Anyone who has tried can tell you, losing weight and staying healthy can be a challenge. Yet, by making small changes in our eating habits, not only can we shed the excess pounds, but we can also save money in the process.
Here are some of the small ways you can slim your waistline and fatten your wallet:
Watch Out For Those Liquid Calories
Liquid nutrition in the form of sodas, fruit juice and shakes creates a clear and present danger to your health. Complex neurochemical pathways allow your digestive track to communicate with your brain. Unfortunately, it takes time for your stomach to signal that you’ve had enough to eat. Typically this takes about ten minutes.
Drinking your food causes you to over consume calories before your stomach has time to tell your brain that you’re full. As a result, you take in too many calories.
Cut down on your soda and fruit drinks, and watch the pounds melt away. Drinking water instead of a soda just once a day, will cut out 240 calories from your diet – nearly 7,200 calories a month. This is enough to shed more than two pounds each and every month! Substituting a soda for water just once a day could also save you $30 a month, or nearly $360 a year.
Chew Your Food
Chew your food. It sounds simple, but have you ever stopped to watch people eating in a cafeteria or restaurant? We gulp our food down. Based on the same principle as above, the faster we eat, the less time we give our stomachs to inform our brains that we’ve had enough. This causes us to eat more than we need to.
Taking your time to completely chew and enjoy your food solves the problem. This may mean you’ll have to stop eating on the run, in the car, or quickly between business meetings. Ironically, by relaxing and enjoying your food, you’ll eat less, save more money, and keep the weight off.
Switch to Smaller Plates
According to behavioral scientist and author of Mindless Eating, Dr. Brian Wansink, some of the cues that tell us when it’s time to stop eating are visual in nature.
Take a typical plate of food. As Americans we use the plate as a visual cue. When we finish eating everything on the plate we stop eating. Make the plate larger and we’ll eat more. Make the plate smaller and we’ll eat less.
The problem is that over the last decade our plate sizes have grown rapidly. Ten inch diameter dinner plates were once the norm, but now twelve inch plates are becoming increasingly common.
According to Wansink, by moving from a 12 inch plate to 10 inch plate, you’ll serve yourself 20-22% less food and still feel full when done!
Green Your Snacks
Snacking is a common, but often overlooked source of diet busting calories. Yet, we fall for the myth that eating healthy snacks is more expensive than eating chips, cookies, or candy.
This often isn’t the case.
Let’s take the price of a typical candy bar. In most stores, a Hershey’s candy bar can be purchased for .89 cents. Yet, for the same price you can purchase healthier alternatives for snacking.
At one of my favorite stores, Aldi Supermarkets, you can purchase a bag of baby carrots for .99 cents. The cost per serving of baby carrots is a mere 33 cents! This is much less than the 89 cents for the candy bar.
A dozen eggs at Aldi’s costs .99 cents. Boiled eggs make a great snack. In this case, two boiled eggs would set you back a measly .17 cents, nearly .72 cents less than the candy bar.
Air popped popcorn is a great crunchy snack without all of the butter, salt, and artificial ingredients of microwave popcorn. One serving will set you back a mere .8 cents, nearly 81 cents less than the price of the candy bar.
As you can see, eating healthy snacks can save you money and keep the weight off.
Savor Your First Few Bites
Researchers claim that the first few bites of any food are the most enjoyable. Your taste buds quickly dull to new edible sensations. Consequently, each bite after the first bite doesn’t provide quite the same delectable experience. Don’t deny your urge for that chocolate cake. It may lead to rebound binging later on. Instead, take a very small piece of your favorite cake and fully enjoy the first few bites. Your craving will be fulfilled without seriously packing on the calories.
Don’t Eat Straight From the Bag
According to Dr. Wansink, when you eat chips straight out of the bag or ice cream straight from the tub, you’re likely to consume much more. Save money and help shed the pounds by taking a portion of chips and placing them in small bowl or sandwich bag. Do the same for ice cream and other snacks. Take a small amount from the carton and put the rest back in the freezer. Your wallet will thank you for it.
Eat a Classic for Breakfast
Surprisingly, rushing away from home without breakfast can lead to weight gain. Researchers believe skipping breakfast leads to craving for high calorie foods later in the day. For an inexpensive AND healthy breakfast try an old time favorite like oatmeal. At 11.6 cents per serving, oatmeal is one of the cheapest breakfast foods around. Add some fruit or nuts and you have a delicious treat. But better yet, oatmeal is high in fiber and helps lower bad “LDL” cholesterol. In fact, it’s one of the first foods that doctors encourage for people with elevated cholesterol levels.
What Do You Do To Eat Healthy on a Budget?
Simple, small changes in eating habits can lead to a slimmer figure as well as more money in you pocket.
BMWK, What are some of the ways you eat healthy while saving money at the same time?