Low Carb Talk

saving-moneyAlthough the Atkins program is beneficial to your health, it may not be beneficial to your pocketbook. The protein in the form of meat which is a staple of the Atkins diet is one of the most expensive things you can buy in your local grocery store. But don’t fret – there are adjustments that can be made to save some money on low-carb diets.

The first thing you need to do is be more innovative with your meal preparation. All the diet books that you will buy are written in order to attract readers to try their new recipes. However, the recipes in the book are all made with the most expensive ingredients. This is not cost effective, and you do not need to cook like an expert cook in order to receive the effects of the Atkins diet. Go for the less complex recipes because they can be more easily made for a family on a tight budget. Also, do not feel restricted to exactly what the diet book calls for – be sure to add your own personal flair and creativity to the recipe.

One of the most cost effective things you can do to save money on food is to buy in bulk (especially meat). By buying all of your ground beef, chicken, and fish in bigger quantities you can really reduce your protein costs. To save time when you want to cook the food, just separate the larger packages of meat into small freezer bags when you first buy it. You can store two to four chicken breasts in a single bag and cook them up easily and quickly whenever you want. Ground beef can be cooked in a variety of ways, so try some new recipes and freeze the cooked portions. Good ideas for doing that would be using different kinds of spices. Some examples of fun spices are taco spices, hamburger spices, and Italian spices. By doing this, you’ll be able to still have variety in your diet, while still eating a lot of hamburger meat.

Additionally, buying less tender cuts of meat is much less expensive. Fillet mignon, while delicious, usually can not fit into your budget. Use a slow cooker or crock-pot to tenderize the less tender cuts of beef and pork for a tasty meal.

Alternative sources of protein like eggs and tofu are also excellent for getting your daily protein. They both have a lot of protein, but do not cost nearly as much as other meats. Surprisingly, nuts also contain a good deal of protein. However, when trying to cut costs, use less expensive nuts like walnuts, peanuts, and almonds instead of macadamia nuts and cashews – this will help save a lot of money in the long run.

On Atkins, vegetable salads are a major part of your diet. To save money, do not buy the pre chopped bagged salad at the grocery store. Those cost $2 to $3 a bag, and you can buy three heads of lettuce for exactly the same amount and end up making six bags of pre chopped salad. A helpful tool for this would be a salad spinner, which makes homemade salads crunchy and fulfilling.

Always use produce and meats that are on sale. Since the sale items change from week to week, this will add variety to what you eat. It can be interesting to use substitutes to what a recipe calls for, and sometimes, it can even end up tasting better than the original recipe. It is helpful to bring an acceptable food list to the grocery store with you so you can tell if foods that are on sale are tolerable for the Atkins program.

Packaged foods are expensive. To cut costs, avoid buying low-carb packaged foods. Often, these foods can even contain harmful chemicals and hidden carbs that can put a stop to your weight loss. You definitely do not need to buy these products in order to follow the Atkins diet plan. It is advised to leave out these produces altogether.

Lastly, it is very important to go to the grocery store with a plan of what you’re going to buy. You have to be prepared in order to make the best decision, or you’ll end up being there for more than a few hours, or worse, you’ll come out with a dent in your budget or diet. Plan your meals ahead of time and then buy only what you need to make those meals so that you do not over eat.