Valdosta Daily Times

February 24, 2013

Brittany's Budget Diary: A diet for the body and the wallet

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — I’m not one that jumps on bandwagons. I don’t like Lady Gaga, I don’t have feather extensions growing out of my head, I don’t buy into “energy” water, and most of all, despite its ever-growing popularity at Valdosta State University, I do not wear UGG boots with my running shorts (seriously, put on pants already).

However, like millions across the globe, I too made a New Year resolution to lose weight and get fit. I’m getting a late start, but when you have five boxes of Ramen Noodle sitting in your pantry, you eat it because even a steak dinner can’t beat a 20 cent meal.

I know I’ve written about this before, but eating healthy can be incredibly costly.

Aside from that, most diets require a lot of fresh produce that can only be bought a week at a time, and honestly, I just don’t have time for that. I found the last time I was on a healthy kick, I ended up throwing away a lot of moldy vegetables and fruit.

So, this go-round, I curtailed my healthy eating to my lifestyle. As a news reporter, my schedule is all over the place. Sometimes I’m home at 4 p.m. and other nights I’m home at 10 p.m. My husband’s schedule, while routine, is bizarre. We don’t eat our meals at the same time, and thus, I can’t cook food in bulk like most families.

So, I’m sharing with you my grocery list and meal plans. I have a completely separate one from my husband, so if mine doesn’t look appealing, you can try his.


On Thursday, I started a two-week liquid diet which means for 14 days, I am not eating any solid food. This diet is two-fold. First, I have a goal of losing 10 pounds, but more importantly, I am detoxing to make my body a clean slate for cutting out meat.

I discovered this method a few years ago after I broke my jaw which required me to have surgery. Afterwards, I could not eat solid food for a month. I decided to do an abridged version of the same diet because not only does it work, it is incredibly cost efficient and not time consuming.

I bought 49 cups of non-fat, no sugar added yogurt, 24 bananas (this is for one week, you have to buy 24 the next week), two boxes of Carnation Instant Breakfast (chocolate), two gallons of skim milk and 17 cups worth of frozen fruit.

My smoothie schedule is the following:

— Morning: 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup of frozen fruit, 1 banana and 1 pack of Carnation Instant Breakfast.

— Lunch and Dinner: 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup of frozen fruit and 1 banana.

— For my snack in-between breakfast and lunch, I make the same recipe as lunch and dinner, but only drink half. The other half, I save in the fridge for the next day’s snack. Therefore, you only make a snack every other day.

All of my smoothie ingredients for two weeks cost me $54. This price does not include the 24 pack of water, the 12 pack of green tea, a box of tea bags with ginger, a jug of 100 percent natural orange juice and a jug of 100 percent natural grape fruit juice.

With this diet, it is important to stay constantly hydrated. Drinking a lot also helps curve any feelings of hunger you might experience the first couple of days.


My husband is not brave enough to try the all-liquid diet, but he is a fairly healthy eater. For two weeks, he only bought two bags of frozen chicken breasts, three bags of frozen vegetables and two boxes of brown rice for dinner. All of which came in around $50.

For breakfast, he has a whole-grain cereal with skim milk, and for lunches, he eats all-natural peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread, with Triscuit crackers and a 90 calorie granola bar for a snack.

For food, drinks, etc., our entire grocery bill for two weeks was around $160. I have found that cutting out soda and unhealthy snack products are not only good for our bodies, but good for our budget.

Aside from cost-effective, healthy eating, there is such a thing as cost-effective exercising.

Gyms can be costly, and when you work 40 hours a week, it can be hard to muster up the motivation to go and be gawked at by all the experienced muscle builders. That’s why I like to do my exercises at home before bed. I found most of my exercises on Pinterest but also take advice from Army workouts my dad used to use.

The most effective thing I do is run. The track at Valdosta Middle School is open to the public and it provides a safe environment away from cars. In addition, several people are always running on the track so instead of  running alone, you can safely run in groups.

I’ll keep you updated on my smoothie diet next week, but for now, that’s all I have for you, my dear budgeteers. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook at and follow me on Twitter @VDT_Brittany.