How We Do Trim Healthy Mama (THM) On A Very Tight, Strict Budget.
I see lots of blog posts and posts on the facebook pages from people who read the book and then decide that Trim Healthy Mama plan is just too expensive for them, especially when it comes to the special ingredients. I was like this too at first, but
the secret to being on plan and being on budget is in how you approach the plan in the first place
When you first get your book, whichever one you buy, read it through in full first. Get a feel for the whole plan and have a look at the kind of meals and recipes that are recommended. Then go to the section that explains exactly what the meal types are – S, E, FP and XO. Learn what constitutes each meal type and what is needed to make each one on plan, i.e how much fat and carbs is needed in each one. Then have a look at the list of what foods are on plan, especially the vegetables list, and see which fits into which category.
The next thing to do is to write out a list of all the meals that you make on a regular basis that your family enjoy. Write out what ingredients you use for them and how you cook them. One at a time, have a look through the list of foods you make and compare it to the lists in the book of the meal types and on plan foods and see how many of your usual meals can be THM’ed.
For example, we have porridge for breakfast most days and a fry-up for breakfast on a weekend. I used instant oats and milk and used syrup for the sweetener. This was completely off plan! I changed my porridge to oats that need to be soaked first and I put them in the pan the night before and cover them with water, not milk. In the morning I just cook them through and then use either stevia or xylitol as the sweetener. We don’t really notice any taste difference, but now our breakfast is on plan as an E meal in an easy way. For the fry-up, we took out the toast and the sugar laden beans and we have bacon, mushrooms, eggs, courgettes (zuccini) and a little bit of onion and we fry it in coconut oil to keep it a good, solid S meal. That’s breakfast sorted for us!
At lunch time we tend to have a quick meal, a sandwich or something on toast or an omlette. I found that our local supermarket does an on plan sourdough bread that is inexpensive and done in their own bakery and this means we can still have sandwiches and toast, we just have to be careful. Two thin slices are on plan for an E meal, so I spread the slices very thinly with extra light mayo, add sliced turkey or chicken and then lots of salad, especially lettuce, to make a filling sandwich. For beans on toast, one of our favourites, I make my own by cooking soaked haricot beans in pasata and adding a little mustard, tomato puree, stevia and worcester sauce to taste. Just as nice as the supermarket ones and a great quick E meal. They freeze well too so I always keep some in for a quick meal. For E snacks after your meal, you want something low in fat, so fruit is ideal for this as is greek yoghurt because it is high in protein. For a quick S meal at lunch time, we like omlettes or egg mayonaise. If I’m making omlettes then I throw in all sorts of things to make it filling. Lots of leftover meats and veggies and three eggs. I fry it in a little coconut oil and this keeps me going for a long time! We also like egg mayonnaise, make with boiled eggs and a little light mayo and we usually eat it on Ryvita’s which are rye based crackers and very cheap here.
For our evening meals we have always been traditional meat, potato and veg people, so that has been easy to keep on plan. Although the sisters don’t eat pork, we do as as it is a very tasty and inexpensive meat here. Our evening meals (dinner) tend to be things like chicken pieces (cheap to buy frozen), pork chops, gammon pieces and other meat, served with lots of on plan veg and no potatoes. At first I made cauli mash to make up for the lack of spuds, but we soon got used to having lots of veg instead and haven’t missed it at all. If I am using very lean meat like chicken breast, then I will use sweet potato as one of the veg and keep the main meal as an E, if we want it to be an S then we just keep the veggies in the S group and have lots of cauliflower, brocolli, cabbage and so forth. If we want a sauce with it then we usually have gravy made with a little stock and thickened with xantham gum which is usually easy to find at the supermarket and very cheap.
For drinks we have lots of water (essential on Trim Healthy Mama due to the fibre content of all the veggies) and we drink tea with a little milk (naughty but I cannot do it any other way, I just do it in moderation!) and we drink flavoured teas like herbal ones, just make sure they are sugar free.
For snacks during the day we like hard boiled eggs (S), apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter (sugar free) (E), Fruit and greek yoghurt (E) and I sometimes make cakes using some of the Trim Healthy Mama baking blend.
Once you have got a very basic eating plan together, you just need to remember to mix up your E and S meals, avoid too many FP meals as they will actually slow down your weight loss and make sure you eat every three hours, making sure it really is three hours between fuels.
Once you have the basics, you can start looking through the cookbook or pinterest and seeing what recipes you fancy making and that fit your budget.
Some extra tips that I have found helpful are –
Buy frozen. Frozen veg, meat and fruit are all much cheaper than fresh and are usually chopped and prepared ready for you to use. This makes meals much easier and cheaper.
Look for ‘value’ or ‘own brand’ products. We buy the value meat and veg. It is usually misshapen and not as pretty as the regular ones, but it all goes down the same way!
Think simple. Meals don’t need to be complicated with dozens of ingredients, think quality over quantity.
Stick to what you already know you like. Don’t start out on plan with all new recipes that you have never eaten before – start by adapting what you already know and love and then experiment if you want to.
Special ingredients(Affiliate link to THM store)? For me, they are very few. You really need a sweetener. Stevia is our usual sweetener of choice as we find it the cheapest of all. We use the official THM one, available in the store here. We also like xylitol and that is very good for baking with. When I originally started with THM, I bought glucomanan. I have since found that xantham gum is much cheaper and does the same job. Some people find the texture a bit slimy, but we haven’t noticed that at all and we are very happy with it. I would recommend you find an on plan bread. We buy sourdough from the supermarket and it is the same price as the regular bread – you don’t need specialist low carb bread. If you like to bake your own, then Gwen’s Nest blog has a very popular fridge bread recipe here that we have also used and loved. The final thing I would recommend is the official baking blendfrom Trim Healthy Mama. If you want to make quick and easy cakes, then this is the way to do it. There are lots of recipes on pinterest for how to use it and you can make cakes that are E, S and FP with it so I think it is worth having.
I hope this helps. For us, changing how we approached the plan and making it fit with us, while staying within the ‘rules’, has made the plan possible and successful for us. I hope it works for you too. I will write up some of our menu plans over the next few days and post them here in case it helps anyone else.
If you do decide to buy the books or any special ingredients from the Trim Healthy Mama site, then I would really appreciate you using my affilate link HERE as I then receive 5% of the purchase without it costing you at all and that helps me to make a living. If you don’t want to use the affiliate link then you can access the store through the main website here.