Food Budget vs. Calorie Budget

I often suffer from a battle in my head that I like to call Food Budget vs. Calorie Budget, but it is not the battle you think it is.

I have no problem spending money at the grocery store for premium healthy ingredients. My problems are the following:

1. When I want to order something healthy in a restaurant but the only healthy items are super expensive.

2. When I buy a food and then I don’t like it and can’t decide if to toss it or make myself eat it.

3. When a food is on the cusp of going bad.

My calories are valuable to me, and I don’t like to spend them for things that aren’t worth it. At the same time, my money is valuable to me, and I don’t like to waste it.

I decided to write about this when I realized that a lot of you are in my same position; trying to eat well and healthy, not using up calories for food that isn’t worth it, and saving money!

My cousin in law yesterday mentioned to me that she tried out a new pork recipe and it came out really bad, and she was NOT looking forward to having to eat the leftovers for dinner. Yet, she was going to eat them.

Here are my strategies for coping and balancing this issue:

1. I meal plan. This helps me to not LET food get to the point where it is almost going bad and might not be tasty.

2. When trying out new recipes, I do the “paint swatch test”. Just like I would test a wall with a paint color before painting a whole thing, I make small batches of new foods before making a huge one.

3. I only buy 1 box or package of a kind of item before buying or opening a new one. If I have 3 boxes open of an item, I will be more likely to let them all go stale or bad. But, if I buy only one at a time, then I won’t have to deal with that.

4. If I DO make the mistake of making a food I don’t like or buying one I don’t like, I try to transform it into something else. Ex. I told my cousin in law to chop up the leftover pork and add it to some pasta. If that still doesn’t work, I toss it. I am not going to make myself eat something I don’t enjoy!

5. At restaurants, I try to find a balance. I don’t go out to eat that much, and when I do, I want to enjoy the meal I pick! So I usually splurge and go for exactly what I want. Life is too short! Also, I am no longer even slightly embarrassed to ask for food prepared differently. It is my body after all.

6. Sometimes, I just choose to eat less. If I need to eat a teeny bit less in order to be able to buy the BEST strawberries, or the most natural piece of chicken, then I do! It is worth it, and calorically speaking always evens out.

7. I give questionable food a shot, but I bring a backup just in case! This morning I brought 2 Kashi waffles to work with me to have with PB, Barney Butter (yum!), and a banana. The waffles have been hanging in my freezer for about 2 months with the package slightly open so I thought they might be icky. But luckily, they were perfect. Just in case they weren’t, I brought some oatmeal in my lunchbag!


How do you manage your food budget vs. your calorie budget?


14 responses to “Food Budget vs. Calorie Budget

  1. It is tough sometimes to balance the two. I am always so tempted to go to Whole Foods but I know I would end up spending so much money! Now I buy lower priced healthy foods such as oatmeal, veggies, and raw chicken and fish and make all types of meals. If I am out to dinner, I try to decide if the portion is big enough to split it. It can save a lot of money and calories in the end.

  2. great post, sabrina. I guess one of the top ways that we manage the food vs. calorie budget is by eating in more . we eat out rarely, when we DO eat out we eat food we LOVE ,even if it is expensive, and the rest of the time we cook at home with quality ingredients that are still far less than eating out. especially with vegan food in syracuse, new york, you can make better food at home than you can get in a restaurant.

    i should take a cue from you on the paintswatch test. i just feed the bad stuff to my husband, who is like an amiable little goat who will eat anything and be delighted about it (“but you made these horrible beans for ME!”). it’s kind of adorable actually.

  3. love the post.
    especially your point about not being embarrassed to ask for what you want when youre out! that it’s your body afterall.

    so obvious and yet so difficult to do as well.

  4. Love your ways of dealing with the problem! Am with you on trying small amounts at a time. I also ask around to see if other people would be interested in trying the dish before I make it; that way if I don’t like it I can pawn it off on someone else hehe.

  5. Great post! It is all about balance – I’m in the two bite club. That means, if after two bites I decided I really can’t stand what I’m eating I’ll either try to turn it into something else or I’ll just get something new.

    By the way, glad you like the Barney butter ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. wonderful post topic! For some reason fruits and veggies seem to come to our apartment to die, they are rotten so quickly that it’s been difficult to plan/buy ahead this year.

  7. wonderful post topic! For some reason fruits and veggies seem to come to our apartment to die, they are rotten so quickly that itโ€™s been difficult to plan/buy ahead this year.

  8. whoops, not sure why the posted twice ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Excellent tips!!

    Just posted this on your previous post, but in case you don’t see it, here it is again:

    **Just as a heads up: I will not be able to comment on blogs as often now, during this semester, due to work overload (I’m stressed already) – PLEASE know that I’m still loyally reading, but just won’t have time to comment. I hope you understand!!

  10. I’m big on frozen veggies. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and I cook beans in the crockpot and then store then in the fridge for healthy meals all week long!

  11. Interesting points. I guess I never really thought about it, but I hate wasting food and therefore, will eat things even if I don’t love them so they are not wasted. I will have to think of your tips next time I do this!

  12. I think this is a great post on a topic many people struggle with. I would like to speak about this on my blog too , if you don’t mind. I’ll cite my source!! please let me know!

  13. good post. i need to get better at making sur ei get what i want when i’m out. when it comes to me wasting food, i’ll do it if i absolutely hate it, but if it’s just a matter of “i wouldn’t make it again” i eat it.

  14. Pingback: Fresh Whipped Cream « RhodeyGirl Tests

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