Save Money On Groceries! Each week I share one simple tip that you can implement to start saving on your grocery bill right away.
Many of the tips will be familiar, but if you take the Save Money on Groceries Challenge with us, you will actually take the steps each week instead of just filing them in the “I should do that” file. [To join in, just leave a comment saying that you already use the tip of the week, or that you will start this week.]
[Click here to see all the tips in this series.]
Today I’m talking about something that will save you money, but which may be unpopular: eating less.
The truth is that most Americans eat far more than we need to. I am guilty of it too. It seems that food is everywhere, and we are constantly bombarded with advertisements with delicious looking dishes and suggestions from fast food restaurants to enjoy a “fourth meal” at 2 o’clock in the morning!
You can read my necessity food versus entertainment food post here to learn how our family views food differently, but today I want to give you some tips to help your family eat less, but still feel satisfied.
Curb the carbs.
Carbohydrate foods are used up quickly by our bodies and create short bursts of energy, with a drop in our energy levels shortly thereafter. That energy drop signals our brains that we need to eat more, so we continue on an endless cycle of eating more and more carbs, or fighting hunger pangs all day long.
Eating healthy fats and protein at each meal will enable your body to feel satiated and help you to eat less. Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast, and choose healthier snacks like celery sticks with peanut butter or cream cheese, apple slices with cheese and raw nuts.
Drink more water.
You probably know that you should drink eight glasses of water a day, but if you are like most Americans, a glass of water hardly touches your lips during the day. You drink a couple of cups of coffee in the morning, a diet soda with lunch and tea with your dinner. While all of these drinks are fluids, they also contain caffeine and sugar, which some studies show can contribute to dehydration.
One fact that you may not be aware of is that dehydration can actually feel like hunger pangs, which makes you want to eat rather than addressing the actual problem of needing to drink more water.
Change your food triggers.
Your mind associates activities like eating with your location, so even walking into a room can trigger a “need” to eat.. If you make it a habit to eat while watching television, then you will probably feel hungry every time you sit down to watch a t.v. show. It doesn’t help that many of the commercials are for food either.
To break this cycle of “trigger” eating, try replacing the food with another activity such as folding laundry, knitting, playing with a softball or doing leg lifts while watching television.
Trade your dishware.
Help yourself eat less by choosing lighter-colored dishes (bold colors like red and orange excite your brain and can trigger overeating), and smaller dinner plates (your plate will look full with less food). These changes may seem small, but over time they can save you a lot of calories!
Make over-eating incovenient.
You can also eat less by making simple changes like leaving dinner on the stove instead of putting it on the table (having to get up from the table for a second serving makes you think about that extra food you are about to consume). Another great idea is to remove a couple of servings of dinner foods before you eat, and package them for lunches the next day.
Rather than eating snack foods out of the bag or box, take a small serving and place it in a cup or bowl, then put the container away. If you don’t see the food, you are less likely to eat it.
What are some tips you use to help your family avoid overeating? Leave a comment. 🙂
5 Easy Ways to Drink More Water
Information about healthy fats (especially read the section titled “Confused About Fats?”
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Please Note: This post should not be construed as professional or medical advice. I am simply sharing some personal ways I have been able to keep my family well fed while keeping the budget lower. You should seek the advice of a qualified medical professional if your circumstances require it.
Hey just found your blog. My tip: buy cheese in blocks. I used to dump shredded cheese on every salad & taco, and put a cheese slice on every sandwich. Now that I have to actually shred or slice the cheese myself, I’m just eating it when I really want it and not just because. Plus it’s cheaper per ounce in blocks.
Kimberlee Stokes says
Welcome Karen! Thanks for the tip. 🙂
One big money leak for us is my struggle with secret eating and boredom eating. It caused me to gain 40 lbs several years ago. I lost it about 3 years ago, but still did those things while losing. I was just more balanced. Since I’ve become a SAHM after adopting our son a year ago, I’ve slipped back into those habits some. It’s worse financially since I’m not working now.
The other thing is my husband’s snacking. I have started cooking dinner most nights, and he’ll take leftovers most days for lunch. He won’t eat enough of what I cook to get full even if he likes it. He’ll eat his meal and then have a couple handfuls of chips. We both usually have a snack later in the evening, too, but it’s because we truly do get hungry again since we don’t stuff ourselves at dinner.
Hi 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now and I just wanted to say all your posts are really helpful!
My boyfriend, our dog and I live in a too-big appartment in the most expensive city in Germany. This wasn’t a problem until my bf decided to go back to uni. Relocating isn’t an option at the moment since most landlords don’t allow dogs 🙁 We’ve been selling off our stuff, 7 (!) unused shelves, all of the books I’ve bought to read them “some day”, DVDs, CDs, clothes AND your blog has been giving me such great inspiration! So thank you!! 🙂
Hi Andrea! I am sorry that you are in that position, but so proud of you for taking control and doing what needs to be done. I hope things work out for you. 🙂
My great grandparents immigrated to America from Okinawa. One thing that I was taught at a young age is that you should eat slowly and never eat until you are completely full. Eat until you are 80 percent full. I have done this all my life and its a really healthy way to eat. I dont have to be too concerned about what I eat, I just never eat until I am stuffed and it makes for a pleasant experience. Sometimes when I am out with friends I hear them say “Ugh! I ate too much, I feel horrible.” I take my leftovers home, stretch my meal and save some money and best of all I feel satisfied, happy and nourished! Try it!
Great tip Tsuyako! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us. 🙂
Jennifer brown says
I love the idea that dark plates, such as the red ones in my cabinet, can cause me to want to eat more. I’ve been slowly replacing all of my kitchen stuff, I think next weeks purchase will be a light beige to replace my red. I’ve lost 47 lbs since April 21, 2012, and am working hard to keep it off- I think this idea will help.
Wow Jenifer, way to go! Keep up the good work!
I have a 4 month old so this doesn’t really apply to me, but I love this idea for families with older kids and I am going to do this when she gets older. You take small/med size plastic a box with a lid and at night you gather the kids (husband too) and you allow them to place snacks into the box for the next day. You can pre-portion out the snacks into ziplock bags to save $. The rule is they have to add one veggie or friut to the box, not just crackers and cookies. Only snacks that fit in the box when the lid is closed are allowed and once the box is empty, there is no more snacking! This allows kids to have some responsibility on when and how much they eat and it prevents them from running to mom everytime they want a snack and from over eating.
To keep the kids from grazing through an entire bag of pretzels or the whole box of goldfish, I portion out a serving into snack sized Ziploc bags. I do the same with fresh fruit. It is also a huge time saver in the mornings when I am packing lunches.
sharon c. says
I love the idea of going ahead and packaging up some food for lunches before putting it out for the meal! So simple, but so smart! My preteen will eat up whatever is in the pan; if it’s not in the pan, she won’t even notice!!
House rule: No eating from the bag (or box)! All snacks must go in our “snack-sized” bowls. We all follow it pretty faithfully.
Julie C says
I’ve lost a lot of weight (almost 60lbs) in the past year and a half by doing most of these! I gained the weight not because I ate a ton of unhealthy food, but because I ate HUGE portions. So it not only saves money, but helps improve your health too. The biggest one that helped the most was portioning out all the meals at the stove. I take out my dinner’s portion (weighing and measuring), and then do the same for as many lunch portions as I planned for it to make. In addition to the health benefits, I don’t run out of leftovers to eat for lunches. If I run out of leftovers for lunches, I end up eating out, and that doesn’t help save money.
Great point Julie! It is better for our health to eat less, and CONGRATULATIONS on losing all that weight! 🙂