Confession time! I desperately need to start back up on 21-Day Fix. I took the summer off of the fix, determined to eat healthy but to also indulge a little. I wanted to be able to go out and have ice cream with the kids, or to go to the movie and eat popcorn. I’m very pleased with myself that I only gained two pounds. I really let myself enjoy the summer, but now it’s back at it! I am ready to start my first round (for the second time) on 21-Day Fix.
One of the biggest comments I hear from friends and family is how expensive eating healthy is. When I started the 21-Day Fix back in February 2016 I was terrified of my budget being blown, just to lose a couple pounds. I am probably one of the most frugal people you will ever meet, and going over my budget gives me extreme anxiety.
When I started planning my meals and snacks I added a hundred dollars into my grocery budget for the 21 days. I set a limit of $33 extra each week, and I would have to stay under budget, there was no exception. In my mind if I couldn’t afford 21 days of eating healthy, I had to try another program.
Luckily after the first round of the 21-Day Fix I got pretty good at eating healthy and staying under my original budget of $100 each week at the store. I didn’t even need to use the extra $33 I allowed myself!
Below are five ways I kept within my original grocery budget on 21-Day Fix:
- Keep it Simple: The biggest tip I can share with you is to keep your meal plan simple. Find five or ten dinners that your family likes, and stick to them. Use leftovers for lunch and simple snacks such as fruits, peanuts, and Shakeology.
- Buy in Bulk: Once you find foods that you like, stock up on them. I purchased bulk frozen chicken breasts, ground turkey, Naan bread, corn tortillas, frozen fruits and veggies at Sam’s Club and stored them in the freezer, then I only defrosted what I needed. This allowed me to stretch a bag of chicken breast a month, defrosting only 1-2 pieces as needed for lunches, and 6-7 pieces for dinners. You can buy reseal-able vegetable and fruit bags and only take out a green container at a time for lunch. The containers are microwaveable, making serving sizes easy!
- Buy Seasonal Produce: One way to save a ton is to buy seasonal produce. Peppers, zucchini, melons, and berries in the summer, and apples, pears, grapes, etc. in the fall. I found a seasonal produce chart online and bought according to the season. You can save a ton on in-season produce. Stock up on broths, canned vegetables and baking needs (coconut oil, whole wheat flour) in the fall and winter, and keep them in the pantry.
- Stretch Portions: I’m not for meal prepping (making a week’s worth of meals on Sunday). I have a way of convincing myself the food has spoiled and I can’t eat it. I know it’s all in my head, but I can’t help it. Instead of prepping a week’s worth of meals, I started cooking a big dish on Sunday such as lasagna or chili for dinner, and getting enough leftovers for one or two lunches. Then, if we have chicken for dinner, I’ll make an extra portion for lunch the next day. This helps me to “prep” a couple lunches making it less likely I’ll eat something unhealthy or not eat because I’m busy.
- Shop Sale Flyers: One way to save money on groceries, whether you’re eating healthy or not, is to shop the sale flyers. I don’t usually coupon, instead using sale flyers to stick to a $400 a month grocery budget. Most people don’t believe it, but they DO put healthy foods on sale. Usually there is meat on the front page at a “lost leader” price (really a low price to get you to come into the store). I generally buy two or three packages of sale meat and freeze them for later. I can always find sale veggies and fruit (usually the seasonal produce), and things like Greek yogurt, almond milk, and whole grain goodies to stock up on. I build my meals according to 1: what’s in the pantry and freezer, and 2: what’s in the sale flyer.
My normal 21-Day Fix meal plan looks something like this:
I am so excited to start the 21-Day Fix again, and get these couple pounds off. I know it won’t be easy the first couple days, but I’m looking forward to my jeans fitting again, and leggings. I am really looking forward to fall + wearing leggings. Gotta get these thighs back in shape though!
Share some of your favorite meal planning and money saving tips. I’m always looking for new recipes to “fix-up”.