When it comes to losing weight, there are many ways to go about it. However, if you are also on a budget, you’re probably looking for cheap foods to lose weight fast. There’s plenty of inexpensive weight loss programs that you could use, but the most budget-friendly way is to go without one. The most important thing to losing weight, that I’ve experienced, is to be in a calorie deficit.
With that, I’ve lost about 10 pounds per month both eating healthy and bad (junk food).
Please note: This post may contain affiliate links, but at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure policy, click here.
What Is A Calorie Deficit?
A calorie deficit is when you eat fewer calories than you need in a day to maintain your current body weight. For most people to lose weight, a good deficit is 500 calories per day, totaling 3,500 per week. This should allow you to lose 1 pound per week.
1 pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories.
There are many different calculators online to determine your specific calorie intake. It will differentiate based on your body, age, height, and activity levels. To safely carry out a diet plan, it is always recommended to speak to your doctor first.
Lowering your calories can be as simple as cutting out sugary drinks. If you regularly have 3 cans of sodas per day, that’s already about 500 calories you can cut out!
Just following a calorie deficit is a cheap way to lose weight without exercise. However, if you do exercise, it allows you to eat more. Depending on how much you exercise, you can even eat more and lose weight.
For example: If you do any of these exercises to burn 500 calories in a day, then you wouldn’t already be in a deficit without changing the way you eat. Combine diet and exercise to lose weight faster!
One research study has also noted that long term “calorie restriction has the potential to both delay cardiac aging and help prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease via beneficial effects on blood pressure, lipids, inflammatory processes, and potentially other mechanisms.” This study was done on animals and humans, but further research is needed for older adults and those with chronic diseases.
Cheap Foods To Lose Weight Fast
Since losing weight is based on having a calorie deficit, you can practically eat anything and lose weight. I’ve done various diets before at different points in my life, and I’ve been able to lose weight fast on all of them. The main things for me were: moderation and consistency.
However, you can lose weight and still be unhealthy or get sick. So, even though you can eat junk food all day and still lose weight, you probably should not do that. Your body needs proper nutrients and exercise to be healthy.
When counting calories, it’s important to eat foods that are low in calories and will keep you feeling satisfied for a long time. Would you feel more full having a 280 calorie snicker bar? Or a big salad for less calories? Personally, I’d still be hungry after that snicker and end up eating more than I need to.
You’ll need a food scale in order to measure your foods effectively.
In order to stay full on less, these are the cheap staple foods I buy that are budget-friendly and healthy to eat:
It’s a drink and not a food, but as a proper person of Caribbean descent, I like to have a cup of tea about… every single day. It doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees or over outside, I still need a cup. The teas I drink have 0 calories (unless sugar is added) and plenty of benefits.
The healthiest tea that many speak of is Green tea. It is great for your health because it is full of powerful antioxidants and nutrients. In research studies, it’s also been linked to improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer, and many other benefits.
Though there is no conclusive evidence, It has been shown to boost the body’s metabolic rate and lead to weight loss. Regardless, it’s an easy way to increase your fluid intake on low calories without only drinking water. You can buy tea bags for as low as 4 cents per cup!
Rice is a staple for my family because it is cheap and filling. The light brown rice that I purchase is 160 calories in a serving (¼ cup). It also has many nutrients such as carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, selenium, iron, vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese.
Though there are many choices between white and brown rice, brown rice is typically a healthier choice. It provides more vitamins and nutrients while white rice has been stripped of them.
Rice is typically less than 10 cents per serving.
Meat is full of protein and other essential vitamins that aid in weight loss and keeping your body healthy. Foods with lots of protein also keep you feeling full longer. The leaner the meat, the less fat it’ll have, and the fewer calories you’ll be ingesting.
I currently buy frozen boneless and skinless chicken breasts for $1.98 per pound (about 50 cents per serving). Each serving size is 4 ounces and 110 calories.
Ground beef can be costly depending on how lean you buy it. I’ve purchased 96% lean ground beef for 1.35 per serving (140 calories) and 80% lean for .86 cents per serving (280 calories).
Oats are so packed with nutrients, it’s crazy! It has a host of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. These include manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and more!
My favorite way to eat oatmeal is with cinnamon and coconut sugar, or honey. I also like to cut up apples and plop them in while cooking. It’s incredibly filling and keeps me satiated for hours.
You can purchase oatmeal for about $0.08 per serving. Plus, it’s only about 150 calories! That makes it one of the best weight loss foods for me.
Beans and other legumes are typically high in protein and fiber. You can add this to your plate and it will only be about 120 calories per serving.
I usually make low-calorie wraps filled with meat and beans. I freeze them to carry to work for a filling lunch. Meal prepping like this is great if you’re looking up how to lose weight on a budget AND busy schedule.
Beans are very cheap to buy, even organic. A can of organic kidney beans can be bought for as little as .98 cents; that’s $0.28 per serving! If you’re not buying organic, it will be about 16 cents per serving.
Vegetables are one thing you can eat a lot of without consuming many calories, due to being high in water and fiber. They are also full of nutrients.
Broccoli, for example, is 89% water and has more than the recommended daily value of vitamin C and vitamin K in just one serving (100 grams). It also has several B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, and more. 100 grams of broccoli is only about 34 calories!
I prefer to load up on frozen vegetables because they are cheaper to buy in bulk and last longer. Some people believe that frozen and canned foods are not as nutritious as fresh ones; however, research has shown the contrary. Depending on the fruit or vegetable, ”freezing and canning processes may preserve nutrient value.”
My top list of vegetables for weight loss: Spinach, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
Frozen broccoli can be bought for under 50 cents per serving (organic or inorganic)!
Fruits will also fill you up because they are generally high in water, fiber, and vitamin C. Regular consumption has also been associated with reduced risk of several diseases.
Some fruits are always low-cost, and others I only buy frozen or when they are in season. Cheap fruits include bananas, oranges, apples, watermelon, pineapples, and grapefruits.
Bananas are under 50 cents for one and about 105 calories.
Cheap Healthy Meals
Now that you know the cheap, natural weight loss foods, these are a few examples of what I would eat in a day to lose weight. I’m not sure of the exact costs, but these meals are CHEAP. My monthly grocery budget for 2 people is $300 and could be cheaper (I buy some products organic).
This is my healthy budget grocery list for two at $200/month (without the extra snacks).
Would it benefit you to get a copy of my specific monthly shopping list? Let me know what you think in the comments below. You may also join my weekly mailing list to get updated if I add it and any other posts.
Read More: Here’s a list of meals that costs under $10 for 6 people! The cheapest meal is 29 cents per serving.
Waffles & Eggs
1 Waffle= 90 Calories
2 Egg Whites= 34 Calories
1/2T Maple Syrup= 28 Calories
2 Slices Turkey Bacon= 90 Calories
Tip: Cook the bacon first and use the leftover fat to cook the eggs.
On a typical day, I’ll usually eat 2 waffles and double the amount of syrup. This comes up to 360 calories.
2 Slices of Bread= 80 Calories
1 Guacamole Cup= 90 Calories
4 Grape Tomatoes= 40 Calories
4oz 96% Lean Ground Beef= 140 Calories
2T Organic Ketchup= 40 Calories
2T Mustard= 0 Calories
3oz Organic Spring Mix= 20 Calories
4 Grape Tomatoes= 40 Calories
1/4c Red Onions= 18 Calories
All of the previous meals so far only add up to 710 calories, and each of them are delicious and nutritious. To make up my calories for the rest of the day, I like to enjoy the following snacks:
- Apple (95 cal) with peanut butter (100 cal)= 195 calories
- Banana (105 cal) with peanut butter (100 cal)= 205 calories
- Mini Rice Krispies= 45 calories
- Tea with 1T sugar= 45 calories
- Diced peaches snack cup= 45 calories
- Ice cream cup= 100 calories
Are you keeping up with these counts? All of that is still only 1,345 calories! As long as you eat in moderation, you can still have the things you enjoy and lose weight.
And, that my friends, is how you can follow a cheap diet to lose weight fast. I don’t follow the recommended dietary guidelines for each food group, so my diet meal plan to lose weight may not be the healthiest. But, I do try to add healthy things as much as I can.
If you choose to count calories, be sure to check the serving sizes and calories as you shop; you’ll be surprised at what some things contain!
Watch out for hidden calories in:
- The oils you cook with: Be sure to count them! Baking meals is a better option.
- Juices: Most juices, even healthy ones, are at least 100 calories in a small glass.
- Nuts: They are healthy, but high in calories.
- Salad dressings: Too much salad dressing can cause you to gain weight instead of losing it.
- Candy: Even bite-sized candies are high in calories and will do nothing to satisfy your hunger.
Weight Loss Tips
After losing 30 pounds in the first 2-3 months, my weight loss began to stagnate. I was only losing about 1 pound per week, but this is the normal amount to lose, per the CDC. If you haven’t incorporated exercise already, this is a good point to start and boost your weight loss.
Following serving sizes can seem like you’re only eating a little bit of food (which if you’re eating something too high in calories is true). However, after eating that way for a while, I eventually couldn’t even eat much more if I tried!
To feel more satisfied with your meals:
- Have a glass of water before eating. With water already filling you up, you’ll feel satisfied with less food.
- Trick your mind by eating from a smaller plate. It’s kind of like looking at a half-full glass, you might just feel like it’s not enough. But pour that water into a smaller cup, and it’s just enough!
- Chew more and slowly. It will give your food more time to digest and allow you to feel full.
Also, don’t forget to buy a food scale! Trust me, eyeballing how much is in a serving is NOT good.