How to dial in your diet, save money, and time

May 13, 2010


1) Only buy natural foods

This can easily be accomplished by staying around the perimeter of the grocery store.   All the fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats are located around the perimeter.  There are few food items that you should be purchasing from the middle of the store, which is where all the processed, unhealthy foods are located.  The only things I ever purchase from the middle isles are walnuts and canned vegetables.  The rest of my grocery cart comes from the perimeter.  If the unhealthy food never makes it into your cart in the first place, it makes it pretty easy to eat healthy at home.  After all, you have no other choice.

2) Keep your recipes simple

I used to purchase cookbooks with the crazy idea that I would be making all these delicious recipes.  Of course, each recipe in a cookbook has about 15 ingredients, which you also feel compelled to buy.  Unfortunately, once you use a small amount of most of these ingredients, the rest of it either sits on your shelf unused or gets thrown out.  To add to the frustration, the last thing you want to do after a long day’s work is prepare a complicated recipe that will take up the rest of your evening.  My dinner routine now consists of marinating two chicken thighs in barbeque sauce, honey, and garlic salt, wrapping it up in tin foil, and baking it in the oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  I then either steam up some frozen mixed vegetables or microwave some canned vegetables.  Dinner is done.  By keeping all your recipes simple, by which I mean limiting it to a couple of ingredients, you save money by eliminating extraneous products and save time by preparing food that can taste just as good will a lot less hassle.  This leads me up to Point #3.

3) Eat the same thing every day

This seems extremely boring, but let me explain.  If you’ve gone grocery shopping long enough, you probably have a good idea of the types of foods you actually finish consuming during the week and the foods that go bad and that you have to throw away.  Every item that goes bad and that has to get thrown away is money wasted.  If you’re shopping on the perimeter, you’re buying highly perishable items.  There’s no need to fill up the refrigerator just because.  At any given time, you will only see berries, grapes, apples, oranges, and eggs in my refrigerator.  In my freezer, I have a bunch of frozen chicken and vegetables.  Eating the same thing every day doesn’t mean that you have to limit the types of food you enjoy.  You can still purchase a variety of healthy foods, and you will probably notice that there is a certain range of food that you eat anyways.  For example, here is my typical day.


handful of walnuts
cup of raspberries/blueberries
one apple or orange
whey protein shake with a splash of chia seeds


bowl of salad
bowl of fruit
serving of meat w/ cooked vegetables


two marinated chicken thighs
side of mixed vegetables

I thought I would get sick of it, but I haven’t yet.  And I’ve been eating this Monday through Friday for months now.  This makes grocery shopping painless when I already know exactly what I’m going to buy.  It also makes me very aware of the types of food I consume.

4) Give yourself a cheat day

Don’t go overboard, but everyone needs to cheat once in awhile 🙂

3 Comments on “How to dial in your diet, save money, and time”

  1. Christopher Lee Says:


    45 minutes to cook chicken seems like overkill?

    Chicken thigh over chicken breast just for taste?


    • raymondtung Says:

      I just like dark meat over white meat. For some reason, every time I eat chicken breast, it comes out dry, which I hate. Dark meat tastes much better and comes out juicier. A friend recommended beef stir fry for her recipe. That’s also a good suggestion and easy to make. All you need are stir fry frozen vegetables and beef.


      • Christopher Lee Says:

        The best way I’ve found to cook chicken breast and not have it turn out super dry is to get a cast iron skillet hot, sear both sides for about 3 minutes each. Then I pop the chicken and the skillet into a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

        Take it out, let it rest a few minutes covered in tin foil, and voila.

        Works for me for dry rubs. I don’t think it would work for a saucy marinade, especially a sugar one. That might burn.

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