Looking for a Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu to help keep your food costs down? Read on.
I’ll be honest here and admit something. Since I started Trim Healthy Mama, my grocery spending has gone up. I’m not gonna lie. It’s worth it. The sustainable weight loss I’ve experienced and the non-scale victories are totally worth it! I know that long-term, spending a little more on a better diet will cost less than the chronic disease that results from a standard (crappy) American diet.
Recently I’ve begun thinking more about how to lower my monthly bills. Since I have 7 kids, grocery spending is our biggest expense after housing. Therefore, spending less on the food budget has a quick impact.
When we think about creating a budget menu for Trim Healthy Mama, sometimes our first thought is, “How can I spend less on the food I’m buying?”. Truly, however, that’s backwards. What we should be asking is, “Which foods are inexpensive to start with and are on-plan?” Do you see the difference? The first approach will have you scouring for sales, coupons and coupon codes. The second is far less stressful.
Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu: Start with Protein
Since Trim Healthy Mama meals are anchored with protein, let’s start with that. Which protein sources are least expensive?
A Google search turned up the following information on quite a few pages (most of them about bodybuilding, lol!). Budget sources of protein include:
- Canned tuna
- Whey protein (this surprised me – maybe bodybuilders are using cheap whey protein. The THM whey protein is around .89 a scoop, hardly cheap – so instead, use cottage cheese or half a scoop instead. The Trimmy drinks only call for a teaspoon of whey protein powder.)
- Ground beef
- Frozen chicken breast
- Cottage cheese
- Ground turkey
(You know what’s NOT on the list that should be? Gelatin! A tablespoon of gelatin has 11 grams protein. (A can of Great Lakes gelatin has 38 servings, making it around .50 a serving. The Trim Healthy Mama gelatin is a little cheaper. )
See anything cool here? These are all on plan! Try forming the bulk of your meals around these protein foods. Canned tuna is especially cheap and it’s a Fuel Pull. I love it with hot sauce sprinkled on. You can make it an S food by mixing it with mayo. A half can of tuna along with sides will fill you up for hours. Around here, eggs have been around a buck a dozen. That’s a dime for almost a complete meal!
Cottage cheese is also cheap. I love it with sweet potatoes instead of meat. (If you mash it into a hot sweet potato, it sort of melts and gets gooey!)
Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu: Now for the sides
What about produce? We THM types like to eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables. Check out this list of the cheapest vegetables by month. Because there’s no way I’m going to remember this list when I’m at the store, I simply have a price per pound in my head that I’m willing to pay for fresh fruits and vegetables, and I don’t go over it. That price dictates what I buy. For fruit, it’s .99 a pound. That means I buy apples and bananas more than anything else unless something’s on sale.
Do the same for meat. Vow to never spend over .99 a pound except for special occasions. If you shop loss leaders, you can accomplish this easily. You might not have as much variety, but who needs a different type of meat each day of the week to be happy?
Frozen! Frozen veggies and fruits are almost always cheaper than fresh in my area.
Don’t forget your E meals and snacks. Since they’re fueled with carbs, and carbs are inexpensive foods, E meals and snacks help the THM food budget. See how to get enough E meals and snacks here. Oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruit: all cheap!
Ease up on the fats. Since fats are the most expensive, ounce for ounce, of any foods we buy (nuts are more expensive than steak), try eating more Light S meals. Avocados, nuts, cheese are all delicious, but they’re easy to overdo and can cause weight loss plateaus or stalls (which is why they’re not on the Fuel Cycle plan!).
Bulk it up. If you eat a lot of a particular food, say brown rice or oats, price that food in bulk quantities. I get my oats, brown rice and beans in 25-50 pound buckets. This is a bit of an investment up-front, but the price per pound is better than what I can get at the cheapest grocery store. I get my bulk stuff from Amazon. Two good brands are Augason Farms and Honeyville.
I haven’t investigated warehouse clubs. Many frugal bloggers love them though, so it’s worth checking their prices.
Go NSI. No Special Ingredients – these recipes are marked in the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook because they contain no special, fancy ingredients (just an on-plan sweetener in the case of desserts).
Shop your local Scratch ‘n Dent. I don’t have one nearby, but I do have a Bargain Hunt, and I find THM-safe food there every time I go! I’ve bought flavorings, teas, canned food, protein bars and other things, all at a discount.
Shop at ALDI if you have one nearby. ALDI prices just plain beat everyone’s. If you have to drive a long way to get to an ALDI, it might be worth it to stock up once a month. They have awesome prices on unsweetened almond milk, 0% Greek yogurt, eggs, shredded cheese, produce and meat. Here is a free ALDI shopping list for THM. See all the pages tagged “ALDI“.
Eliminate Convenience. Anytime a human or a machine does something to process your food, you’ll pay. So romaine hearts are cheaper than bagged salads. Whole fruit is cheaper than cut. Blocks of cheese are cheaper than shredded (though not always – check prices per pound!). Riced cauliflower is more expensive than whole. Salad dressing can be whipped up in a minute and is cheaper and healthier than store bought. A large jar of Slim Belly Jelly is a fraction of the cost of all-fruit jelly. When eggs are cheap, it’s less expensive to separate them yourself rather than using boxed egg whites. Etc.
Learn to love pure stevia. THM pure stevia powder is the most budget-friendly sweetener they offer. It’s fine to start with Gentle Sweet if you begin THM as a sugar addict, but slowly acclimate your taste buds. Put your big girl panties on!
Stock up when the Trim Healthy Mama store offers a sale. Guess who ordered 3 bags of Baking Blend when it went on sale for 3 for 16.99 even when she already had two bags in her pantry? Yeahme. If you’ve ordered from the girls before, you’re on their list and they’ll email you when a sale hits. Take advantage!!
Eat smaller portions. Yeah, I went there! Just because we’re on Trim Healthy Mama and have food freedom doesn’t mean we need to eat on plates the size of a small parking space. Look at your grandma’s plates from the 50’s. They were probably 9″ in diameter, whereas modern plates are up to 15″! This is insanity. SIZE MATTERS. French women don’t get fat, and neither did our grandmothers – because small portions! Keep in mind that a portion of protein should be the size of a deck of cards. A portion of cheese? Two dice. Etc. Here’s a nice visual using your hand to help you remember this.
Fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables! The THM authors don’t just tell us this because it helps us stay thin. It also costs less!
Start a price book and use it to guide purchases and meal planning. This can be as simple as keeping grocery receipts for a few weeks. Write in a notebook or computer document the items you buy most often and the price you pay. You’ll start to see patterns – what’s a good deal (stock up!), and what’s not (eat something else).
Sample Trim Healthy Mama Budget Menu
Budget THM Breakfasts
- Oats with berries and 0% Greek yogurt or cottage cheese for protein (I like to blend my cottage cheese with a dash of vanilla extract and stevia to make it extra-creamy, almost like cheesecake!). E fuel.
- 2 scrambled or fried eggs with sauteed vegetables or greens – hold the expensive cheese! Enjoy your eggs Deep S.
- 1 large ground turkey patty with stewed apples (cook them in a very small amount of butter and a bit of water, add cinnamon and stevia). E fuel.
- Leftover brown rice, warmed with a dash vanilla, cinnamon, almond milk and stevia for Hot Breakfast Rice. (Add a protein source like a Trimmy with collagen and whey protein, or put egg whites in the brown rice while you’re warming it.) E fuel.
- Any of the smoothie recipes (sub 1/3 cup cottage cheese for whey protein)
- Trim Healthy Mama E pancakes (made with oats, egg whites and cottage cheese)
Budget THM Lunches
- Waldorf Salad from the cookbook
- Any of the single serving soups from the cookbook
- Tuna prepared how you like it, with a side salad and homemade dressing
- Sweetie on steroids (cottage cheese, cooked chicken or ground turkey for protein)
- Cajun-style rice and beans (with ground turkey or low-fat chicken sausage for protein)
- Creamless Creamy Chicken (over cabbage)
- Egg Roll in a Bowl – especially if you buy your cabbage whole and cut it yourself! Cabbage is super cheap.
Budget THM Snacks
- Glucomannan, since only a tiny amount is required, is quite cheap. Therefore, recipes that call for it are usually inexpensive. Gluccie Pudding is an example. – FP
- Apple slices with peanut flour/0% Greek yogurt dip – E fuel
- Celery sticks (chopped yourself!) with peanut flour/0% Greek yogurt dip – FP
- Peanut flour is also very budget-friendly. A tablespoon only costs about a dime! Use it instead of peanut butter. It’s cheaper and has far fewer calories.
- Oat flour is less expensive than Baking Blend, so find recipes using it.
- Cottage Berry Whip is a Fuel Pull, inexpensive and very filling.
- Popcorn!! Popcorn costs pennies per serving. Find Trim Healthy Mama popcorn recipes here.
Budget THM Dinners
- Buy large bags of frozen chicken – these are often priced far lower than fresh. You can throw them straight into the slow cooker (or Instant Pot) too.
- Any of the bean soups from the cookbook are budget-friendly.
- Egg roll in a Bowl
- Lentil soup
- Cowboy Grub (with plenty of veggies, rice and beans, less meat)
- White Chicken Chili
- Sweet Potato Bar
- Vegetable Soups (add ground turkey or shredded chicken for protein, or enjoy them with a Trimmy or Collagen Tea)
- Chana Dahl
- Main dish salads
Some more ways to save money on Trim Healthy Mama:
- Try using cash-back apps to save money on groceries. There is a list of those here: Trim Healthy Mama Saving Money with Cash-Back and Coupon Apps
- Try re-growing vegetables. No planting of anything required.
- Your kids need crossovers! Have a pot of rice and/or beans on the table with every meal to fill growing bellies.
- Make your own baking blend. You can buy coconut flour and almond flour in bulk on Amazon and mix them to create your own.
- Make your own almond milk for pennies!
- Since you only use a tiny amount of glucomannan per serving and it fills you up, it’s budget friendly. Gluccie Pudding made with homemade almond milk would cost you pennies per serving.