A Slow Economy Might Speed Up Weight Gain

Losing weight is tough when you're on a tight budget. CafeMom CeliaLyon agrees.

Grocery costs have risen about 6 percent this year, and I'm tightening my financial belt. But I wish it would be easier to tighten my pant belt, too. Our waistlines suffer--six out of 10 of us have had to cut back on the quality or quantity of food that we buy, according to a recent study by Hormel Foods Corp. It's hard to lose weight when you don't have enough money for the right foods, CeilaLyon wrote in The CafeMom Newcomer's Club. So true.


An msnbc.com expert, Adam Drewnowski, professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, explains how the cheapest foods are packed with calories and low on nutrition.

When I stop to think about it, he's right. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner costs no more than $1.99 per box, but it's loaded with calories and scarce on vitamins and minerals. If I made it at home with low-fat cheese, whole wheat pasta and 2 percent milk, it would cost at least $8.

It will take some practice, but you can save money at the store without loading up on junk. CafeKim recently wrote about smart foods for tough economic times in Food & Party Buzz. Plus, here are some super-quick tips from SPARKPEOPLE, a diet, weight loss and nutrition website:

  1. Cut back on protein. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal. Chop chicken and beef into chunks to stretch it out and add lots of frozen and canned veggies.
  2. Eat more beans. They're cheap, tasty and diet friendly. Find recipes here.
  3. Buy canned soup. Soups are convenient, inexpensive and usually well-balanced with proteins, carbs and veggies.
  4. Opt for cheaper fresh fruits. Apples, carrots, onions and potatoes are inexpensive whole foods you can feel good about eating.
  5. One-pot dishes tend to be cheaper. Definitely check out the group Crock Pot Moms.
  6. Shop in bulk. It might be time to spring for a membership to a store like Costco or Sam's Club where you can make your dollars work harder.

I know my family has had to limit our stops at a certain pricey grocery store and shop more in bulk. What has your family done to lower your food bills?

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