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5 Ways to Stretch Your Food Dollar and Shrink Your Waist Line

Posted Nov 30 2010 10:56pm

This post idea has been floating around the old noggin for quite some time now. As I was watering down some salad dressing the other day, I realized there are many habits I have adopted over the years that not only help me cut calories but save money as well.

Water down Juice and Sweet Drinks
Many juices are loaded with too much sugar (even natural sugars) and can easily be watered down to cut calories and increase volume. I really believe tastes are learned. Start with adding a 1-2 oz of water to a cup of juice and work your way up. I can now mix almost half and half and be totally satisfied. I’m getting double the juice for half the cost and half the calories too!
Always Ask for Thin Sliced
For awhile I was buying pre-cut packaged ham and cheese for sandwiches then I realized how thick the slices were, especially the cheese. Ordering cold cuts from the deli counter allowed me to request thin sliced everything. Now adding one thin slice of cheese and piling in the ham actually uses less and tastes just as satisfying! Of course I pad all my sandwiches with veggies as well. ;)
Bulk up Ground Meats with Vegetables
Whatever you are making, tacos , meat loaf, chili , even pizza ! When you brown your ground beef bulk it up! Add veggies chopped small. Some, specifically mushrooms and zucchini, can barely be noticed and others add AMAZING flavor. Try peppers, onion, spinach, even kale! Just chop it up small. You’ll increase volume while reducing calories, increasing nutrients and stretching your meat!
Buy Meats in Bulk
This one may be a no brainer but buying in bulk is helpful in more ways than you may think. The per pound price is generally cheaper, saving you cash and allowing you to come home and separated it in servings sizes that make sense for your family. Having quick and easy protein sources available on hand also make it easier to whip something up on those days you feel pressed for time. For ground meats I use this technique saving space and making defrosting cinch !
Stretch Salad Dressings
I rarely buy creamy dressing as I normally make my own. I’m a simple oil/vinegar base type of girl but this summer I bought a bottle of Poppyseed dressing and fell in love. It was sweet, creamy and thick. Boy was it THICK. Once I used a bit, I decided to add a splash of water to the bottle to help it pour. I shook it up and realized I couldn’t even tell I watered it down. As I used more, I added more water. I’ve had a full bottle of this dressing even after of 3 months of using it! Of course there is a point were you will make it too watery but any water you add will stretch it further saving you cash and calories. Note: I do something similar with BBQ sauce as well. Adding a bit of Worcestershire sauce to thin it out and add flavor.

Do you have any tips that help save cash and calories?

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