Saturday, October 20

Saving With Vegetables

Carrots!  Munch, Munch.I've explored the idea of saving money by cutting food costs more than a few times.

For example, I've talked about cheap staple foods such as rice or beans, low priced meats such as ground beef, eating less overall via calorie cycling, and I've posted lots of example recipes.

Today I'm going to give another perspective on improving health while saving money. As we all know, many people, whether living frugally or not, could use a bit of help managing their health. Perhaps they could stand to eat more vegetables, improving their nutritional status, while losing a little bit of weight. Well, guess what, that's today's topic.

When you have a casual meal what are the most expensive parts? Usually it will be the chicken, fish, meat or whatever your main source of protein is. Other dishes, containing vegetables, rice, potatoes or beans can be a lot cheaper. However, the food you don't need to cook and that you don't eat is the cheapest of all.

What? Have I gone crazy again?

No, no, bear with me. Remember growing up and having a salad before dinner? There are a lot of good reasons for doing that. Perhaps many of you still do. I can pretty much guarantee that tons of people living alone, or that tons of people that don't like vegetables, or that tons of people who don't have a lot of patience with cooking no longer do that.

Perhaps this is a result of our time constrained convenience driven lifestyle.

In cany case, when we start a meal with foods that are not calorie dense, such as vegetables, we not only get some good nutrition at a low price, but we start the process of filling up before we start scarfing down all the high calorie and high price items. If we do things right there is a good chance we will start to feel full soon enough to end up eating less altogether. If you are one of the masses with pants that are a bit too tight -- this is a great strategy.

It's a way to feel full, to enjoy your meal, while not spending as much on food, while cutting a few calories, and improving your nutritional profile. Of course, you do have to make sure you don't slather on too much oily dressing, cheese, or other high calorie or high expense add-ons.

Now, if you are like me, a complete salad is sometimes too much time and effort. You have to buy all the ingredients, keep them in the fridge, chop them up, and so forth. Sometimes that just isn't going to be convenient. I'll give you two options to help you get around this problem:

1) Make a huge portion of salad and keep it in the fridge for several days. For example, shred some lettuce, slice some green peppers, onions, radishes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, or whatever you have and throw them in a container you can seal. Pour on some ranch dressing mix, dry, from the package, and maybe some apple cider vinegar. This tastes great, the vinegar keeps it fresh, and you have it available for snacking any time.

2) Buy some carrots, or some other vegetables that are nearly ready to eat, and keep them on hand. Simply snack on a few carrots before your meal, perhaps while cooking it, to help you fill up a bit faster. You may want to switch around which vegetables you are filling up on, but you won't be able to use time and convenience as an excuse with this option ready and waiting.

There you go! Save money, lose weight, and improve your nutritional status. Don't say I've never done you any favors...

Frugal Guy said...
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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good ideas. Thanks. I was also told to be sure to eat enough calories or you can get cancer from being too cold. That is why they have to use radiation treatments to treat it. I was also told protein is the key to good health. Have a nice week. Annette

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Annette, thanks for the comment. Be sure you don't believe everything you are told... as some of it sounds a bit suspect.

John Stanley said...

We could all probably use more vegetables. I added a link to your blog on mine! (frugaldad.blogspot.com)

Jay said...

Two tips that really help us get the most of our produce: stick a paper towel into a bag of greens (whether a prepared-- not so frugal, I know-- or the container you prepare at home. This absorbs some of the moisture and we've found adds a little extra life to our greens. Also, those spendy (to us) plastic-y bags sold in nature food stores claiming to extend the life of produce really do actually do that! We've definitely recouped the amount we spent on them in food that we *didn't* toss, and they are reusable.

Anonymous said...

What about the baked potato thing with toppings??? Don't they have a lot of carbs?? Which do you think are best?? Thanks if possible. Annette

r0ck3t3r said...

Always looking for ways to cut corners. We always save by eating lots of rice. My wife is Asian. Took a long time to get used to but now I always think of a meal as rice and viand. :-p

(trashtotreasures.blogspot.com)

Anonymous said...

Corn on the cob is the best, beets, salad and other vegetables= complete satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

Cut up vegetables lose their nutritional value after 24 hours.
Robbie