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    Weight Loss on a Budget: How to Save Time and Money

    Weight loss meal plan on a budget

    By Nick Hall

    When I first start working with a new client and we begin to discuss their weight loss meal plan and how to include the right type of foods with each meal, the two most common objections I hear every time are “it’s so expensive to eat healthy” and “I don’t have time to cook”. This can be true if you are purchasing more expensive cuts of meat and trying to cook from scratch for each meal. There is a way though that you can save time and money when preparing meals as part of your weight loss meal plan.

    In this article I’ll show you how to lose weight on a budget.  You can create 12 serves for under $2.50 per serve which you can incorporate as part of your weight loss meal plan. Once made, you can then store in the fridge or freezer and reheat for later use. This planning and preparation in advance will save you both time and money later in the week.

    Creating your weight loss meal plan for the week in advance will make things a lot easier. What I tell clients repeatedly is don’t leave it until breakfast, lunch or dinner time to think about what you want to eat. When you have to run down to the supermarket at the last minute when you are starving and in a rush, that’s when you’ll either make bad choices or expensive choices.

    When it comes to food shopping, try making the majority of your purchases from the local market. If you go at the right time such as before closing time, traders will usually be selling off bags of vegetables, fruit and meat fairly cheap. If you don’t have a local market, your nearest supermarket will be fine. Supermarkets will also discount meat, fruit and vegetables towards the end of the day.

    When creating your own weight loss meal plans and or planning your food purchases for the week, vegetables are always going to be your best friend. Include as much variety of vegetables as you can into your weekly meal planning. Vegetables are cheap, will fill you up and don’t contain a lot of calories. Vegetables help slow the digestion process which helps keep insulin and blood sugar levels more stable which will assist with weight loss.

    When it comes to purchasing sources of protein, you don’t always have to choose the finest cuts of steak or chicken breast fillets. In this example I used chicken drumsticks and wings which worked out much cheaper per serve than breast fillets.

    The cost of the combined ingredients was $25. The chicken pieces cost roughly $5 and the dried lentils cost around $5. On this occasion there were enough lentils to make two batches of soup. The remaining vegetables cost roughly $15.

    On this occasion,  two large meals were created at the same time. These two meals are baked orange chicken (4 serves) and lentil soup (8 serves).

    For simplicity, make the baked orange chicken first then, while the chicken is baking, make the lentil soup.

    Baked orange chicken recipe

    Serves: 4-5
    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 1hr

    Ingredients:

    3-4 chicken drum sticks
    6 chicken wings
    1 red onion
    1 zucchini
    1 egg plant
    2 garlic cloves
    Juice and rind of one orange
    3-4 tsp olive oil
    1 tbs dried Italian herbs
    1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
    1 handful of spinach leaves

    Method
    – Preheat oven to 200dg
    – Chop onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and egg plant. Put cherry tomatoes to one side
    – Place onion and garlic in a large cast iron cooking pot and sauté
    – Slice the flesh of the chicken and add to the pot to brown
    – Once browned, add the zucchini, egg plant, orange rind, orange juice and herbs
    – Place in oven for 45 minutes
    – After 45 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes and return to oven for 15 more minutes
    – When baking complete, portion out into storage containers.

    Lentil Soup Recipe

    Serves: Approx 8
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: Approx 30 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 cups of green lentils
    1 bunch of chopped spring onion
    1 bunch of chopped parsley
    4 chopped carrots, peeled
    400g of pumpkin chopped into cubes
    3 potatoes chopped
    4 celery stalks chopped
    200g of chopped sweet potato

    Method:
    – Place green lentils into a large saucepan with water covering lentils and boil
    – While water is boiling, chop vegetables
    – As soon as water boiled, strain lentils
    – Return lentils into saucepan
    – Add all chopped vegetables
    – Fill saucepan with water, 2cm from top
    – Add 2 tsp of salt and 1 tbs of olive oil
    – Place saucepan on high heat and bring to boil
    – When soup begins to boil, reduce to low heat, place lid half on saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all vegetables are soft
    – Once vegetables are soft, mash with a potato masher. You can then portion out into storage containers.

    Once complete, you can then store the above meals in the fridge or freezer and re-heat later in the week.