I recently decided I wanted to lose about 5 pounds because some weight snuck back up on me. So I visited a free site I love called Daily Burn. It tracks a variety of ways to lose weight and get into shape like diet, exercise, etc. My favorite is the food journal. It lets you track everything you eat and it has all the nutrition of the food you enter. I like that I can see I can eat foods I like (not just “diet” food) when eaten in moderation.
The other day I was cutting up some cheese for homemade gluten free pizza and my first instinct was to cut off a nice big slice to shred. But instead I decided to get out my little kitchen scale and weight the cheese. Sure enough I had about 1 extra ounce per serving than I wanted. Then I realized not only was that over 100 extra calories I was going to put on each pizza but also $1-2 worth of cheese I could use for another meal!
So if I cut out $1-2 worth of expensive food per dinner, I can save $30-60 off my grocery bill every month. It was kind of a light bulb moment that gave me extra motivation to stick with eating healthier.
Here are some ways to help slice your grocery budget just by eating a little less:
- Get a small kitchen scale. It is very easy to over-estimate portion size. Weighing your food might help you be able to eat foods you love and save on calories (and dollars).
- Start reading labels. Sure, there are only 100 calories per serving in your favorite cereal… but serving size is ¾ cup.. not an overflowing bowl! This tip could double the life of your cereal box and cut your breakfast budget almost in half. Most serving sizes are never what you think; sometimes a serving might be a ½ of a cookie.
- Choose nutritious, less expensive items to bulk up a meal. “Make meat a condiment.” Add chicken AND tofu to a stir fry. Tofu (even organic sometimes) can cost under $1.50 a pound and is low in fat. Extra veggies can cost $1 a pound or less vs. the high cost of beef or chicken.
- Try other salty snack items. Did you know that 3 cups of popcorn and 1/2 tablespoon of real butter or coconut oil has about the same calories as 1 ounce of potato chips? Popping your own corn is cheap and filling (plus ½ tablespoon of butter is indulgent, but not too indulgent, and doesn’t cost much either).
You do need to make sure in doing this you are not sacrificing nutrition. But in general no one needs a double serving of potato chips or cheese. If you are going to eat a double serving, make sure its budget friendly veggies or fruit!
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