Saving Money on Food Away from Home

Did you know that the average family eats out 4-5 times a week?  For many of us, fast food and casual dining restaurants such as Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday are fast and convenient options to feed our families and treat ourselves.  However, if enjoyed too often, these restaurant meals could break our budgets and add extra inches to our waistlines.

Here are a few tips to help you save money and calories when eating away from home:
  • Make a budget. Decide how much money you will spend on food away from home each week or month.  Then stick to this budget!
  • At fast food restaurants, order healthy options from the dollar menu, such as salad with low-fat or fat-free dressing, grilled chicken, fruit and yogurt parfait or a baked potato.
  • Drink water instead of soda.
  • Eat family style.  Make the most of large portion sizes and share food with a friend or family member.
  • Order a salad!  Salads are often the lowest priced menu items and are great for you.
  • In a hurry?  Buy a rotisserie chicken and prepare your sides at home.
  • Do you have pesto, salsa or tapenade in your refrigerator?  If so, buy a can of tuna and make a quick and easy tuna salad at home.  See recipe below.
Which of these suggestions do you think you might try?  Do you have other suggestions?  Please share your ideas with us!

Quick and Easy Tuna Salad

1 can chunk light tuna in water (drained)
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pesto, salsa or tapenade
Salt and pepper, to taste

1.  In a small bowl, carefully mix the ingredients.  Serve on a bed of lettuce and enjoy!

Note:  For a chunkier tuna salad, do not over mix the tuna as it tends to break apart very easily.


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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall