Cheap Girl On a Diet

5 Foods to get you Through that First Week of Dieting!

Oatmeal!

Go-to food for the early morning impaired. I’m serious, there are even packets of practically instant oatmeal. But you KNOW those aren’t the cheapest, or the healthiest choice. My personal favorite are STEEL CUT OATS or otherwise STONE-GROUND OATS. What makes these so great? They are less processed and are a whole-grain and thus high in fiber.

What that means for you: This breakfast will make you feel full fast! It also will stick with you!

Make it easy: Oatmeal reheats pretty well stove-top or in the microwave, so my trick is simply making a big batch one day and saving some for the following days. This isn’t rocket science, really.

Make it yummy: Add a handful of Craisins, walnuts or pecans, some cinnamon and, if you must have sweetener, XAGAVE* or honey. Delish!!!

(photo credit: www3.samsclub.com)

 

Make it Real: So when you think oatmeal you probably think brown sugar and milk. So do I, can’t help it, and even then if there’s a box of Captain Crunch I’d chose that first if I didn’t care about fitting into my clothes. Unless its oatmeal cream pies… OMG I just remembered how much I love those! Ok, but really back to reality, I can’t afford a new wardrobe. So I will maintain my weight. You see it all comes down to being cheap. Everyone has a reason, find one that works and let it motivate you!

Price: Steel cut oats- $3.78 Walmart; Bulk bag of Craisins- $7.87 (This will last you long past your first week of dieting!)

Eggs!

I know its another breakfast food! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it deserves at least two in my book. Now some might say, “I don’t have time to make eggs every morning!” But come on now, really? How many people in the world drink coffee? How many people stop at a drive-thru for breakfast? How many people get there morning cup of coffee from a drive-thru? Now you’re shrugging your shoulders in defeat, because chances are your guilty of at least two of the three. Well I used to make eggs almost every morning. And guess what? In that 5 minute detour to the drive-thru, or while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, you can make an egg. Probably two even!

What that means for you: This is a power food! Eggs are high in protein. Yes it has cholesterol. But so do those hamburgers a billion other people are eating. But at least you know where this cholesterol has been. In all seriousness though, eggs immensely improve concentration, curb hunger and improve brain development, to mention a few. Check out www.getcrackin.ca

for a few more interesting egg facts! Another winner for the full feeling stomach, with the added bonus of a FULL WORKING brain!

Make it easy: I’m not a fan of microwaved food, but sometimes its a must. Oddly enough early on in my childhood I realized eggs could be microwaved (even funnier is that I applied this knowledge to make a knock-off of an egg mcmuffin). If need be, break one egg into a small microwaveable bowl (glass works well). Break the yoke and mix in a dash of milk. Microwave for just under a minute. You don’t want any of the egg runny, but if you over microwave it the egg will explode. Wouldn’t that be a blast? (Pun intended ha ha ha) To be honest this style of egg is best eaten on a breakfast sandwich or could be rolled up in a tortilla with some cheese and salsa for an easy breakfast burrito of sorts. Try a whole wheat English muffin to be extra diet friendly!

Make it yummy: One of the easiest and tastiest ways I like to have my eggs is to simply fry an egg (by fry I mean lightly spray the pan with pam, let’s not get carried away) with salt, pepper and a couple of dashes of Louisiana hot sauce!

Price: Eggs $1.39/ dozen at most locations, $1.09 or lower at Kwik Trip sometimes. Frank’s red hot (hot sauce) $3.62 at Walmart

 Yogurt !

Now don’t get disheartened. THIS isn’t for BREAKFAST. Well okay it could be if you really want. Yogurt is great for dressings, dips, smoothies and much more. You know how you miss your chip dip? Or how carrots and celery aren’t as good without some ranch. Then there’s mayonnaise. It’s the enemy, but your sandwich just doesn’t taste the same without it. The good news? With the large variety of yogurt based dips and sauces you can replace those old standbys without too many parting tears.

What it means for you: Yogurt as a whole has lower fat content than most dressings and dips. Like most dairy products it contains calcium, guess what calcium does?!  Well fat produces a hormone called cortisol (that nasty stress stuff) and cortisol tells your body to make more fat! That Traitor! Anyways calcium tells your belly fat to keep that cortisol under control and it actually causes it to send it out less. Simply put, more calcium means less cortisol, less cortisol equals less fat! Other health benefits including potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, vitamin B5 and Vitamin B12 the latter of which means happy healthy red blood cells and nervous system!

Make it easy: McDonald’s yogurt parfait. It’s still on the dollar menu. No work for you here. And I used to work at McDonalds. All it has is frozen berries, vanilla yogurt, and those delicious granola crunchies! You could definitely pre-make your own parfaits at home with the same ingredients in portable containers!

Make it yummy: Fruit dip for family and friends! This recipe was road tested, boy-friend approved and potluck/ picnic friendly! 1 part yogurt, 1 part low-fat cream cheese, 1-2 tablespoons vanilla, grated lemon rind and  Splenda and Sugar to taste (I use half and half because the sugar cuts the funny Splenda after-taste out). Throw it all in a mixer and voilà. I served this with cut strawberries, pineapple, kiwi and mango. Delish!

Hummus!

Lemon Garlic Hummus HealthyAperture.com

(Photo credit: http://www.healthyapeture.com)

Fabulous variety and light, fresh, health conscious foods. That’s Mediterranean cooking for you. Every culture has something to bring to the fore when you’re on a diet. Hispanic cultures include a lot of beans and rice as a side dish to many entrees, together providing a complete protein, all things considered not bad for you. In many parts of the world portions are much smaller, so maybe French cooking is known to be fattening, but they’re accustomed to eating much less to begin with. But back to the beans, another spot of the world that’s known to include a great low-fat protein and fiber rich food like beans is in the Mediterranean. Now wait though, this is a budget guide after all isn’t it? All to often a quick trip to the grocery store reminds us of one sad fact of life. Variety isn’t cheap. At least not most of it. Let’s not get too sad though, and DON’T give up and resort back to that all too easy meat and potatoes diet. Hummus is a cost friendly recipe and almost too simple to make!

What this means for you: Protein. Protein. Protein! Fiber. Fiber. Fiber! Can’t stress it enough! When did your last chip dip give you 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber in each cup*! Not to mention the numerous vitamins and minerals chickpeas contain! Check it out at http://www.livestrong.com/article/371012-chick-peas-nutrition-information/ this is a link to an entire article on the benefits hummus contains! And for those of you who don’t like to read THAT much, in summary it means significant amounts of calcium and potassium as well for you! Remember we like calcium. More calcium equals less fat and healthier bones!

Make it easy: Okay this is going to be so ridiculously simple you will wonder why in the world you ever bought hummus from a store (if you ever did). One can of chickpeas. Two cloves of garlic. Lemon juice. Olive oil. Salt to taste. Blend. As in throw it all in a blender or food processor and go to town.

Make it yummy: Have fun with this one! There are countless hummus recipes to be found. Or just throw what you have in the fridge in there and see what comes out. If you need some direction though here it is. Try some basil leaves, chopped tomato, olives and a dash of paprika on top this looks super pretty if you do it with a little flair. Great for dinner parties and such! Another suggestion is throw in a tomato with the original recipe, try chives or jalapeños for extra flavor. I’ve even seen recipes for guacamole hummus. I will be trying this out soon!

Fruit!

Breakfast of rasperries, blueberries and oatmeal.

Breakfast of rasperries, blueberries and oatmeal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will preface this part quickly stating that I’m obsessed with fruit. I’ve never craved anything more than fruit. When our fruit bowl at home gets low I’m upset. Like my dog just died kind of upset. Most of my grocery money will go to fruit. And cheese. But that’s another story. Fruit is natures candy. I like candy. I LOVE fruit. Nature did it best, let’s just put it that way. Think of how convenient grabbing a banana is, or an apple, or a peach. A full fruit bowl is like having a pre-packaged snack on hand at all times.

What this means for you: Getting your “5 a day”. Vitamins and minerals, you name it. I don’t have to go on and on about if or how fruit is healthy. Kindergarteners know this stuff.

Make it easy: Buy in bulk sometimes but don’t buy ripe. I learned this lesson just the other week when I bought an entire box of mangos from Sam’s Club. Not even my entire family could keep up with those ripe mangos. If you don’t have specific plans for bulk fruit, cut them up and freeze them, or use them in smoothies. I used frozen peaches, plain yogurt, vanilla and Xagave and ice and made some really wonderful peach frozen yogurt in my blender. I mix the left overs with orange juice and ice to make something like an Orange Julius! My 7 year old little brother loves these!

Make it yummy: Buy in season. It sounds redundant probably for me to even say so, but the fruit that’s in season kicks butt. Spring fruits that are in season are pineapple, mango and strawberries to mention a few. Check this site out that has lists for what produce is in season http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. Imagine that juicy watermelon in the summer and the crisp apples, mouthwatering pears and peaches that await you in the fall. You’re hungry now aren’t you. When I said mouthwatering did your mouth start to water? I thought so. That’s not all! Grill the pineapple! Crush the strawberries to top off angel food cake! And don’t forget that tasty yogurt dip you learned how to make earlier! Oops did I say cake? That’s a little distracting I suppose.  Just between me and you, you know how light and fluffy angel food cake is? There may be something to that. It turns out it’s light in calories too, and it doesn’t make you fluffy!

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