Slimming World is one of the most popular diet or lifestyle plans, not only in the UK, but also in the world. If you follow it faithfully, you are guaranteed to lose weight. I think part of the reason that it is so popular is that there are so many things that you can still eat whilst still following the plan. Nothing is off limits – so it feels less like a diet and more of a lifestyle choice – you certainly don’t feel like you are depriving yourself.
Unlike a lot of diets and weight loss plans, such as the 1 to 1 diet (formerly known as The Cambridge Diet) and Exante, there are no expensive products to purchase, you can continue to eat anything you fancy, as long as you track or measure it.
There are so many reasons why it is so great, and so I am going to share with you just a few:
- You can do it online to fit around your schedule – as long as you have internet access and access to some scales
- You can attend a group for face to face support if that’s more the approach you need (sometimes this face to face accountability can really help)
- There are millions of recipes available online, not just through the Slimming World website, but through online communities and bloggers such as Slimming Violet or Mind Over Munching, so no matter if you have dietary requirements, or are just a fussy eater, there’s still plenty of choice for you
- The recipes are delicious and healthy – so no need to cook different food for different members of the household – they will probably not even realise they are eating Slimming World friendly meals unless you tell them
- You don’t have to live on fresh air and vegetables!
- There’s no meal replacement products, shakes or starving yourself
- You can do Slimming World on a budget – there are loads of cheap slimming world meals available!
- Not quite so budget friendly, but for emergencies or convenience, there is a full range of Slimming World ready meals available at Iceland. These are all syn free and can be a lifesaver for those days when you run out of time. They also sell a range of syn free products such as sausages and kebabs to quickly help you bulk up your meals syn free.
Slimming World on a budget
There are so many ways to save money on your groceries which of course apply when doing Slimming World on a budget – and here I will share my favourite tips for you!
- Once you’ve made the decision to join Slimming World, have a look online or in magazines and see if there are any joining offers available. These pop up several times throughout the year and can save you the joining or sometimes even the first week’s fee as well. A countdown (where you prepay for 6 or 12 weeks) will also be cheaper than paying every week so if you are committed, it might be worth considering getting one of those. A lot of people take the time to learn the programme in those first 6-12 weeks and then cancel their membership. As long as you keep implementing what you learnt, you should be able to keep losing weight without paying the regular membership. It can work out cheaper to follow the programme online rather than face to face, but if you are more likely to stick to it if you attend a face to face meeting then it will be worth spending a bit of extra money.
- Personally I tend to shop at Aldi as I find it is a lot more affordable than some of the other big grocery stores, and this is my first tip to save money – shop around and shop smart. Another great way of saving money by using a site such as Muscle Food. You can build your own boxes depending on what kind of foods you eat, and you can also order breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks to make getting organised easier. They do meat boxes, and also vegetarian and vegan boxes, you can choose seafood, dairy free etc – so whatever dietary requirements you have, you will find something suitable! You can even choose slimming friendly boxes slimming friendly boxes.
- You can combine shopping for Slimming World with mystery shopping to get your groceries cheap or free, or be paid to buy them.
- Taking pictures of your receipts using an app such as Shoppix or Receipt Hog will mean you can earn bonuses back on your shopping too.
- Meal planning is the key to your success and keeping you to your budget. As I live on my own, I tend to bulk cook and keep portions of syn free meals in the freezer ready for those days when I don’t want to cook from scratch. Recipes that require being cooked fresh I tend to keep for weekends or when I have a bit more time. You can find loads of Slimming World meal plans online, and tweak them to suit your lifestyle and menu preferences.
- Yellow stickers are your best friend. Here’s a great article from my friend Savvy in Somerset about 10 misconceptions about yellow sticker food. These principles apply to all groceries, not just if you are doing Slimming World or another lifestyle or diet plan. They really can save you a small fortune on food, and if you are meal planning and freezing portions anyway, then the food doesn’t need to get used right away. Check out Too Good To Go as well for groceries which are cheap. It is pot luck as to what you get, so you might end up getting things which don’t fit in with the plan, but if you have family or friends who aren’t on the programme, you can always pass some of the items along.
- Growing your own vegetables is not a step I’ve personally taken – but I know some people who do and as they love gardening and growing things, the added savings that it makes to their budget are just bonuses.
Cheap Slimming World Meals
If I was to write about all my favourite Slimming World meals I’ve tried, this post would go on for days. Instead, I’m just going to tell you briefly about three quick and easy meals that have become my staple, and best of all they are cheap Slimming World meals and so they suit any and all budgets, and would fit in really nicely to any Slimming World Meal Plan!
Chicken breast pizza
This is one of my absolute favourite budget meals. Take a chicken breast and either butterfly it or beat it with a meat tenderiser. Dry fry it so the chicken is cooked through (using 1 cal spray) then use tomato puree or passata to cover it on one side. Use your Healthy Extra allowance of cheese on top (or syn it if you have already had your dairy for the day). You can also add some other free vegetables or toppings – I personally like bacon or ham with some sweetcorn. Put in the oven for 10-15 mins until the cheese is all melted and golden and serve with a portion of vegetables. I personally find that passata or tomato puree is too tomatoey for me, so I batch cook sauce made up of passata but diluted with stock, and with added garlic and dry fried onions in it. I freeze it in little portions so I have just enough if I want this for my dinner. In the portion below I had two chicken breasts and then had an extra portion of cheese (either your second HE portion or syn it) but it was way too much for me and I ended up saving half for the next day!
As you may have already guessed, I love cheese and anything cheesy. One of my favourite meals is to make a syn free cheese sauce. I use one egg per tub of quark. You mix them up, I use a hand whisk, and heat slowly in a saucepan over a low heat, continually stirring and mixing. I then serve it with some pasta. By adding bacon or ham you have your own syn free carbonara. You can also use this sauce as a basis for lasagne or anything else which requires a cheesy sauce.
Diet Coke Gammon
Diet Coke and Gammon are two of my favourite things in the world. I know a lot of people who say to boil a gammon joint before cooking it through, but I never bother. I basically put small gammon joints in the slow cooker and tip in Diet Coke. It makes the gammon soft and juicy and gives it an almost sweet flavour, but without syns or sugar. You can serve this with vegetables of your choice for another syn free meal. This totally works for other meats too – in particular chicken breasts.
Bit more adventurous?
If you are more adventurous and creative in the kitchen, once you get the hang of the programme, you will soon be throwing together low syn and syn free ingredients to come up with your own great cheap Slimming World meals and recipes. One of the best purchases I’ve made is to get a slow cooker. You can throw all your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning, and end up with something in the evening. My approach to this is if all the ingredients going in are things I like, then surely I must like the resultant product – and I’ve not been disappointed yet!
Slimming World Meal Plan Ideas and Tips
I know that no meal plan, for Slimming World or any other plan, is going to be suitable for everyone. Some people don’t eat meat, some don’t eat dairy, some are fussier eaters, and some have food allergies. It’s why I believe there may not be an existing Slimming World meal plan that will be suitable for you, but using the basics you learn on the programme you can create your own. Here’s my top tips on how to put together your meal plan:
- Focus on foods you enjoy – filling your meal plan with salad if you don’t like it will make it harder to stick to and you are more likely to give up sooner.
- Try and get lots of variety in your Slimming World meal plan – you might love a particular recipe, but you will go off it quickly if you have it all the time!
- Try and be adventurous in the kitchen and step outside of your culinary comfort zone – I’ve tried loads of new recipes and foods since trying Slimming World and have found some new favourites (courgette anyone?!? Yum!!!)
- Make your meal plan fit into your lifestyle and schedule – planning something which relies on a lot of cooking time for lunch if you are in the office or only have a short lunch break is just setting yourself up for failure
Slimming World Meal Plan Breakfast Ideas
For breakfast I tend to try and have a homemade fruit salad which is free such as melon, banana or apple, and top it with something like natural yoghurt or even a Muller Light. Even though Muller lights now have a Syn value, I love the taste so I think it’s a great way to use a Syn. If I’m on the go I will tend to have fruit like a banana or apple which is easier to eat on the go, and then carry some sort of breakfast or cereal bar, or even Slimming World Hi-Fi Bars.
Slimming World Meal Plan Lunch Ideas
Depending on if I am home or not will affect my lunch. If I am out and about unexpectedly, I will pick some sort of salad which comes with a dressing (I can’t deal with salad on its own). Just remember to check the Syn values though as a prepared salad may look really healthy, but the dressing may be full of Syns. I tend to choose ones that are mainly lettuce, cucumber, and maybe eggs or ham with a sachet of some salad dressing. If you need something crispy, multipack packets of crisps are your friend. They are traditionally smaller than standard packets of crisps and therefore lower in syns. If I have been cooking the night before, a portion of something left over is also a great grab and go choice for lunch. If I’m at home I will have something egg based like an omelette or if I have any bacon or sausages a mini healthy fry up (using 1 cal spray).
Slimming World Meal Plan Dinner Ideas
The evening is when I have the most amount of time to get cooking and can spend more time on my food. I have a lot of recipes which involve chicken breasts. Sometimes this is as simple as chicken breasts cooked in the slow cooker and served with vegetables. Sometimes if might be the chicken breast pizza recipe I highlighted above. Gammon is another favourite meat of mine. I also like low Syn meats such as Heck sausages. I really try to fill up as much of my plate as possible with vegetables, particularly at dinner. I try to include speed vegetables but if a vegetable is free (but not necessarily speed) I won’t exclude it. For example I LOVE sweetcorn! Mixing it in with other vegetables means I enjoy it that bit more!
Slimming World Meal Plan Snack Ideas
Cereal bars, Hi-Fi bars and multipack packets of crisps are great snack ideas, but I try to keep my snacks syn free so I can have more syns at my main meals. This may not work for everyone, but it works for me. This means I snack on fruit, vegetables and even hard boiled eggs. If I am hungry I will try to have a big drink of water and if I still feel hungry in 15-20 minutes then I will snack. Quite often by then I will not be hungry and be distracted that I forget all about it!
Let me know in the comments below what your favourite meal plan ideas are!