Doing This One Thing Will Save You Thousands A Year On Food
Do you have a monthly or weekly budget for food? If not you could be over spending by several thousand dollars a year.
In my book, Simple Is The Cure, I talk about how to optimize health and life.
Arguably the most important area of healthy living is diet. But cooking, shopping, and meal planning can not only be a chore, it can also be an enormous money pit. A money pit that keeps you from paying off debt, going on vacation, or saving up for retirement.
According to the USDA, there are 4 food budget brackets Americans fall into.
- Low cost
When looking at the data, I was surprised to see that I’m under budgeting by about $10. A family of two on the Thrifty Plan needs to budget for $90.60 a week, while I budget for $80.
Not that I always keep to that budget.
Still though, it was amazing to see that even on the Thrifty Plan a family of two needs to budget for about $400 a month.
When you tally up all your monthly expenses, are you accurately budgeting for food?
I’m a lazy cook.I love to eat food. If I’m honest though, I don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food. But we all know convenience carries a high price tag.
The Liberal Plan as mentioned in the USDA report suggests that a family of four could spend over $1,100 a month on groceries! That’s $13,200 a year.
While a family of two could spend up to and around $9,400 a year.
While there’s little we can do to affect the cost of food, we do still have control over what we buy, when we buy it, where we buy it, and more importantly how we cook it.
Learning to do just one thing differently while cooking could end up saving you literally thousands a year on food and save you tons of time in the kitchen.
How to cook.
Let’s be honest. Most adults don’t know how to cook.
As a result, eating out and replying on packed convenience foods has resulted in over spending and declining health.
Cooking is not complicated, difficult or time consuming. It is not for the wealthy, affluent, or privileged. Cooking is for everyone.
A basic breakdown of cooking:
Raw cooking (think ceviche), baking, steaming, grilling, roasting, boiling, stewing (slow cooking), sauteing, and frying (of various kinds).
I’d like for you to focus on these methods of cooking to start off with because they’re the easiest:
Steaming and boiling (poaching), raw cooking, stewing, and sautéing.
You have no excuse for not knowing how to cook: YouTube.
What to cook.
Look around the world. What do you see most cultures eating? Rich or poor, people tend to eat the same kinds of things. Of course location and culture influence this. However, for the most part people eat these things:
Greens, grains, beans, fermented foods, and some animal protein if meat eaters.
These three foods are the bedrock of healthy eating and incidentally are also some of the most cost effective foods to purchase and prepare. They make the perfect blank slate to work from because you have so many options and varieties of each.
I just want you starting thinking about your plate differently. When you wonder what to eat, come back to this article. You need 2–3 meals a day.
What will you have for breakfast, lunch, and supper?
Breakfast needs to be sizable, lunch the largest meal, and supper needs to be the smallest. Keep it simple. Focus on the foundational foods. In my book, I share the breakfast I eat almost every day. But it’s basically steamed greens, sweet potato, two 3 minute eggs, and sauerkraut.
Lunch is a robust salad with nuts, seeds, quinoa, beans, avocado, and a simple dressing. I have some dates and almonds for dessert.
My last meal of the day is usually around 3:00pm and is snacking foods like seed crackers with cheese, hummus or more avocado.
Cook once, eat twice.
Learn to batch cook, you will save thousands a year on food. We really only need two solid meals a day and maybe a small “supper”. Because of this cooking becomes less time consuming.
Make your cooking time work for you and multiply your efforts by batch cooking.
Since you’re going to be in the kitchen anyhow, shift your thinking to cooking in larger quantities or batches. For example, instead of making 1 cup of dry rice, make 2 or 3.
When I was in college, my first roommate was from Hong Kong. Every weekend she would get out her rice cooker and fill it up.
When the rice was done, she would let it cool and then pull out some cellophane. She’d scoop out a portion size of rice and place it on a square of cling wrap. Then she’d wrap it up and pop it in the freezer.
On lunch breaks from class, she’d come back to the dorm room, pull out a frozen nugget of rice and fry an egg with shallots, carrots, and anything else she had hanging around.
It took her like 5 minutes to make lunch!
Buy a rice cooker or crock pot so that you can cook large batches of grains like rice, quinoa, millet, farrow, and amaranth.
You’re going to save so much money if you focus on batch cooking because you can also apply this time/money saving technique to beans as well.
There are tons of crock-pot recipes online like this one. You just need to start doing this.
Batch cook rice, oatmeal, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa. Get comfortable with eating similar things throughout the week. If you cook the grains or beans avoid using a specific flavor. Rely on condiments and homemade sauces to change the tone of the meal.
You can steam almost any dark leafy green or veggie. Try steaming some kale with sweet potato and adding it to a side of quinoa or brown rice. Drizzle some EVOO on the whole thing, salt and pepper to taste.
If you made a huge batch of quinoa, for example, you can use it as the base layer and morph it into any kind of dish with any kind of veggie, protein, herb, spice or green you want. You can make it hot or cold, sweet, sour, or savory. You can make a tossed salad, a stew or soup. You could even make quinoa burgers if you wanted!
Since you already have the grains and beans pre-cooked, you can decide what to add when you’re ready to eat. You could saute garlic and onion, add some pumpkin seeds, or even chicken if that’s your thing and then toss in some of the pre-cooked quinoa and beans. Boom! Done.
The possibilities are endless but I want you to start with 1 grain, 1 bean, and 1 green. Once you have that down you’ll naturally start to make your own combinations. Get it done.
Let’s not stop here.
If you want to learn more about how to optimize your health and life with simple changes, you’re invited to subscribe to my blog where you’ll get access to a free 7 day video course all about how to poop better, save money, take back your time, and dress authentically.