The drought that affected most of the country over the summer means there’s a good chance food costs will be higher during the next year; who knows by how much. Some of the hardest hit food items will be some of our favorites like meat, eggs and diary. Instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s focus on the positive end results; smarter food choices, portion control, and healthy weight loss. You don’t need to give up the food you love; you just need to make a few adjustments and use of the following tips.
1. Start controlling the amount you eat; we’ve all heard this one before right? While it might sound a bit obvious, eating less will cost less and is one of the best ways to start saving money on food, starting with your next meal. Just cook smaller amounts and pay attention to serving sizes.
Most of us consume way more than we should and by cutting back on hefty portions you’ll not only leave the table feeling satisfied but not stuffed, and you’ll shed unwanted pounds. Portion control along with fitness training will also boost your metabolism so you’ll be less hungry and have a happier wallet.
2. Say no to convenience foods You should say no to bad for you TV dinners, high fat, frozen specialty foods like pizza, canned goods and other instant, high sodium food choices. While they may seem inexpensive they don’t last and more than likely won’t leave you feeling satisfied. Instead buy fresh or frozen vegetables, or prepare fresh meals and freeze serving sizes for upcoming meals.
3. Eat less meat. Meat is one of the most expensive food items on anyone’s grocery list especially if you get specific cuts regardless if they’re on sale or not. You can still enjoy lean cuts of meat just consider your portion sizes (approx. the size of a deck of cards). You can make meat go farther too by slicing it up and adding it to stir fry’s, steak salads, you get the idea. In addition, consider beans or tofu as delicious sources of healthy protein.
4. Always make a grocery list and stick to it. When you just browse around the grocery store you end up buying much more than you need along with end cap sales items that always seem to be unhealthy choices.
Worse yet, which has happened to most of us, once you get home you’ll find out you forgot something important due to grocery store temptations.
5. Buy in Bulk. Purchase food items you use regularly in bulk can save you a lot of money. Picking up things like coffee, rice, frozen vegetables, spices in larger quantities, etc will not only last you longer, keeping you from constantly returning to the grocery store, it will give you a break in the cost as well.
6. Waste not want not. Part of eliminating food waste has to do with portion control however there is more to it than that. Most of us typically end up throwing out more than 10% of the food we purchase for no good reason. By eating all of what you cook or saving the leftovers and actually making use of them, you’re guaranteed to save some hard earned cash in the long run.