This is one of those articles where we specifically address a particular type of diet. As always, we start with a disclaimer that we don’t condone the use of “diets” in the long term, preferring instead to focus on sustainable lifestyle changes, such as in the Granite Fitness Masterclass. However, we acknowledge diets as being good for the short-term.
The Atkins diet and its variants, all of which involve more protein and fewer carbohydrates, have a lot of health benefits in the short term. Unfortunately, it is not exactly easy on the wallet. Truth be told, fresh meats are some of the most expensive items in the grocery store’s food section. Of course, when you follow Atkins, you’ll need to purchase a lot of them. However, there are simple steps that you can take to cut costs on this low-carb plan.
First of all, you should be creative in your meal planning. Remember that most diet recipe books are written to entice readers to try new combinations of foods. The recipes within those books contain the most expensive ingredients. This is completely unnecessary. You don’t have to cook like a professional chef in order to be able to experience the benefits of the Atkins diet.
There are many simple recipes that you can make that are within the plan and cost much less than the ones shown in the diet books. I will link to some of them below that have received positive reviews from our readers. If you modify the meal plans with the books, you can enjoy the low carb lifestyle on a budget.
One of the best things you can do is buy your meats in bulk. When you stock up on large portions of ground beef, chicken and fish, you cut down on costs. This is called having economies of scale. You can separate the large packages into small freezer bags and freeze them in meal-sized portions. Two to four chicken breasts in a bag are easy to defrost and make a good-sized meal.
You can also cook ground beef in many different varieties and freeze the cooked portions. Try doing a portion of the meat with taco spices, another portion with hamburger spices and the third portion with Italian spices. That way you’ll be able to use lots of hamburger meat and still have variety in your diet.
Of course, the tip above is contingent upon having storage space in the freezer, especially since you can potentially store up a few months’ worth of meat. And with that being said, one creative way to go about things is to substitute different meats on the recipe itself. So instead of lamb, you can follow the same recipe using pork instead. Genius!
Also, look at less tender cuts of meat to trim costs in your grocery money. While fillet mignon may be tasty, it doesn’t fit into every budget. Less tender cuts of beef and pork make excellent crock-pot meals, and using a slow cooker will help tenderise them. While this may be the case, vegetarians like me can use another approach.
Look to alternative protein sources i.e. vegetarian, like eggs and tofu. Both of these items pack a powerful protein punch for a fraction of the cost of meats. Nuts are a great protein source as well, but they can become expensive very quickly and they are also calorie-rich. Some recipes call for expensive macadamia nuts and cashews. Walnuts, peanuts and almonds contain just as much protein for a fraction of the cost.
Mixed vegetable salads will make a large portion of your daily Atkins meals. While it may be tempting to buy bagged salad that is already chopped, it is less cost-effective as preparing them yourself. You can buy three heads of different types of lettuce for the same cost and make the equivalent of six bags of pre-packaged salad.
Finally, it is best to plan your meals and your shopping trips so you can buy your groceries in an effective manner. Going to the grocery store unprepared hungry can spell disaster for your budget. Plan each week’s menu out ahead and time and then buy what you need to make those meals. Lists are the best! Also, grab the Granite Fitness Masterclass.
Mark is an all-rounded guy with dreams, aspirations, and a desire to be a better version of himself. Having conquered obesity, he set-up Granite Fitness to help regular people get in shape and stay healthy. As of 2023, Mark spends his days as a People and Culture Manager. He holds three science degrees, a Diploma of Christian counselling, a Diploma of Human Resources, and a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety. Connect with Mark @ http://au.linkedin.com/in/marksptan