How to approach intuitive eating while budgeting has been a highly requested post for years. Recently Andrew and I have made changes to how we allocate our money. For us, part of that has been having a budget for eating out. Since doing this I’ve been thinking about how intuitive eating pairs with being wise financially. So, I’m sharing a couple ideas I have on budgeting + being an intuitive eater and sharing several of the ideas I received on the topic when I asked you guys on Insta.
Now, before we get into this post I want to say…for where I’m at in my time away/healing from my eating disorder, having a food budget doesn’t harm my ED recovery. It may harm yours. How your family allocates money will need to be discussed based on your unique situation. I’ve found that how someone interacts with money can be similar to how someone interacts with food. You can get in the mentality of less (spending or food intake) is the goal which can lead to unnecessary deprivation. A better goal is to set a sustainable budget based on your needs and adhere to it. A budget can become a means to restrict. If that is you, it’s likely not time to set a food budget and there are non-food related areas of your life where you can set a budget. Be wise and thoughtful on if/how it’s appropriate to apply this post to your life.
My ideas for budgeting while intuitively eating:
1. Finding crave-worthy, filling, and satisfying recipes you enjoy and can make at home.
If you have a strict grocery shopping budget, this may be difficult for you. Most of our efforts at the moment are going towards reducing meals eaten out. For me, this week’s satisfying meals are the best baked oatmeal, canned cinnamon rolls, pulled pork tacos, a lasagna served with the dreamy toasted almond salad, and cosmic brownies.
2. Figuring out what meals/snacks out you’d feel deprived without.
I love having a latte + breakfast out 1-2 times a week, then takeout for dinner at least one night, and the odd ice cream date because Jeni’s opened in Houston and I’m so happy about it! All other meals and snacks I’m fine just cooking at home. There are plenty of times I feel annoyed with the budget and have to have the conversation in my head of, “we have food at home.” See below haha:
Now, I’m not speaking for everyone here. An important part of everyone’s ED recovery is permission to eat all foods. In certain stages of recovery, if able, having more money to allocate to eating out makes a lot of sense.
Your ideas for budgeting while intuitively eating:
Crystal recommended, “Aldi. Inexpensive + good chocolate, which I really like to have to feel satisfied.”
Brittany likes to double up on dishes to save. I agree! Any time we make lasagna we double the recipe and freeze one.
Kayla mentioned she likes shopping while hungry. That way she grabs what aligns with cravings. I remember my mom recommending this to me when growing up, saying that if you shop when you’re NOT hungry then you don’t get enough food. I could see how shopping while hungry allows you to get satisfying food, which prevents blowing the budget on eating out later. The typical message around this tends to be to not shop when hungry, but I don’t like that advice.
I received multiple praises for @workweeklunch on Insta as being an Intuitive Eating aligned resource with non-diet meal prep and awesome customizable recipes. I wasn’t following her, but I am now!
Hannah said she makes sure she has “sweets on deck!” Love it! I’m a big fan of this as well. Our cake stand, 99% of the time, has a sweet something on top of it!
Charlie like to keep a running list/pinterest board of the meals that really satisfied her to refer to for easier meal planning.
Kaity said that her and her husband have $40 allowances/week that can go to anything, so she chooses for that to mostly go to lattes. A woman after my own heart! Haha.
Victoria saves money by freezing a couple servings of entrees in individual containers so they are easily accessible when a craving strikes! I especially do this with leftover meat. Instead of having to thaw 3 pounds of pulled pork, you can freeze it in the amount you use for one meal for your family and just thaw that amount.
Someone mentioned buying a few more pricey ingredients that elevate otherwise boring meals! For instances, nicely aged parmesan cheese, quality chocolate, arugula, or an aged balsamic glaze can do a lot for a mundane entree.
Natalie likes to “pack extra snacks from home so [she] can honor cravings and/or more hunger than expected.” I like to have my office drawer stocked with self-stable snacks that I can grab as wanted or needed.
Kate recommended having 5-7 meal options so she has everything she needs to make several different meals. Then she can decide that day what the family wants based on cravings.
Any other budgeting tips you’d recommend? Do you find anything problematic come up when combining budgeting + Intuitive Eating? Let me know in the comments.