Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pay Less

How can you pay less for food? 

Most Americans are a little lazy and a little spoiled when it comes to buying food.  We value our free time too much sometimes.  And so we pay for convenience; we trade making good choices for getting the task of shopping done quickly.  To save money you have to slow down.

When you are trying to save money on food you need to do comparison shopping and that takes time.  Stores are now required to post the unit price and the price per ounce (or some other measure).  This is where you start.  For example, when choosing between two brands or two sizes of shredded wheat cereal you want to see what the price per ounce is.  After that you want to compare the nutrition labels.
What you want to know is what nutritional value are you paying for.  In the above example you are getting 6.3 grams of protein, 198 calories from 47.2 grams of carbs and 10 calories from 1.1 grams of fat in a half cup serving of Grape Nuts.  (So this is basically a high carb food that needs to be balanced out with some additional protein and a little bit more healthy fat.) If this box of Grape Nuts sold for 12 cents an ounce and a box of Kashi GoLean Crunch Protein and High Fiber cereal (see label below) sold for 12 cents an ounce, I might pick the Kashi cereal.  It has a little more fat, (but I was going to add some to my Grape Nuts breakfast anyway), and more protein and fiber.

With the Kashi cereal I am getting more nutrition for the money.  It is also a bulkier cereal, 1 cup = 53 grams versus 1/2 cup of Grape Nuts being 58 grams.  When you eat bulkier foods you tend to eat less.  I like Grape Nuts; but I have never measured out a 1/2 cup serving into the bottom of my bowl.  Like most people, I pour a half+ bowl of cereal and eat it.

If you take this same concept and apply it to all your food groups you will obtain the best food value for your dollar

Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories. Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories. Carbohydrates: 1 gram = 4 calories.

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