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What to Eat When your Broke and on a Diet

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The Broke Girl Diet!

Back in 2014-2015 I coined the term “The Broke Girl Diet”. I was living pay check to pay check and had no savings. If you are in this situation or want to cut down on food cost and the amount you eat then continue reading for what to eat when your broke and on a diet

The Broke Girl Diet came about out my being broke and wanting to lose weight. But mostly the Broke Girl Diet is founded in finding ways to cut back on food cost but still getting enough healthy foods and feeling full.

Sometimes I can almost forget how broke I was. Life has changed a ton for me and I am very grateful. After our dad died, my sister and I couldn’t afford to fill the oil tank in the middle of winter for heat and hot water. I filled up a two 5 gallon gas cans with kerosene once a week just so we had hot water for showers.  My car was falling apart at the seems and I couldn’t afford an oil change. Each month I would choose which bills could be paid late. It was a stressful time.

How does the Broke Girl Diet Work?

My goal during this time to be satisfied with as little as possible. So what to eat when your broke and on a diet. Here is a sample of what I did.

Daily eating schedule:

Am: Coffee and eggs

Am Snack: carrots or other veggie, banana or another piece of fruit

Lunch: Oatmeal with some fruit mixed in

Dinner: Chicken or fish (tilapia is the cheapest I could find) and a veggie

Pm Snack: Cheese and crackers or strawberries

Of course each day varied a little with what fruit or veggies I ate. The thing that was almost always the same was lunch. My lunch almost always consisted of oatmeal and fruit. It was an inexpensive lunch and easy to make and bring. The oatmeal didn’t need to prepared ahead of time, it didn’t need to fit in the fridge at work.

The Rules

There really are not any rules, rather guidelines I set for myself.

  • Oatmeal for lunch most days
  • Drink only coffee and water (Back then coffee and creamer was provided at work so I didn’t even have to buy that which was awesome. Nowadays everyone gets their own coffee on their way into work and no one makes it at the office anymore. I used to always make up 1-2 pots of coffee for everyone back then, but I have unfortunately fallen into the habit of getting coffee at Dunkin’ before work. It seems everyone has gotten picky about their coffee and the pot of coffee in the break room is not cool anymore. But if you have access to free coffee at work, drink it!)
  • Free Snacks are amazing. When pretzels were provided or some other snack I would gladly eat some.
  • Always accept free food. That coworker who always brings to much food and wants you to try what they made- accept it, the coworker who brings in stuff to share with everyone- have a piece or a handful.
  • Eat most meals at home and practice portion control
  • Eat protein at most meals
  • Fruit and veggies are important
  • Carbs can be your friend- When I was walking 3-4 times a week for 2-3 miles, I could eat carbs and still lose weight. I would eat oatmeal, pancakes on the weekend, cheese and cracker, potatoes and rice.
  • If you do go out to eat, get just an appetizer or share a meal with someone
  • Every once in awhile it is okay not eat healthy- Back at the trash and recycling company I worked for, a few of us decided to do something on Friday’s. We called it Fat Girl Friday. We would get food out from somewhere nearby. Sometimes it was a whole pizza split between a few people, a cheap meal from a fast food place, Rita’s Water Ice in the summer or sharing a hoagie or something else from a restaurant with large portions. Lunch specials are also your friend when you want something other than your homemade meal or oatmeal lunch. But remember this is not an everyday thing, your broke, so don’t go spending money

What I learned from the Broke Girl Diet

I learned that I can eat less and it is ok. How to become creative with cheaper food items and be satisfied with them. I learned how to look for good deals. I started stopping at roadside vegetable stands for cheaper veggies. I went to pick my own fruit at pick your own orchards. I learned I didn’t need to eat out often or get a full meal if I did.

The Broke Girl Diet was a period of my life that taught me a lot. I wouldn’t necessarily want to go back to that time but there are aspects that I should probably start doing again. I should probably start making coffee at work instead of stopping and paying for it at a coffee shop, walking more, eating out less and sharing a meal or getting a smaller food item off the menu.

It is interesting how life gives us lessons. How in difficult times we learn we don’t need everything we once thought we did. How we can do with less and still be satisfied.

During the Covid-19 pandemic we are learning to enjoy eating and cooking at home. We are taking advantage of the extra time to work on projects around the house. No matter what part of life or the current situation there is a lesson that can be learned. Although I wouldn’t choose to go back to being broke, the Broke Girl Diet has elements in it I can still apply to my life now.

I hope this helped you get some ideas on what to eat when your broke and on a diet.

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