budget talk

Portion Control-One Way To Be Budget Smart

A couple of things got me thinking about one easy way to make your food dollar stretch even further, eating less. I don’t mean starving yourself to save money, but simply cutting back on the portion sizes. There’s been lots of media coverage about this topic. Most of us eat more calories than we actually need, and hence, pack on the pounds. And restaurants serve us portion sizes that could easily feed two people.
The two things that got me thinking about this topic were, one, I was sent this very interesting article ‘Lose Weight and Eat Well on $6 a Day’. And the second thing was that last weekend we went out for a bike ride and decided to stop at a local restaurant for lunch. It was a casual eat in or take out venue that serves stir frys, rice bowls etc. All very healthful stuff, but the portion sizes were enormous. I ordered the teriyaki bowl and was already full half way through the meal.
So here’s something to try. For a week, cut down on the portion sizes you serve. You might be hungry at first because your body and yes, your eyes and brain have to get used to seeing less food on your plate. I’m taking a guess that after a month of this new way of eating that food will actually go further and you might lose a pound or two ready for swimsuit season.
If you’re eating out, plan to share one meal with your dinner guest. Or make a conscious decision to eat only half the food in the restaurant and to take away the other half for another meal.
And another trick is to eat more slowly. A couple of years ago I had some dental work done which forced me to eat at a slower pace. One thing I quickly discovered was I actually ate less and hence dropped a few pounds.
If you’re not sure what the ideal portion size is, here’s one of my favorite food related sites that explains it really well, www.mealsmatter.org/eatingforhealth/topics/article.aspx?articleID=52
And here’s the article I was sent. It was written by Michael Ozner, MD, who is a nationally known cardiologist and author of The Miami Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease. You can visit his Web site at www.cardiacoz.com.
While some of the recipe suggestions are tried in with his book, it will give you some idea of just how well you can eat for just $6 a day. And if you don’t have the book you could try substituting your own recipes. I like the idea that he focuses on lots of fresh produce and other low cost items, like rice pudding and baked apples that can be turned into a tasty meal.

Lose Weight and Eat Well on $6 a Day
By Michael Ozner, MD

Government figures show that we’re in the midst of the worst case of food inflation since the 1990s. During these tough economic times, it’s possible to eat delicious home-cooked meals that not only save you a bundle of money, but help you live longer and lose up to 8 pounds a week! It costs a lot less to eat three meals a day at home than to dine out–even at cheap, fast-food restaurants. What’s more, these scrumptious meals are satisfying, help you trim down without trying, and have been shown to prevent a host of illnesses and diseases. What’s not to love?

Here are some daily menu ideas from The Miami Mediterranean Diet, along with an approximate per-serving cost, to show how you can feed yourself all day long for less than one trip to a typical fast-food joint.

4 Breakfast Ideas:
Oatmeal with raisins and almonds, $.25/serving
Wheat toast with chunky peanut butter and honey, $.25/serving
Cheesy Apple Raisin Cinnamon Omelet (p. 123), $.75/serving
Broccoli and Cheese Frittata (p. 128), $.80/serving
Serve any of the above with one fresh fruit (e.g., orange, apple, banana, pear), $.50/each

4 Sample Lunch Ideas:
Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Soup (p. 91), $1.25/serving
Pizza Margherita (p. 109), $1.00/serving
Veggie Wrap (p. 215), $1.10/serving
Smoked Fish and Roasted Pepper Sandwich (p. 221), $1.00/serving
Serve any of the above with a vegetable salad or fruit salad, $.75/serving

4 Sample Dinner Entrees:
Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce (p. 175), $2.25/serving
Shrimp in Spicy Black Bean Sauce (p. 178), $2.50/serving
Pasta with Red Clam Sauce (p. 170), $2.40/serving
Florentine Roasted Pork (p. 174), $2.50/serving

4 Sample Dinner Side Dishes:
Greek Rice (p. 185), $1.35/serving
Broccoli with Fresh Garlic (p. 188), $1.25/serving
Sautéed Vegetables with Fresh Thyme (p. 199), $1.20/serving
Spicy Couscous (p. 198), $.90/serving

4 Sample Desserts
Yogurt Nut Cake (p. 236), $.75/serving
Sweet Mango Mousse (p. 237), $1.35/serving
Sweet Italian Rice Pudding (p. 240), $.85/serving
Crème de Banana Baked Apples (p. 241), $1.00/serving

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