About 3 years ago, spouse and I overhauled the way we eat. Besides losing a combined total of about 90 lbs., our expenditures for food dropped too.
We eat three meals each day and have a treat of nut bread, cake, etc. at about 8 P.M. No snacks and we didn't realize how much we spent on them until we stopped buying them. A pitcher of homebrewed iced tea has taken up residence in the fridge instead of sodas. If we're having pork chops, I make two of them - no more "one for the pot" so fewer leftovers.
We've experimented with new ways to make beans and grains and use cheaper cuts of meat. These beans and vegetables were braised low and slow with a meaty $1.29/lb. fresh pork hock.
1/4 lb each of grilled chicken hearts and stretched out shrimp = one 2011 version of surf and turf.
Old recipe books have directions for making croquettes, stratas, crepes and timbales - all interesting ways to stretch the food supply other than casseroles.
Salad bar profits are based on the idea that the consumer will add relatively high-weight items like tomatoes, dressing, and broccoli to their container. Buying 40 or 50 cents worth of lightweight baby spinach leaves to add to a
pot of homemade soup is more cost effctive for me than buying an entire bag of them.
With food prices ascending as quickly as they have been, if you want to maintain the same diet you've been used to eating for years, you'll have to pay more. But if you're willing want to try new menus, foods and cooking techniques, it's not that difficult to spend less.