Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Make the Most of Your Meals (Part 6)

Hi again! Hopefully you are still hanging in with me and finding some ways to reduce your grocery spending and/or food waste.

One of the things I've really been "chewing on" (in the mental sense) is eating less. One almost-too-obvious way to cut down your grocery spending is to eat less food. And let's be honest: there are very few Americans who struggle to achieve a minimum weight.

Perhaps it's the back-to-school season that brings this subject to the forefront, but in the past weeks, I've read half a dozen articles that reference the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast. I remember skipping breakfasts back in my junior high days, but I could never do that now. I love breakfast!

Have you ever heard this proverb?

Eat breakfast like a king,
Eat lunch like a queen, and
Eat dinner like a pauper.

(As an aside, I also read a reference to a study which found that people who had cake with breakfast lost more weight than those who had cake after dinner. With as much as I love a good coffee cake, shoo fly pie or funny cake*, that did my heart good!)

Anyway, weren't we talking about eating less?

I realize that my son has a better day when he has some protein with breakfast. He also needs crunchy food sometime during the day, and I can't say what that does, but I find myself feeling fuller (more full?) when I have to chew more. There is something satisfying about dense foods, be it granola, baby carrots, steak, oatmeal, etc. Those certainly fill you up more than a bag of chips, wouldn't you say?

My menu this week was as follows:

Monday: Skillet Chicken Fried Rice and green beans
Tuesday: Broiled Salmon with cranberry-almond salad
Wednesday: Ham and Broccoli Ring and side salad
Thursday: Dinner out with family using a Groupon deal
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Dinner with friends

I imagine you find the idea of leftovers on Friday to be a very tantalizing idea! Especially when a lot of families have pizza on Fridays.

Well, it may seem be exciting, but leftovers are a must if you are trying to save money and reduce food waste. Repurposing your food for a second round is possible, especially since some cookbooks are dedicated to a "cook once, serve twice" technique.

At our house, most recipes make a little more than we need for two adults, a preschooler and an infant just getting into solid foods. It's a natural choice to heat leftovers for lunches. We also usually have another noon or evening meal sometime during the week for a "leftover smorgasbord" where I pull out all the containers and we assemble our plates from the "buffet"!

Finally, if your freezer isn't as stuffed as mine, consider making a double batch of your next casserole, soup, or pasta dish and freezing it for a future meal. This really saves time.

Next week we conclude with my thoughts on couponing.

*I love that even wikipedia doesn't have funny cake. Maybe I'll write that in my spare time! This is a local treat that consists of a pie crust topped with chocolate syrup and a white cake-like batter. Some recipes call for the chocolate syrup on top, but it sinks as it bakes. Really no one outside the area thinks it's any good! Learn more crazy stuff here.

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