I could have put this all in one post, but the first one was already (excessively) long. I just like to be thorough, y'all. Anyway.
I've established that most workdays I spend less than seven dollars on breakfast, snacks, and dinner. You'll have to take my word for it that my lunches generally average $4 - I don't want to do any more math, and neither do you.
What this means is that for $11 a day - a number easily reduced by those with the will or the need to - I control 85% of my health and fitness, because 85% of my weight management and general health comes from what I eat and drink.
And there's an important clue there both to calorie control and to keeping things cheap: the biggest source of sugar calories consumed by most Americans is soft drinks, and I don't drink them. I won't say I never drink them, because once in a blue moon I'll be in a situation where I can't get anything else. But they are not in my grocery cart.
I don't buy bottled water, either. American tap water is extremely safe, and there is absolutely no evidence that bottled water is safer. Distilled (at home) water is the cleanest you can drink, but home distillers are not cheap and not all that energy-efficient, and the advantages of drinking distilled water have not been established to my satisfaction. So, tap water it is, and it is 80% of what I drink.
You have no idea how much money you can save by cutting out bottled/canned beverages until you actually do it. The only bottled beverage that most people should be buying is milk.
A good proportion of the money people spend at the grocery store is not on food. Our supermarkets carry toiletries and other non-edibles that we all need. They carry pet foods, cat litter, etc. People buy office supplies and liquor, gossip magazines and cigarettes, balloons and candy at the grocery store.
People really need to separate what they spend on actual food from all this other stuff when they are trying to get a handle on how much good nutrition costs.
I add a couple of dollars to my dinner cost a couple nights a week when I have a glass of wine. I don't count that as a food cost. It's a luxury. When it comes right down to it I can live without it, and when my budget or pants are a little tight, I do.
People who routinely have a cocktail or a can of beer after work don't think of that as food. They should: it's calorie-heavy; but on some level we know there is no necessary nutrition there and we don't need to drink it.
Food is what we need to survive.
So, if you are really in a quandary about cutting your food costs, first do a couple of trips to the grocery store in which you don't buy anything but actual food. Then price out your meals the way I just did. If you need to cut costs, find less-expensive ways to prepare foods you know you (and your family) will eat, ways that don't involve adding pasta.
Above all ... don't buy stuff that isn't food. Seriously: if you need to get a better handle on your overall budget, simply DO NOT BUY anything at the grocery store that isn't food, for about a month. Don't buy non-food crap like sodas or bottled teas. Don't buy fruit juices (hideously expensive and loaded with sugar), or potato chips, or cookies. That's not what you need to live. Learn to look at these things as the luxuries they are - not as food.
If you need office supplies, go to the office supply store. If you need pet supplies, go to the pet supply store. Keep it separate, so you can really honestly tell how much you spend on food. In fact, I recommend inventorying your consumable supplies (like toilet paper, toothpaste, tampons, etc), getting a month's supply all at once, and then don't buy anything but food for a month.
Pay your bills, obviously. But aside from that: nothing but food. See where you are in a month. I'll bet you have money left over. Price out your meals. See where the easy cuts are. Make the cuts. And take what you save and invest it in better food.
Better nutrition and better calorie control are crucial to good overall lifetime health. You can make it happen just by paying attention.