Using food to pay off debt : Part Three
We're going to talk about how to look at your protein consumption/spending as a way of shaving that grocery bill so you can pay off your debt.
A couple of weeks ago, I dropped $216 on proteins for the month. Why? Because every time I go to the supermarket, I end up spending an extra $20+ on CRAP that I didn't need. So the less I can go to the supermarket, the less likely I am to give in to temptation. Not only that, I found that I was buying proteins weekly, eating it all and then doing an emergency shop for an easy protein at lunchtimes, this was costing so much!
By buying all your proteins for month, you are then encouraged to get your fruit and veg at local sellers, who will probably have it fresher and in some cases, cheaper.
Ok, so my $216 got me 20kg of proteins, and by my dietary needs, this amounted to around 118 portions of protein, for a 30 day month, that is approximately 4 portions of protein a day. Given that I really only need 3 portions a day, this means that I have "emergency" proteins available in case I have a friend around for dinner, OR it means I have an extra 10 days worth of protein, so next month, I will be able to spend LESS on protein.
In case you're scratching your head, when I say proteins, I am talking about beef, lamb, fish, chicken, other seafood, beans, organ meats.
Yup, organ meats. If you are on a budget, then you are a FOOL if you are not eating organ meats. Not only are these so good for us, they are the cheapest cuts of meat you can buy. "Oh but how do I cook it?" I hear you say. If you are reading this blog, then I guess you have the internet - I suggest you ask Mr Web-o-sphere how to cook organ meats. You don't need to shove a slab of Tongue down on the plate, you can mince it, slow cook it, chop it up, stirfry it, turn it into patties - whatever you like.
Here's my chicken liver pate recipe for you. Scroll through the rest of the recipes, there is another variation of it.
Visit your local farmers market, if you still want to eat good quality proteins at a fraction of the cost. In the supermarket a dozen free range organic eggs costs me $11...at the Farmers market, it costs $7. Crazy.
What day is specials day at your Grocery Store? Don't know? I suggest you find out, if you want cheaper proteins then go in on the day that they put it on special, and then freeze it. Don't know how to find out? Ask someone who works there. Here, I'll even tell you what to say: "Excuse me, could you please tell me which day/s you restock [insert protein name here] and which days you mark down old stock?"
Eat your fat. We are scared of fat, but really, saturated fat on grass fed animals is good for us, and you'll get cheaper cuts of meat. Organic chicken legs are on my menu for a while, the expensive breasts can stay on the shelf. Fat will also keep you more satiated, as you will be wanting to reduce your portions a little to help with budget. The fat, protein and veg will keep you full. BTW, did you hear me - yes I did say organic. You can still eat good quality food on a budget. Budget + Grass fed, organic = farmers markets + eat your fat.
Tinned beans. (Paleos shut your ears), we often use "soup mix" with bacon hocks to bulk up a soup, but I just bulked mine up with vegetables and Canellini beans, and it tastes the same!! Shock horror. Bacon hocks have MSG in them BTW, just like soup mixes, that's why the dish tasted the same without having to add the soup mix. Now the dish is higher in protein and lower in carbs, so again, you'll stay a lot more satiated on a smaller portion, and if I haven't hammered the point home enough - eat your fats! You can also use tinned beans to bulk up mince dishes or other casseroles.
Finally, lets talk about portions. You are not going to lose muscle mass if you eat 20g less protein than what your food plan or the internet tells you. There are quite a few things that determine the catabolism of muscle and eating a little less protein is NOT one of them.
Ok, so that's part 3 done and dusted.
- Buy in bulk, reduce the need for trips to the grocery store, reduce the temptation.
- Use less expensive cuts of meat, you can still eat organic and grassfed on a budget, so long as you also look at organ meats and higher fat meats. If you are eating paleo, I would EXPECT you to be doing this!
- Use beans to bulk up a dish
- Don't be a portion slave - add fat, fibre (veg) to your meals to prevent hunger
- Buy on special, find out when specials day is.