Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Losing Weight & Saving Money

How do we lose weight in this economy when everyone is watching their purses just a little closer?

I'm a big proponent of shopping at Costco or Sam's club for our weekly produce, meat & dairy but be careful! Those New York strip steaks are awesome but everything at the warehouse markets are HUGE. Because everything is so large in those markets you don't realize exactly how big the steaks really are until you get home. For two people you really don't need more than one steak to split per meal. I typically buy a pack of NY strip steaks, come home and freeze them with seasoning. When it's time to grill I pull out one for the hubby & I to split. They are about 14 ounces each and 6-7 ounces of steak after cooking is more than enough to fill us up.

For about $30 I get 5 thick steaks that last us for a month. About once a week (or whenever we feel like going out for a good steak) I pull one out to grill. Serve with fingerling potatoes (often found at the warehouse markets for $6.99 for 5 pounds - at $1.40 a pound it's a steal) and mushrooms & green beans ($4.99 for 3 pounds of fresh snap beans - freeze them in portion sizes appropriate for meals).

I learned this trick from my mother in-law. Always have a steak in the freezer for those days when you're on your last dime for the budget and payday is a few days away. You can't feel bad about yourself when you're eating steak! And in moderation it's a very healthy meal. Just cut off the fat and voila!

Another trick I've learned by shopping at Costco is an idea for a healthy breakfast. The hubby & I have spent the last few years eating those God awful oatmeal bars for breakfast. The problem is, they don't fill you up & they're full of packaged sugar/flour/junk. Sure they're pretty good for you but after 3 years of eating them - it gets pretty durn old. One week while at Costco picking up 3 pounds of bananas for $1.19 (bargain!) and a $2.00 gallon of skim milk, I saw the strawberries. Yummy & ripe! I was hit with an idea. Why not try making smoothie's for breakfast? It's worth a shot right?

The following is a concoction I have stolen from a friend (thanks A!) using blueberries, strawberries, a banana and some vanilla protein powder. The result is a VERY yummy & filling smoothie with 273 calories, 2 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs & 27 protein. We've been eating these every day for the past few weeks and I actually look forward to breakfast. They're so filling that they carry you well into lunch time. Taking the time to prep for these is key but the little extra time is SO worth it! You can use fresh berries or freeze the strawberries yourself, depending on the consistency you desire.

Per smoothie (double for two):

1/3 cup oj
1 cup de-stemmed fresh strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (3 pounds for $5.99! lasts for weeks!)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 banana
About 1/2 cup of water - depending on the consistency you desire

Blend for 20 seconds. Serve in 20 oz portable bottle.

It's a great healthy way to start your day! This smoothie also equals about 4 servings of fruits! Make them for yourself and your Significant Other one morning & see how fresh food can really make a difference in your overall health.