Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Can Dieting Save You Money?

I'm excited to introduce you to my friend, Brande McDonald, who agreed to do a Guest Post today!

She's a Mother of Three and a Personal Trainer.  She's not just all talk - she actually practices what she preaches and she looks fabulous because of it!  Recently, she "ran the numbers" to see if Healthy Eating is actually more Frugal than Fast Food.   Here's a portion of her post on Save Money, Save Calories:

"I was creating a new plan for a friend the other day. She is in need of serious change in her life. She is over weight and under-funded. She typically eats from the McDonald's breakfast menu, snacks from a vending machine, eats lunch at one of a 1/2 dozen fast food places. Usually does not snack in the afternoon and half the month she does cook dinner, but the other half, it's eating out. When I broke it down, she was spending $539 a month and eating up to 2700 calories a day. One reason I calculated the cost was because I sell a meal replacement shake that she said she couldn't afford. I beg to differ. On my plan she will spend $369 a month and eat less than 1350 calories a day.

Do I think she should do this for life? No, but if you are in a position that you want to change, then you must act. Serious change usually comes with hard work and sacrifice. There is no magic pill. My family does eat out occasionally and not everyone in the household drinks a shake. But as adults, my husband and I have been grabbing a shake for over 15 years. It is a good choice over eating junk food or skipping a meal. As a trainer, I hear every excuse in the book. They all sound different but translate the same...I am not willing to try or be uncomfortable. Money saving and calorie counting are very similar... I could make a budget but then I might have to stick with it! I could make a set menu, shop carefully for it but then I couldn't lean on the excuse of there was "nothing to eat so we went to Red Lobster."

Good weight loss and maintenance comes from eating small meals throughout the day. This is not new information. The plan I made for my friend is similar to hundreds I have made before. Breakfast, lunch and dinner plus three snacks. I have found that breaking the food down into small but filling meals really helps. It is easier to walk away from a binge situation if you know you will be eating again in less than 3 hours.

Whether you use this exact plan or not, if you carefully plan you meals for a week (or even a month) you will save big bucks on your food bill. One friend I know has a set dinner for each day of the week. Her grocery list rarely changes. She even has cute names like "Meat Loaf Monday" and "Fishy Friday." Here is the one I made for my friend. At her current weight, she should lose about 20 pounds in the first month. I am hoping she will exercise and increase that number!!"

To see Brande's recommended Meal Plan and her Breakdown of Dollars & Calories, click over to The Real Me Project!

Reading this was great "food for thought" for me as I have always equated Healthy Eating with Expensive Eating.  Lord knows that my family needs to make a lifestyle change like this one... and soon!  I'm very curious about your thoughts and experiences about ways to Save Money while Savings Calories?


  1. I try to find a balance with cheap food and healthy food too. I cook a lot of dry beans, which are dirt cheap and low in fat, high in fiber and other vitamins like iron. I try to buy whatever fruits and veggies are cheapest (usually in season and locally grown). Plus we don't buy sodas, candies and rarely eat desserts, so that saves us money we can spend on healthier things.

  2. New follower and fellow frugal blogger. Found you through The Shabby Nest.

    Jodi @ Make Three

  3. I use a meal planning site with dietary options. I don't feel like I'm going broke. We have a set budget and use it for groceries. We used to have a dining out budget but now if we want to go out to eat or get take out, my husband or I have to use our personal blow money. It's a deterrent.

    Regardless if it's a little more money or not, being healthy is important. We only have this one life. And if someone budgets, there's no excuse to not make it work. If they don't budget, well that's another problem.


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