Monday, December 7, 2009

Portion Control

by Nicole Comeaux, owner of Grocery Getters, LLC

Have you had a family gathering lately where there was just too much food leftover? There are leftovers, and then there is waste. In line with our Christmas Feast Challenge I would like to challenge you to keep things within a manageable level. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Thanksgiving Day we hosted the feast in our home and everyone brought a dish. My sister and her fiancé brought the potato salad. Well, I think they thought they were feeding a small army! We sent everyone home with plates of food and everyone had enough potato salad I assure you and we were still left with a truck- load. Her defense when I asked why she brought so much was that she wanted to make sure there was enough. Well, mission accomplished!

If you are participating in the Christmas Feast Challenge I highly encourage you to consider portion control. Let’s take the potato salad example again. If you were to have a baked potato with a steak you would only have ONE, right? Well, if you are preparing potato salad know that the average person will not put more than ½ cup in their plate especially if there are several dishes there for them to enjoy. In a half-cup of potato salad you have only about a half a potato, less than you would have with a steak! So, say you are having 10 people over, how many potatoes do you need? Yes, five average size potatoes are all you need. Now, I know you think I’m crazy but if you try it you will be amazed. If you want leftovers for family and friends to take home and so that you don’t have to cook again for dinner, then of course, cook more. But there is no reason to go overboard. Also, keep the extra aside and don’t factor that into the feast in your cost per person.

Now let’s get into that cost per person. Keeping with our potato salad example let’s say we are having 10 people over and we need 5 average size potatoes. That weighs about 2.5 lbs. Obviously, that’s half of a 5lb bag of potatoes. Let’s say you bought a 5lb bag of potatoes for $3.00. (I know you could find a better deal just work with me here) Half of that is $1.50. Now in my house we like a plain potato salad (in the words of my daughter, “no crunchies!”). So, to my 5 potatoes I will add 4 boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and a touch of mustard. My eggs were 1.25 for the dozen and I used 1/3 so that’s $0.31. The mayonnaise and mustard are minute but must be calculated so I’ll figure $0.25 for the mayonnaise and $0.10 for the mustard. My total cost for the bowl of potato salad is $2.15 and I divide that among 10 people for a total of $0.22 per person. Phew! A little work but worth every penny!

I know you can do this. Just think how much your family will benefit from this activity when you are all done. I know you’re out there finding deals and planning your feasts, I hope you are having fun. Remember what this season is about and simply enjoy the experience.

Happy saving!

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