Trim Healthy Thursday: How I do Trim Healthy Mama on a budget

This is my 13th week of Trim Healthy Mama-ing.  I think I’ve only managed one week 100% on plan, but I still have entire days when I am completely on plan.  I reckon I stick to it 80-90% of the time and weight is coming off nicely.  My skinny jeans are getting so baggy I will need to retire them soon. I eat off-plan when I’m a dinner guest at someone’s house, and occasionally when my husband wafts a fresh loaf of his bread under my nose, but generally I find THM easy to stick to.  Being sugar-free for the past few years means that the THM lifestyle hasn’t been a massive change to my diet, but I can appreciate that for many people it seems like a big challenge.  In fact, if it all seems too much, I’d recommend giving up sugar before you attempt THM, or the THM desserts will call your name and therefore put a strain on your wallet.  If you want tips on how to wean yourself off sugar before plunging into THM, here are my tips on how to do it.  Of course, plenty of people have successfully gone cold-turkey, but I just think it is easier to do THM without the fancy ingredients when your sweet tooth is already under control. A lot of people lurking on the THM Facebook pages worry that adopting this lifestyle will cost them megabucks.  It’s not hard to see why when mouthwatering THM desserts are posted on there daily – recipes which generally contain expensive ingredients like almond flour, erythritol, cream cheese and a cup of egg whites.

But here’s the thing: you don’t need expensive ingredients to do THM.

You just don’t. My THM shopping list doesn’t look that different to my pre-THM list.  Sure, I’d love to eat THM cheesecake and muffins every day, but my budget doesn’t let me.  Many THM dessert and bread ingredients are super-expensive here in New Zealand, and they are very tricky for me to source locally.  I ran out of THM approved sweeteners, so I’ve been going without ‘sweet’ treats for a while now until we can afford to get more.  I’m perfectly okay with this (as the longer I live without sugar, the less I want dessert at all) but baking is something I love to do, so I’m looking forward to making some of the dishes I’ve pinned on Pinterest one day! Here is how I feed myself, my half-THM husband (he eats THM dinners and sometimes lunch) and my toddler (who often gets carbs on the side):

  • I keep things really simple.  I generally have S breakfasts, E lunches, and a mix of S and E dinners (E dinners tend to be cheaper by the way).  This simplicity is important to me as I want food freedom.  I don’t carb count or agonise over whether I’ve just eaten a ‘crossover’ or not.  I’m pretty sure the THM authors want this freedom for you too.
  • We skip dessert and sweet snacks (we rarely eat dessert anyway).  If I find myself hankering for something sweet I eat some Greek yoghurt.  It’s not sweet at all, but the creamy texture feels ‘desserty’ to me.
  • We eat a lot of ground beef, white fish and tuna.
  • Inexpensive dishes like Taco Salad and Chili are staples in our house.
  • I can’t stand sweet things for breakfast, and find porridge/oatmeal too stodgy to face first thing in the morning, so I tend to eat eggs for breakfast.  I know many people get sick of eggs every day, but I don’t mind them – which is weird, because I normally hate eating the same thing all the time.  At times when there is only one portion of leftovers, I eat last night’s dinner for breakfast.
  • If I need a snack I might have a boiled egg, an apple with a smear of peanut butter, vege sticks, a ryvita with vegemite, or a couple of slices of tomato with a piece of cheese on top.
  • We eat a lot of beans or rice.  I love quinoa, but it’s pretty pricey so I only get it when my budget allows.
  • Instead of making low-carb bread, or buying expensive low-carb wraps I eat Ryvita.
  • We eat most of our pre-THM budget friendly dishes (usually they are very easy to THMify by just omitting carbs), like slow-cooked stews, Asian stir fries, soups and salads.
  • We make protein go a long way by making simple stir fries, padded out with lots of vegetables.
  • I make almost everything from scratch, except tomato sauce and mayonnaise.
  • Lunch is often tuna salad, which is pretty inexpensive.
  • I don’t buy almond milk (although it’s not too expensive here).  Prior to THM I rarely had cow’s milk anyway, and figure a splash of it in my one-cup-a-day-tea isn’t going to kill me.
  • We meal plan.  We’ve been doing this for years.  Not only does it save me precious time at witching hour and at the supermarket, but we also waste much less food. (If you would like to see one of my meal plans, do give me a holler.)
  • We buy in bulk when we can.  We are on a Dollar Diet, and that’s given us some fantastic wiggle room in our budget.  I’ve been able to get loads of ground beef, chicken and fish at really low prices this way.

If you are a ‘lurker’, don’t let all those tempting baked goods and desserts stop you from climbing on board the THM wagon.  You can enjoy the ride without them.  I plan to buy the THM Baking Blend and THM Sweet Blend one day so I can have fun in the kitchen, but until then I am content to chug along without them. What are your THM budget tips?