Eat Out Less?
As common knowledge goes, dining out would seem like the obvious first choice on my list. This is where my mind went first, but I also eat out A LOT. I consider myself a fairly busy person, so I don’t like to fill my time with things that can be streamlined a little. For example, when we fix a meal there are hours of prep that go into it. Even fixing a simple sandwich requires you to plan, make a list, drive to the store, shop at the store, drive back home, and prepare your [healthy] sandwich… not to mention the clean-up that comes afterwards. So, for lack of a better reason, a busier lifestyle seems more in tune with eating out more frequently.
You may find this a bit shocking, but eating healthier options at restaurants usually cost less than the higher caloric meals. This tells us that if eating out is your main go-to, then you can actually save more money by eating better. A word of warning, however… Soft drinks are the deal killer here. Most restaurants make a good amount money from soft drinks alone. So, if you can fight the urge to have your favorite soft drink, replacing it with water and a lemon, your pocketbook may thank you for it.
Shop The Walls
If you hadn’t taken notice before, don’t worry… most people don’t pay attention to where food is located inside the grocery store. For those select few who knew that the healthiest options usually hang out near the walls of the grocery store, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. I’m not sure why it’s done that way, but if you look at almost any grocery store, most of the fresh food stays along the perimeter of the store. The heavily processed and preservative laden food (if you can call a lot of it “food”) hangout on shelves, waiting for some unsuspecting future victim of heart disease or diabetes. I would start off by shopping the healthier options first, that way your cart is full of good stuff before you take your chances with what may be lurking in the middle of the aisles.
Read the Labels
Sure, I’m just like most people who never liked to read labels either, that makes us completely normal. In my younger years, I could pretty much eat anything I wanted to, without giving it much thought. But now, there are these things called calories that I have to worry about. I admit it; calories and I have a love/hate relationship. I need them so I don’t pass out as I go about my day, but if I get too many I start wanting to run past mirrors so I don’t have to come to grips with how fat I’ve become.
There are a lot of sugars and other junk hidden in our food. Reading the labels can at least help you make the best choices possible. The nice thing about it, reading the label once should be all that it takes. Once you have purchased it, it should be fairly easy to assume that you could purchase it anytime afterwards.
Prepare Larger Meals
Something we do at my house, make a delicious dinner that can be used for lunch the next day. It helps a little by taking some of the guesswork out of things and it’s nice to spend less time making a second meal. Leftovers can be very advantageous for the long term… It costs less money to cook one large meal, rather than two smaller ones. One easy trick is to make something like soup that you can heat up throughout the week. You can use it as the main course for one night, but follow up the next time by using it as a side dish.