As a registered dietitian, I should love grocery shopping.
Wouldn't you think?
Quite honestly, it's not my favorite. I take that back, I like to ”it just takes forever because I wait till there is nothing but bare bones in the house. Plus I use coupons which always take longer, though I usually save at least 25%. Anyway I found dried beans in the pantry (black and red), soaked them overnight, threw them in my crock pot in the morning with a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and a few cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. At the end of the day, there was the base for a great meal ” so easy, so good, and so cheap! Plus adding a salad and cornbread made a perfect meal.
Supposedly the recession ended in July 2009 but many are still cash-strapped and looking for bargains.
One way to save ”eat at home more often. It's easy to make nutritious and delicious meals. They get the family together, save money, and can eliminate loads of calories. Here are a few suggestions:
Have Breakfast for Dinner
Eggs are an inexpensive, terrific source of protein with 13 essential vitamins and minerals. At about 15 cents per large egg and 6 grams of high-quality protein, that's a bargain! Whip up a tasty omelet with low fat cheese and veggies of your choice ”mine would be mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. Serve with whole wheat toast or English muffins (Pepperidge Farm and Thomas ™ both have great tasting whole wheat) and fresh fruit. Visit the American Egg Board for wonderful ideas: www.incredibleegg.org/recipes.
Plan for Pasta
Thank goodness the low carb craze is behind us. Pasta was shunned for years thinking it made us fat. No. It had more to do with portion size and the company it keeps. Serve pasta a mile high with meatballs and meat sauce or Alfredo sauce and yes, you might see a difference in your expanding waistline. Be sensible with a tasty marinara or sautÃ©ed vegetables with garlic in a little olive oil and you ™ve got a winning combo! Add a side salad with light dressing or baby carrots with a little ranch. For 4-6 servings, a pound of pasta is less than $2 ”whole wheat preferred. Check out recipes at www.barrillaus.com or http://ronzonihealthyharvest.newworldpasta.com/ .
Go Meatless on Mondays
There is a movement and a website ” www.meatlessmondays.com ”to encourage more meatless eating. Don't worry, they won't convert you to a vegan diet. It's just encouragement to eat healthier ”for our bodies and our planet. One way to eat meatless on Monday is to go lean with this protein: beans! So many varieties ”red, black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, white, navy, cannelloni and more. Plus loaded with nutrients, fiber and disease fighting phytochemicals. Talk about economical ”a buck for a bag of beans will make about 5 to 6 cups. Canned beans are equally as good, just a little more expensive and have added sodium. Rinse to reduce sodium 30-40%. Two other great recipe resources are www.allrecipes.com and www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.com.
Other tips to $ave and eat sensibly?
- Don't buy the wallet stealing, energy zapping empty calorie foods like chips, cookies, sodas, etc.
- Use coupons, follow sales, and use the stores ™ preferred shopping cards for added savings. But the trick is to use them for what you normally buy.
- If you don't have a slow cooker, get one. Then use it.
- As much as you love the kids, try not to shop with them to avoid unwanted purchases. Have a friend watch your kids then return the favor when he or she shops.
- Use a list! Stick to it. Spend time to plan for the week.
- Don't grocery shop hungry. Hunger can be a trigger to buy unnecessary food.
- Slash savings in half by practicing portion control. Eat the recommended deck of card serving size versus doubling that.
- Pay attention to unit pricing of products ”they're posted on store shelves. Sometimes the larger portion are not the best buy.