Buying food is one of the larger expenditures we make each week. But did you know that by cutting calories you can also save money? Use our tips on how to save money both when eating out and eating at home.
We know eating out is much more expensive than brown bagging it, but do you know how much you are spending? Assuming your daily lunch costs $7.00, with an average of 20 working days per month, that is $140 per month or $1,680 per year! Oh … let’s not forget to mention the loads of calories and saturated fat that is in many of the fast-food super-sized lunch choices. Your meal could easily top over 900 calories and 40 grams of fat. That is over half of your daily calorie count in just one meal!
Compare that to a salad of vegetables and grilled chicken with a light vinaigrette dressing and a cup of homemade vegetable soup and you saved around 550 calories, 34 grams of fat, and about $5.00. A healthy lunch you bring from home will nutritionally and financially beat lunch out every time hands down. And if you can avoid having to drive somewhere to get lunch, you can save even more by not spending money on gas to get there and back.
What you drink can really run up your monthly expenses and calories, too. Instead of ordering your morning $4.00 latte with 180 calories, order a coffee with half-and-half cream with only 20 calories. Not only did you save $2.25, but you drank 160 fewer calories – and that is if you only have one drink per day.
Eating at Home
Buying your own groceries and eating at home is always less expensive and with less calories than eating out. But how can you reduce calories and food costs at the same time? Cook in bulk.
It costs money every time you fire up the oven. So instead of making one meal at a time, cook up a whole week’s worth of meals, package them in portion-sized servings, and freeze them. It takes much less energy to heat up a meal in the microwave than cook it in the oven, and with a portioned-sized meal, there will be less temptation to overeat, thus saving calories.
Another tip … watch the sales on healthy items. Instead of stocking up on processed food that is on sale, still expensive, and full of calories, focus on buying healthy choices instead, such as tuna, olive oil, beans, brown rice, and lean meats. In the end, both your waistline and wallet will thank you.
Food costs are one of our largest monthly expenditures. However, by diligently buying healthy items in quantity when on sale, you not only save money at the checkout, but in gas by not having to go to the grocery store as often. And by buying natural healthy foods, you are avoiding the unwanted calories in processed foods, not to mention the saturated fat, trans fat and sodium found in many pre-made foods. Buy smart, eat smart, and save both money and calories.