Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover Part VI

Level 1: Bargain Belle

Ask Yourself:

The questions that we will be asking ourselves throughout the Grocery Budget Extreme Makeover are what I call the Hard Questions. They may not be fun to answer, but they’re necessary if we are to be honest with ourselves, improve our family’s health, and save money.

I hope you’re sitting down. Here’s the first question: Are our portions too large?
According to nutrition doctoral student Samara Joy Nielsen and Dr. Barry M. Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill schools of public health and medicine the answer is probably yes. In this press release Nielsen offers, "Clearly the problem is that Americans are eating too much food. The problem is the combination of a rapid increase in eating at fast-food establishments, an increase in selected foods such as cheeseburgers and soft drinks and the portion sizes we report in this new study."

If you’re still not sure, you can take this quiz.

Don’t get discouraged; changing the habit is not as hard as you think. Here are a few ideas.

1. Use antique or smaller plates. This is an easy adjustment to make and your family probably won’t even notice. At least mine didn’t.

2. Another solution is to put the “leftovers” into containers and into the refrigerator or freezer BEFORE serving.

3. Transfer your snacks to attractive dishes; don’t eat directly out of the package. Eating out of the package is a sure way for me to kill half a box of Thin Mints in one sitting.

Although we’re talking about portion sizes at home and how decreasing them can help your grocery budget go further, adjusting how much you eat while dining out is even easier.

1. Don’t supersize at fast food restaurants regardless of the savings,

2. Or split the large meal with your spouse, kids, or friend.

3. At eat-in establishments, request a lunch sized-portion or ask if you can order from the lunch menu.

4. As a last resort, ask that half of your food be packaged in to-go containers BEFORE your meal is served.

I hope you have a good weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing some sunshine. And before I go, I know it’s not really related to this post, but I have to give a shout out to everyone from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and UNC, where I did my post-bacc pre-med work and my husband did his Ph.D. Enjoy something at the Armadillo Grill for me!



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Formerly, I've worked in publishing and been a medical student. Currently, I'm a freelance writer and copy editor, and full-time mom with two exceptional daughters. LivingLaVidaMama focuses on intentional frugality and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that has dramatically improved my younger daughter's autistic-like symptoms. Contact me at MadForWriting at