Alexandra Tully - Palmerston North Dietitian - Palmerston North Cooking Classes, NZ

Healthy eating is expensive.. or is it?

July 7, 2019

I have a lot of clients who may have weight loss/ energy related/ general healthy eating goals- but say that healthy dietary changes are too expensive to adhere to!

 

Here is a case-study example of a client of mine (she granted me permission to share this) who would like to lose some weight. She wakes up and skips breakfast (to save on calories) then rushes through the morning and goes to work. At morning tea time she buys a muffin and an energy drink, or coffee, then works through lunch. Usually by the afternoon she is starving so buys some snacks from the office snack-box or has a couple of muesli bars to keep her going. When we delved into the rest of her week she revealed that her water intake is minimal but she drinks 6 bottles of diet coke each week in an effort to cure her sweet cravings. Dinner is always a healthy combo of meat/ carb/ veg- with lots of pasta, rice, or mashed potato- because they are easy and cheap. Usually after dinner she is still hungry so has another nut bar or some processed cheese slices and crackers. 


When we talked about her goal- weight loss- her diet did not align with this for a few reasons. The things that stood out to me were: 


- Lots of sugar/ sweeteners creating a constant taste for sugar.


- Lack of fruit and vege's.

 

- A large serving of carbohydrates at dinner time- likely raising her blood glucose levels - later causing a crash in energy and consequent hunger or sugar cravings. 


- Meal pattern- I don't always believe that 3 meals /day is best for everyone but if you are skipping meals and the result is unstructured snacking / hunger/ intake of high calorie foods- then you might as well try having meals instead and get some decent nutrition into you.

 

- Limited water so likely creating hunger cravings (and other symptoms of dehydration). 




We did a grocery analysis together and figured out that she is spending about $150/week on things that would fall into the category of "not providing anything beneficial to our health or goals" e.g. ice cream, muesli bars, fizzy, muffins, extra chocolate bars at the supermarket etc. This was eye opening to her (and me!) and made her reflect on- why do we consider a $3 cauliflower or $2 broccoli as expensive- when we are happy to pay $3-4 for chocolate/ biscuits and other "treat" items.

We came up with the following plan to give her some low cost breakfast and lunch ideas which will keep her full, help her lose weight, save her money, and reduce her sugar cravings! 

 


Breakfast options: 

Omelette made with 2x eggs/ handful spinach (home grown)/ 1/4 cup grated cheese/ 1/3 tin tomatoes

OR

Porridge made with 1/3 cup oats/ 1 Tbsp peanut butter/ 2 Tbsp yoghurt/ 1/2 cup frozen berries

Lunch: 

1 tin vegetable soup (or homemade pumpkin/ tomato) with 1-2x slices grainy bread

OR 

Homemade quiche/ frittata 

OR

Leftover dinner - meat/ veg/ small portion or carb

Dinner:

Cheap cuts of meat e.g. chicken drumsticks OR combine 1 tin lentils/ chickpeas/ kidney beans with stewing beef/ mince

AND

1/2 plate non starchy vege's e.g. pumpkin/ cauliflower/ peas/ broc/ carrots OR coleslaw/ salad

AND 

1/4 plate - or 1 fist size serve- of carbohydrate e.g. potato/ wholemeal pasta/ brown rice/ kumara/ corn

AND 

2 Tbsp fat e.g. avocado/ nuts and seeds/ oily dressing - this is to help satisfy her and prevent the post-dinner energy crash



When we ran some quick numbers- by adding in the extra lunch and breakfast and taking out all the snacks and takeaway food- she saves $80 just on food each week!! This is providing satisfying, nourishing meals, a diet more aligned with her goals, and has increased her energy levels dramatically! She now treats herself to a massage 1x month as a reward for not spending so much on food and STILL saves money!

 

So if you are thinking that you would like to reshape your diet but are struggling to see how this could fit into your budget- book an initial session with me. We will go through your diet/ grocery shop/ lifestyle/ and goals- and make your diet suit your budget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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