Sunday, June 21, 2009

When the going get's tough..

... the tough tuck into puddings I couldn't help but link it, I loved the title. For those too lazy to click through, it's a look at why food spending doesn't tend to be affected as much during a recession.

Personally I think if you're not too fussy about food then you can eat healthily on a budget no problem. Dieting and spending money are very linked for me, if I'm on plan my groceries cost less because I'm not including a lot of prepared food that tends to be more expensive and not stay around for long because I can't stop eating. The cost of binge food adds up in ways other than on you hips! I loosely planning my lunches and dinners for the next few days so I could (horror of horrors) actually make a shopping list to follow. With a list and some idea of what I was actually making I have much less chance of filling my trolley with things that just look good, a habit that's bad for both my wallet and my waistline. I do tend to eat the same thing day in and day out during the week because my lunch is usually whatever I had for dinner the day before, but I don't mind that so it's not a big deal. My shopping list for today consisted of:

Chicken , Pork, Soft tofu, (I had no protein in the house!)
Bananas, Green peppers, Broccoli, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Onions,
Stir-fry sauces x2

I have some things at home already (a big bag of brown rice that should last me a while, juice, milk etc), but this should be me sorted 'til next weekend if I stay to plan. This cost me a total of 3185 yen (about $33). Given that everything on there was reasonably healthy and it puts me well within budget (I have just under 10,000 yen a week after bills and savings). If I count 150g of protein per meal (5.3oz, yes, I know that's a little more than a portion, but calorie-wise it works fine for me) then bought enough meat for 9 meals, and the tofu can be used for two others. I bought two different kinds of sauces to vary the taste a little, and I can use either the eggs or the oatmeal for breakfasts.

I'm lucky in that very fatty meat is prized much more highly in Japanese culture, so things like chicken tend to be quite cheap. The prices vary from day to day, but with BBQ season upon us my local supermarket had chicken for 69 yen per 100g. For those of you who aren't metric, there are 454g to the lb, so 1lb of chicken costs about 313 yen ($3.20). Chicken breast will run you a little higher, but not a lot (today it was 102yen/100g). Given that I'm going for frugality I decided to go for the cheaper stuff and spend a bit more time and effort removing parts I didn't want.

I also picked up a couple of containers to use as lunch boxes. It's no where near as cute as my bento box with it's little individual compartments, but it's microwave safe (I was never sure about my other one), and it seems like it will suit my need much better.

I'm going to go get my dinner ready and pack lunch for tomorrow.


Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

Well done!

As much as I love lists, they don't seem to work well for me with menu planning. I'm sure it's all mental, but I sure do resist trying to tell myself what to eat 3 days from now. :)

Wishing you iron will for the next week...

Anonymous said...

I love menu planning. For some reason standing in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner just sends me into stress out orbit.