Monday, April 19, 2010
Eatin' on the cheap
I hear people complain all the time about how much it costs to eat healthy. That, my friends, is just plain absurd.
People from the poorest states have the highest levels of obesity. Does this mean that healthy food is expensive and the poor can only eat cheap, unhealthy food? Again, this is an utter fallacy. Its about what the planning we do and the choices we make.
In today’s blog I am going to tell you how to do two things. One is to eat better. The other is to save money on your food bill. Yep. Can be done. I promise.
It all starts with a plan. This will take some time at first but once you get the hang of my system is will be like 5 minutes. Before you do your trip to the supermarket sit down with your family and make a plan.
You’ll need a pad of paper and some patience. You should be able to find both if you look hard enough.
Start with breakfast. What does everybody enjoy for breakfast? Make a list of what you come up with. Whoever is in charge (i.e. whoever pays the bills and is the most health conscious) automatically eliminates the suggestions like donuts and Poptarts.
Now what you need to do (and this is VERY important) is assign days to each meal. For example Monday and Tuesday is fresh fruit, Wednesday is cereal, Thursday and Friday is Oatmeal, Saturday and Sunday its eggs and toast. Each night you should go to bed knowing what everybody is having for breakfast. Every Monday is always the same. Remember to eat up the fresh fruits and veggies early in the week.
Do the same thing for lunch and for dinner. The kids may eat at school that’s not an issue. You may eat out on Wednesdays so don’t worry about that day. Dinner is the family meal! Decide in advance what each meal is going to be making sure that there is input from the entire family.
Make a big list of the snacks that you enjoy and, of course, eliminate all the garbage. Make sure that you plan of having snacks that everyone likes and it’s even OK to get a treat or two. DO NOT overindulge on treats! They cost money and more importantly they can cost you your health.
Let’s review. We now have a list of DAY SPECIFIC breakfast, lunches and dinners. We also have a list of snacks to get for everybody.
Now is where some trial and error needs to take place. You need to know how much of each food you’ll need. It is vastly important to over buy. A lot of food will just plain go bad. Also don’t get trapped into the nasty habit of running to the store to get extra comfort food. Not a good idea at all. Buy what you buy and readjust as you go.
Now take your list of meals and make a shopping list. Once you know what you need then start looking in the cupboards. You do NOT need to keep tons of food just in case. A hurricane storage box may be a good idea that’s it.
Don’t have a cupboard full of snacks! This is what you spend your money on! Don’t do it!
Same thing with the freezer; 15 relatives aren’t going to come over for dinner tonight. They’ll give you enough time to run to Publix.
You will likely find that many for your first week’s meals are already in your house. Keep track of everything! Did you run out of oatmeal? Buy more next time! You get the picture.
How can this way of shopping be cheaper? Several ways. Here they are in no particular order:
1. You won’t be wasting any food. Have you ever bought a bad of apples only to watch then all go bad. Same with milk or cheese or meat. If things go bad and you throw it way make and note and don’t make that mistake again!
2. If you plan and make meals it will be cheaper! I promise that rice, broccoli and chicken breast is going to be cheaper then frozen pizza because not only is it dinner but it is lunch the next day.
3. You will be less inclined to go out to eat if you PLAN what to eat and when. How many times has a “what’s for dinner” conversation turned into a $70 bill at Applebee’s? Exactly.
4. You will be healthier. How is being healthier going to save you money? Less days off from from work due to sickness, less doctors bills, better insurance premiums etc. etc.
5. Another thing that people don’t realize is that when you plan your meals out it takes less time and thus more time you could be spending working on your goals or spending time with your family. Priceless.
1. Plan your week.
2. Work your plan.
3. See results.
4. Any question?
Invest the time in the beginning. This is huge. It may seem like hard work in the end you are going to be better off.
Remember to keep track. Post the menu somewhere that everyone will see. Stay strong. Don’t deviate! If a meal doesn’t work then do something to change it. It’s OK to make some changes but not OK to give in to the “take-out food” mentality of the majority of Americans.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!!