The Frugal Grocer series has not been posted to in sometime, and that is mainly because I have been forgetful when it comes to taking pictures of my food and don’t want to bore you with just a grocery list. Rest assured that I have kept to my $50 per week budget and last week spent a whopping total of $32 on groceries. I have not been denying myself anything, but one small change has amounted to some savings and even a sustained weight loss.
Yesterday I posted about my lack of use of oil in my cooking these days. As we all know olive oil can be expensive and just cutting that out has helped save the budget. It has also helped with a sustained weight loss and allow me to explain. I have been weighing 145 pounds for a long time and have fought to get down to 140 lbs for race day. After watching the Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue movie and saw that Rip Esselstyn didn’t cook with oil I wanted to try it. Within two days I was down to 142 lbs without changing anything else. I have been eating as if I was going to prison the next day, as evidenced by the 5.5 slices of pizza on Saturday night and a brunch composed of 2 pancakes, 2 slices of french toast and 4 slices of whole wheat toast all covered in peanut butter and honey on Sunday. Yet my weight did not change the next day after eating all that.
By being cognizant of eliminating oil I have saved money and pounds. Now don’t go posting comments that I need to have fat in my diet because fat still consists of 30%-35% of the calories in my diet. Now I just get them from avocado, nuts, homemade nut butter and the olives. What do I cook in? I bake, broil, steam or blanch the vegetables and they are tastier than ever.
You didn’t click on the post to read about that so I will provide you with a list of wise shopping tips that I found on Active.com and they really resonated with me because it is what I work on with my clients. In our first week of working together I will walk them through the grocery store so they can see what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong.’ I put those in quotes because there are some items that in moderation are not bad for you but I want to give them the education so that they can make those decisions without me. If a client is not within my vicinity I will have them take pictures of their grocery shopping and email me and we walk through the grocery store that way. This visual cue is key because it opens their eyes to what they are doing. It is amazing how many people go grocery shopping without thinking or planning and this helps them do both.
Here are the 10 Grocery Tips from Active.com. To read the entire post written by Kait Fortunato click [HERE]:
1. Plan Ahead
This goes without say. If you can plan your week’s menu then you will shop for only those items and thus not wander around the store just tossing items into your cart. This is key to maintaining a budget and getting what you need only.
2. Buy in Season
When you purchase produce in season it is cheaper. Why? It is cheaper because it is abundant. Don’t know what produce is available in what season? Well lucky for you our friend Lindsey Cotter retrieved this chart from Health Central in her tips for CorePower.
3. Purchase in Bulk
This is a terrific idea for items like rice, nuts, beans, quinoa and flour. You purchase what you need for the week and not the packaging. I recently bought enough peanuts to make a jar of peanut butter for 2/3 the price of a normal jar. The better part is that it didn’t include anything but peanuts. No oils or high fructose corn syrup.
4. Spice it Up
If you think that your food tastes bland then purchase some spices. You can get the dried and they will last a long time. You can also add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to sliced banana and honey to add some flavor without any calories.
5. Check Ingredients
Read your packaging. It is that simple. If the package has an arm’s lengths worth of ingredients it is probably not good for you and why would you spend money on an item that is not good for you? Also, if you keep the saying: Eat The Ingredients Not The Box you will be cooking the items you long for at a cheaper price and have them be healthier.
6. Choose Lean Protein
Lean protein means buying chicken, turkey and pork as opposed to red meat for carnivores. If you are a vegetarian/vegan this is not an issue. Lean proteins are items such as tofu, tempeh, seitan as well as a combination of vegetables to make a complete amino acid.
7. Beware of Advertising
Packages will make claims such as low-fat or no-fat and while that may be true it is only because they put it through some process and substituted with artificial sweetners. It takes just a few seconds to turn the box and read.
8. Think Whole Foods
If a company has to use a process to create ‘food’ then it is using resources. If we remember that companies are in business to make money then we will remember that they are going to charge more for that process to take place. Processed foods are more expensive and have far fewer nutrients than whole foods.
9. Evaluate Portions
I wrote about portion control not too long ago and it bares repeating. Serving sizes have gotten out of control in America. People think a Big Gulp is normal. Or that the Super Size is correct. Unfortunately you are paying in both price and calories when you are eating what is being deemed as a proper portion these days. Ask the waiter or waitress when you are eating out to box half of it before it even comes to the table. This will save you the calories and provide you with lunch the next day. 2 meals for the price of 1.
10. Save the Leftovers
Again, 2 meals for the price of 1. That is being a true Frugal Grocer.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR GROCERY SHOPPING?