8 Budget-Diet Principles
to Ready You for Summer
By Camille Bacsa
Losing weight is hard enough as it is as we go through the hustle and bustle of 2017, and the motivation from January’s New Year’s Resolutions have been stretched to its limits. With summer fast approaching, we are again unwittingly bombarded with beach body ads left and right, and unless you are among the lucky few gifted with a rapid fire metabolism or an endless motivation to go to the gym, you’re probably wondering how to best shed those extra pounds, without going on a wildly expensive, all-green diet consisting of oftentimes pricey imported products. Well, dear reader, fret no more as we share with you some tried-and-tested tips to get healthy with a happy heart and a not-too-skinny wallet.
Harness the power of cheap, readily available superfoods.
Most of these superfoods are already lurking in your refrigerator. Eggs, at approximately 5 pesos apiece, are a perfect go-to breakfast and midday snack rich in protein and essential amino acids. Not to mention they are filling and can be creatively and quickly cooked, even with your humble microwave, in case you are in a rush (or just lazy). Spinach, at about 15 pesos a pack, is rich in Vitamin A and K and low in fat and cholesterol – and all you have to do is boil them for no more than 5 mins. Likewise, many other fruits and veggies pack a punch without costing a fortune. The golden rule is, the closer the product is to the ground, the less additives and processing it goes through, and thus is healthier and cheaper to supply in stores.
Don’t suddenly quit sweets, but cure your cravings with bite sized portions.
Let’s face it, we Pinoys have a sweet tooth and it would be absolute torture to just suddenly give up sugar. Believe me, the withdrawal will only cause you to crave it more especially as your friends or officemates flaunt delectable slices of cake or scoops of ice cream during merienda as a cure for your stressful day. If you’re a choco-holic for instance, the best thing to do is to buy bite sized pieces of dark chocolate and consume only one at a time when the cravings kick, until you are able to effectively increase your discipline to just eating one small piece a day. Dark chocolate may be more expensive, but it has more healthy anti-oxidants–and if you are eating it in healthy portions, well, you won’t burn through the entire pack too quickly, saving yourself from another sugar-rush induced trip to the store.
Do not go to the supermarket on an empty stomach.
This is risky business, a lot like closing your eyes after you’ve just shut off your morning alarm (oh, you know it). Don’t let your eyes and your tummy betray you as you pass by aisles and aisles of guilty pleasure in the form of junk food, sweets, and other treats by feeding it well before your grocery trip. Not only will you save yourself from the guilt cycle of “why did I buy this?”, you’ll also be saving a ton by keeping your shopping list trim for only the healthy stuff that you need.
Beat untimely snacking with good old H20.
Do you ever find yourself hungry only an hour after lunch and wanting to reach for a perk-me-up snack? If yes, you are so not alone. Unless you really ate very little for lunch (don’t lie to yourself here now), chances are you are probably just thirsty and the body needs to rehydrate. Before grabbing that muffin, have a cold glass of water and see if it satisfies your “hunger”.
Two words: green tea.
Known for its slimming effects, green tea is packed with healthy antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol and stress hormones like cortisol whilst boosting metabolism. So if you think about it, it works in two ways because it keeps you from stress-eating too. The catch though is you have to drink it up, not consume it in the wildly popular and tempting matcha desserts, because that’s got all kinds of other calories that won’t help you in your budget-diet journey. Green tea has caffeine too, so it can rival your favourite 3-in-1 coffee (which probably has copious amounts of sugar) as a wake-me-up.
Go for fiber.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times – complex carbohydrates are the way to go. But in case you’re not a big fan of brown rice, oatmeal, or wheat bread, you will also be able to pack up on fiber with a few smarter choices in your pantry. Apples, bananas, and oranges all have a high fiber content. In case you’re craving salty junk food, popcorn makes a wiser option too, so long as you don’t lather on the butter or cheese powder because it is derived from corn. Similarly, corn kernels also make a great snack, and they retail pretty inexpensively in cans in the supermarket.
Make meals a fun, relaxed experience.
Treat yourself and make your healthy though inexpensive meals feel fancy by plating them up in small but colorful plates to visually stimulate you. Pair it with some good music and make sure you’re not mindlessly looking at the TV or your phone, and you will be able to savor every bite more, leaving you full sooner.
Pack up on flavor with all-natural spices.
If you haven’t already learned how to cook, by all means do so because this is key to the budget-diet lifestyle. You can elevate a humble salad to an amazing entrée just by learning how to use your parsley, peppers, and paprika – at a fraction of the price a restaurant will serve it up to you. Knowing how to use your arsenal of supermarket spices (which by the way sell within the range of 10-30 pesos a pack) will up your healthy food game without killing you until the next paycheck arrives.
Got any more tips? Share them with us below!