In tough economic times as we now face, it is very hard to be on a diet and eat healthy. Let’s face it – it’s cheaper to eat junk food than it is to eat healthy food. So what do you do if you are trying to determine food to avoid when dieting in tough economic times?
One problem facing dieters is the fact that the foods that are cheap are generally fattening. This is especially true in the winter, when we tend to eat comfort food. Let’s look at a few of the cheap meals to get some idea of the amount of calories that you gain from them.
1. Macaroni and cheese. Probably the most all-time favorite comfort food, macaroni and cheese can wreak havoc with your diet. If you dress up macaroni and cheese with such things as sausage or hamburger, it gets even worse. Stouffer’s Mac and cheese contains about 529 calories, 25.7 g of fat with 10.6 g of saturated fat. All this in a 12 ounce serving.
2. Stay away from cream-based soups. Another favorite comfort food, they’re loaded with cream and also loaded with calories. They also tend to be high in sodium. Top those with saltines and cheese like many people do, and the sodium level goes out of sight.
3. Cheese and cream-based casseroles may be the perfect comfort food, and even start out with healthy ingredients like broccoli, green beans or potatoes. You then add cream, butter, and canned soups and top them with cheese, bacon, and breadcrumbs. This will drive the calories right through the ceiling.
4. Avoid chilies and stews that are loaded with ground beef, sausage or cheese. You can make them yourself with small portions of lean meat, plenty of vegetables and beans, and they will be nutritious and filling. If you order these dishes when you eat out, they will be loaded with calories, grams of fat, and saturated fat.
5. Stay away from potpies. Although the ingredients may be healthy and good for you, you get a double dose of fat because of the top and bottom crust.
Although these meals may be cheap to make and easy to prepare, in the long run they can only hurt you. Sure, you can save money on your food budget. You more than make up for that, though, when you consider the cost to you in health care and in quality of life.