6 Affordable Ways to Jump Start Your Diet

Weight loss is the most frequent New Year's resolution. This probably shouldn't be too surprising, considering that stress eating, holiday overeating and increased alcohol consumption results in an average of five to six pounds of holiday weight gain.

What is different this year is that the economic downturn has caused almost everyone to become price conscious. As people cut food spending, it is feared that they will cut back on healthy but relatively expensive items such as fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and whole grains in favor of cheaper choices.

But fast foods or cheap packaged junk foods are not the solution! Fortunately, eating foods that foster weight loss does not have to be an expensive proposition. It's possible to lose weight and lower your food bill at the same time.

The following are a few options to help you reach your weight loss goal and also save money. The idea is to select nutritious foods and eliminate high-cost junk foods.

Tip #1: Save on Salmon



Protein is necessary to build and repair cells. Protein also keeps us from feeling hungry.

Fresh Alaskan salmon is great for health, but it's pricey. The cost for wild sockeye salmon can run as high as $14.99 per pound.

Affordable option: Canned salmon is pretty much on par with fresh salmon nutritionally, and it costs much less. Bumble Bee Alaskan salmon will run you only $3.19 for a 13-ounce can.

And take this to heart: An Italian study showed that people who eat fresh or canned salmon twice a week were 30 percent less likely to have had heart attacks than those who ate fish less than once per week.

Recipe to Try: Salmon Croquettes

Ingredients:

1 can salmon

1 onion (chopped)

1 green or red pepper (chopped)

1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)

1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. wheat germ

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 omega-3 egg (beaten)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Shape into patties and cook in small amount of olive oil until browned lightly. Serve on greens with sliced mango or sliced orange. Note: The patties can be made in advance and stored in air tight container in the refrigerator for two days; take out and heat.

Tip #2: Get the Most out of Meat



Organic, free range sirloin burgers are delicious, but expensive.

Affordable options: How about mixing one pound of ground sirloin with red beans, vegetables and seasoning to make a hearty winter chili? This recipe will feed two people for two meals, stretching your dollar.

Meatloaf is another good choice. One pound of sirloin, along with whole grain breadcrumbs, wheat germ, two eggs, onions, carrots and spices will supply protein, fiber, vitamins and heart-healthy omega-3 fat.

Because the cost for one pound of ground sirloin is about $4.99, the total cost for two people for two meals with either of these options is approximately $6.

Recipe to Try: Meatloaf

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground sirloin

1 chopped onion

2 chopped carrots

1 clove garlic (crushed)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 slices whole grain bread (grated into crumbs)

2 Tbsp. wheat germ

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 omega-3 eggs (beaten lightly)

Directions:

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