The Great Calorie Crunch - Save Pounds and Lose A Stone
It’s shocking how quickly a few takeaways and coffee-and-cake dates with friends can add up. Both in money and extra numbers on the scales.
Even adding a bottle of wine for a midweek tipple can mean an extra £390 and 9½lbs over the course of a year!
So, if you’re watching the pennies and the lbs, we have compiled 23 ingenious hacks to help you put your finances back in the black, and your figure back on track . . .
1. Curry Favour With the Scales!
An average Indian takeaway meal with rice, naan and poppadoms contains approximately 1500 calories and costs approximately £10 per person.
Switching to this home cooked version instead which costs less than £2 per person is far kinder to your wallet and your waistline.
And you could cook more of the curry than you need to pop in the freezer as a home cooked ready meal for later in the week.
|Average Indian Takeaway Meal||£10.00||1,500 kcal|
|Home Cooked Indian Meal||£2||505 kcal|
|Saved per Week||£8||995 kcal|
|Saved Over 8 Weeks||£64*||
|Weight Loss Over 8 Weeks||2.3 pounds!*|
*Based on swapping 1 takeaway a week for a home cooked version.
2. Lose the Latte – Instantly!
Since coffee houses have sprung up on almost every high street, lattes have become one of the nations favourite hot drinks.
But at up to 289 cals and £3.10 per cup they make a high calorie, expensive alternative to a good, old fashioned cup of instant which, even with milk costs approximately 5p per cup and contains just 20 cals.
|Average Latte||£3.10||289 kcal|
Instant Coffee with Milk
|Saved per Day||£3.05||269 kcal|
|Saved per Week||£15.25||1,345 kcal|
|Saved Over 8 Weeks||£122*||
|Weight Loss Over 8 Weeks||3 pounds!*|
*Based on swapping 5 lattes per week for 5 cups of instant with milk instead.
3. Make a Souper Saving
According to the British Sandwich Association we buy approximately 1.8 billion sandwiches every year. The average sandwich costs £2 and contains approximately 400 calories.
However, a recent report by the National Consumer Council has found that many leading chains are selling sandwiches that contain more calories, salt and fat than a Big Mac with some, such as Marks & Spencers Club Sandwich containing well over 500 calories per pack.
Eaten every working day for a week, both the cost and the calories can mount up. Instead, why not make your own hot, healthy and heart warming vegetable broth such as this Broccoli Soup or this Parsnip and Apple Soup.
Eating veggie soup on a regular basis is a great way to reach your 5-a-day target and at only 138 calories per bowl and an average cost of just 50p per serving you’ll be better off all round!
|Average Shop Bought Sandwich||£2||400 kcal|
Bowl Homemade Soup
|Saved per Day||£1.50||262 kcal|
|Saved per Week||£7.50||1,310 kcal|
|Saved Over 8 Weeks||£60*||
|Weight Loss Over 8 Weeks||3 pounds!*|
*Based on swapping 5 shop bought sandwiches per week for 5 bowls homemade soup instead.
4. Ditch the Weekday Wine
A glass of wine or two at the end of the day may seem harmless enough but apart from the extra calories (approximately 140 Cals per glass) and the health dangers associated with regular drinking, alcohol causes blood sugars to plummet and your appetite to grow.
Not to mention dissolving your resolve not to snack in the evening while sipping your wine!
The financial cost of relying on a glass of wine to wind down can soon mount up too.
Even a relatively cheap wine consumed at home amounts to approximately £1.50 per glass.
A glass of wine bought in a bar will cost between £3 and £5.
|Average Glass Wine at Home||£1.50||140 kcal|
1 Glass of Wine per Midweek Night
|Saved per Day||£1.50||140 kcal|
|Saved per Week||£7.50||700 kcal|
|Saved Over 8 Weeks||£60.00*||
|Weight Loss Over 8 Weeks||Over 1½ pounds!*|
*Based on cutting back on 1 glass of wine per midweek night drunk at home.
5. Exercise Outdoors
Swap your usual lunchtime fitness class for a 45 minute run instead.
You’ll save at least £5 per workout, burn up to twice as many calories and get plenty of fresh air (maybe even a little sunshine!) into the bargain.
|45 Minute Aerobic Class||£5.00||291 kcal|
45 Minute Run
|Per Day||£5.00 saved||209 kcal
|Over 8 Weeks||£80.00 saved*||
3,344 kcal extra burned
|Weight Loss Over 8 Weeks||1 pound!*|
*Based on a 10 stone woman swapping a 45 minute aerobic class (approximately 291 calories burned per 45 minute) for a 45 min run at 6 mph (approximately 500 Cals) twice a week
6. Swap a Meal Out for a Girlie Night In
According to the Office of National Statisics, not only do we spend an average £14 per week dining out we also consume up to 50% more calories when eating in restaurants than at home - sometimes consuming more calories in one meal than we should have in an whole day!
This is partly due to the all those extra nibbles: the plates of appetizers, the baskets of warm bread with pots of butter and the pre-dinner drinks but also due to the fact that restaurants tend to use more oils and fats, sugar, and salt in their food to make it taste good.
To make matters worse, accurately estimating the calories that restaurant food contains is notoriously difficult to do. So difficult in fact that even trained dietitians taking part in a research project for New York University underestimated the calorie content of five restaurant meals by an average of 37% and the fat content by a whopping 49%.
Far better to save money not to mention the average 1500 calories a restaurant meal contains by inviting a few of your favourite pals to your place to focus on facials and foot massages by the fire rather than food!
|Average Restaurant Meal||£14.00||1,500 kcal|
1 Restaurant Meal per Month
|Saved per Month||£14.00||1,500 kcal|
|Saved Over 8 Weeks||£28.00*||
|Weight Loss Over 8 Weeks||Just under 1 pound!*|
*Based on swapping 1 restaurant meal out with the girls for a girlie night in once a month.
Total Savings over 8 Weeks
|£s Saved||Calories Saved|
|SWAP: Average Indian Takeaway Meal for Home Cooked Indian Meal||£64.00||7,960 kcal|
|SWAP: Average Latte for Instant Coffee with Milk||£122.00||10,760 cal|
|SWAP: Average Shop Bought Sandwich for Bowl Homemade Soup||£60.00||10,480 cal|
|CUT BACK: 1 Glass of Wine per Midweek Night||£60.00||5,600 cal|
|SWAP: 45 Minute Aerobic Class for 45 Minute Run||£80.00||3,344 kcal extra burned|
1 Restaurant Meal per Month
|Saved Over 8 Weeks||£414*||
|Weight Loss Over 8 Weeks||Over 12 pounds of pure body fat!*|
*1 pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories
How to Save on Your Food Shopping
There's also ways to save money on your food shopping with these easy hacks - trying these will help save you money, time and become the expert planner!
If you have room to store them, buy larger packets of food such as pasta, rice and cereals – it’s usually cheaper to buy in bulk.
Freeze Larger Quantites
Save pennies by buying larger quantities of meat and dividing it into suitable portions (for example, to serve one or two people) for freezing.
Alternatively, use all the meat to prepare a large pot of Bolognese sauce, curry or casserole, then freeze what you don’t eat in small portions.
You’ll have your own healthy ready-meals in the freezer for when you can’t be bothered to cook.
Save Money on Less Expensive Cuts
Look out for less expensive cuts of meat such as stewing steak rather than rump steak, or pork shoulder steaks rather than pork tenderloin.
Remove any visible fat and cook slowly such as in a stew or casserole.
If you buy standard mince (rather than extra-lean or steak mince), cook it without any oil and drain off any fat before using.
Bulk Out Meat
Cut back on meat and add beans, lentils and barley to your shopping trolley instead. These ingredients are inexpensive, low in calories and fat but packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals. Use them in dishes to replace some of the chicken or meat.
Whole chickens are more economical than chicken portions, so roast a chicken and use the meat for sandwiches, pasta dishes, soups and salads.
Fruit and Veg In Season
Buy fruit and veg when they’re in season. They’re usually cheaper and taste better than produce that’s been imported.
Avoid Pre-Packed Fruit and Veg
Avoid pre-prepared veg like ready-peeled potatoes, trimmed green beans, sliced mushrooms, bags of washed lettuce and ready-prepared stir-fry veg. They cost considerably more than the whole veg and may have lost certain vitamins due to all the washing and chopping.
Consider Frozen Fruit and Veg
Consider buying bags of frozen veg – there’s no waste and, because they are picked and frozen so quickly, they retain all their nutrients.
Ditch Frozen Chips
Buy fresh potatoes to make your own wedges brushed with just a little olive oil and cooked in the oven. They take the same amount of time to cook but will be lower in fat than chips.
Homemade Fruit Salad
Make your own fruit salad rather than buying tubs of ready-made fruit salad that cost a fortune.
Save pennies by avoiding fruit that’s been pre-prepared, too, such as pre-sliced melon, fresh mango pieces and peeled pineapple – instead, simply buy the whole fruit and chop it up yourself!
Less is Sometimes More
Buy mature varieties or reduced-fat cheese – it might be more expensive but you’ll need less of it to get the same cheesy taste.
Cook From Scratch
Go back to basics and start cooking your own meals from fresh ingredients.
You could try a bit of batch cooking so you have your very own, homemade ready meals in the freezer for during the week.
Buying only what you need, and know you're going to use, is a great way of reducing your grocery spend.
There are plenty of ways you can waste less food. The Love Food Hate Waste website has plenty of good ideas. Here are a few to get you thinking:
- Reduce your portion sizes – Love Food Hate Waste has a tool to help you calculate appropriate portion sizes. This will save you on your shopping and help with your weight loss!
- Plan ahead – the site encourages savvy shoppers to plan meals and shopping so that you know exactly what you will need for the weeks ahead and you won’t fall into the trap of buying too much.
- Stock up your cupboards – Store cupboard essentials will help you to avoid food waste by always having the necessities at home.
- Use your fridge and freezer – freeze leftovers or products that look set to reach their use-by-date before you use them!
- If you really can’t use your food waste, recycling is a great alternative to get rid of leftovers. If you’ve got the garden space try composting. In a few months time your old leftovers will become fertiliser to help you grow new veggies!
If you love your food and hate waste, then why not get onboard with the campaign and try your hand at recycling your leftovers? Get inventive and be confident with using those leftovers! You’ll soon see the savings – and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too!