“Can I follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan AND be frugal?”
Definitely. I would point out that the Trim Healthy Mama authors by their own admission did not have huge grocery budgets when they came up with the plan. Years ago, when I began eating this way we did not have two pennies to rub together, so yes, it can be done. Be encouraged, there is hope!
Stick to the Basics
One way to keep your grocery budget low is to stick to the basics. In the new cookbook, focus on the recipes that say NSI = No Special Ingredients, even in the original book you can tab the recipes that don't require special ingredients. This will help you save money not only by sticking to basic recipes and not buying special ingredients, but it will save you shipping costs and time spent looking for special ingredients. Basic foods like eggs, oatmeal, beans, lentils, cabbage, sweet potatoes, frozen berries, cottage cheese, and yogurt can be delicious and filling. I enjoy so many recipes from the books that do not require special ingredients.
Use a Crockpot
Using a crockpot can save you not only money but also time and calories. Personally, when I eat soups I tend to fill up faster due to all the liquid in the soup. A side benefit of following a more frugal approach to the THM plan is not going crazy with all the decadent meals that tend to cause some people (myself included) to overeat. In the end you could lose weight faster by keeping it simple.
Use less expensive ingredients
You can also purchase less expensive cuts of meat. You can find lots of great deals at Aldi. If you are going to use protein powder it doesn't have to be whey powder. Pea protein is often less expensive than whey protein, so I substitute it in any E recipes that call for protein powder. It sometimes doesn't work for S or FP because of the carb content so be sure to check any labels.
If you shop at Costco you can save money by purchasing large bags of frozen vegetables and berries there. I also purchase meat, beans, yogurt, sour cream, cheese nuts and almond milk in bulk from Costco. I don't feel like Light Laughing Cow cheese is a special ingredient and it is available at my local Costco. If you don't shop at Costco but you have a friend who does, here's a tip for how to shop without a membership.
Stretch your ingredients
One little trick Pearl taught me in the beginning when we were all stretching ingredients was to strain the liquid out of regular plain nonfat yogurt to get a nice thick greek style yogurt for less money. Now they also have another way to stretch the yogurt and save a few calories. It's called “jigglegurt” and you can find it on p. 345 in the new cookbook.
You can also add leftover chicken breast to a huge bag of nonstarchy vegetables with beans and the right seasonings to make a wonderful meal! Try making quickie white chicken chili.
Always make use of your leftovers
When I make my meals, I try to build off the previous meal if at all possible. For example, I might make meatloaf with veggies tonight, then tomorrow night I'll take the leftover meatloaf and cut it into small squares and add it to a soup with lots of veggies and broth to stretch it further. One night I might make pinto beans and the next night I will add lean ground meat to the same pot with chili spices and veggies to make a wonderful chili. Use your imagination to come up with ways to stretch your leftovers into another meal. My kids think it's magic when they can't find anything to eat in the kitchen only to have me spend 30 minutes in there and come out with a complete well balanced meal.
You don't have to be traditional
Sometimes I have oatmeal for lunch, break out of the traditional menu style, it's up to you and with this plan you can eat desserts for breakfast! Hello, muffin in a mug! (p. 273) Oatmeal is delicious with a scoop of pea protein, some berries, and stevia! If I fail to plan, it's not unusual for us to have scrambled eggs with veggies and parmesan cheese for dinner at night. This morning I reheated sweet potatoes for breakfast to go with my Trimmy Light p. 430. Mix it up with what you've got.
Tweek your own recipes to be THM friendly
My Ninja Meatloaf was based on a recipe I have used for over 20 years! I simply removed the flour and sugars and cut down on the onion and added in greens. Take your favorite recipes and plug the ingredients into MyFitnessPal “add a recipe” section and then play with the ingredients and amounts. Many times by removing or replacing a couple of ingredients you can keep your favorite recipes by making them THM friendly. If you would like to learn how to do this, Gwen's Nest can show you how!
Some great budget-stretching meals from the book:
- Egg Roll in a Bowl p. 62 – this is my one of my favorite meals because you can add extra cabbage and go slightly lighter on the meat and no one will care… the flavor is wonderful.
- Big Boy Smoothies p. 415-6 – I make either the choco p. or the berry p. at least 5 days out of the week. I mean, an entire cup of okra? I feel like this recipe gives me a lot of bang for my buck. Many of the special ingredients are optional.
- Mama's Famous Meatloaf p. 157
- Jalapño Onion Burgers p. 178
- Soft Sprouted Bread p. 200
- Crockpot oatmeals p. 257 – requires sweetener, but whey protein is optional
- Mufflets p. 237
- Sweet Creamy Coleslaw p. 230 – great for picnics and potlucks
- Deviled Eggs p. 228 also great for picnics, potlucks, etc.
- Waldorf Cottage Cheese Salad p. 190 this is a staple for my lunch.
- Taco Salad p. 184 or Taco Time p. 68 – we make some slight variation of this almost every Tuesday (#tacotuesday)
These are just a handful of my favorites that aren't super expensive or time-consuming to make. If you don't have any of the books, I recommend starting with the cookbook.
Desserts that won't break the bank
- Moosetracks ice cream – Recipe by Briana Thomas (does require Gluccie)
- Hot Cocoa – Calls for special sweetener
- Sugar Free Lemon Curd – Calls for special sweetener (I use Gentle Sweet)
Recipes from other blogs that I use frequently:
- Low Carb German Pancake (just like the ones I ate when I lived in Germany!)
- Budget Friendly Cornbread – does require sweetener like Stevia or Super Sweet
- Chicken Barley Soup – hearty and delicious
Drink lots of water
This might sound crazy, but in between meals, sometimes when I think I'm hungry I just drink down a big glass of room temperature water. After I wait about 20 minutes if I'm still hungry I will find a Fuel Pull snack, but usually, most of the time, I'm not even hungry anymore. I say this all the time (mostly to myself) but it can't be said enough, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I think so many of us just get busy and forget to drink. If you have Stevia and Apple Cider Vinegar, you should be drinking your Good Girl Moon Shine, but don't fret if you can't. Just drink your water!
Here are some of my favorite bloggers who share more frugal tips:
- A Home With A Purpose – this is an entire list of clickable recipes that are geared toward wallet-friendly recipes! You'll want to pin this link to your Trim Healthy Mama board on Pinterest.
- A Spoonful of Goodness
- Gwen's Nest
- The Coffee Shop