The dollar isn't what it once was, and this is most evident at the grocery store.
Over the past year, inflation has significantly raised the price of food around the world. Fruits and vegetables climbed by just around 8% in the US during the same time period, compared to a roughly 15% growth in meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.
But it doesn't imply you should stop putting healthy options in your cart just because the prices in the store aisles are expensive. For instance, you can save a cent (or a dollar) without compromising your health and wellbeing by shopping in bulk or buying produce that is in season.
1. PLAN AHEAD
An estimated 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the US is wasted. An typical household spends around $5,000 a year on groceries, which translates to almost $2,000 going straight to the trash.
Have a plan before you visit the grocery shop. If you go grocery shopping once a week, plan your meals and snacks for the coming week and gather the items.
Don't stray! Make sure fruits, veggies, proteins, and whole grains are at the top of your shopping list each time. Fill the rest of your list with nice-to-have products after you've gotten the necessities since everyone occasionally deserves a chocolate treat.
2. MEAL PREP IS ESSENTIAL
Making your meals ahead of time for the week will prevent food from going bad in the fridge or pantry (then get thrown out). Money saved by avoiding food waste.
Put ingredients for smoothies in a freezer-safe container so they are prepared to blend (looking at you, bananas and berries). For simple eating, sandwiches, wraps, and burritos can be frozen and thawed. Additionally, it is time- and money-efficient to prepare a whole grain at the beginning of the week and add it to your salads, soups, or grain bowls.
3. USE COUPONS AND REWARD PROGRAMS
You are a valued customer of grocery stores. So much so that companies offer memberships and loyalty programs that offer savings and discounts on items you already purchase to get you to return. Ensure that you have registered for them.
A tried-and-true advice is to check your grocery store's weekly flier for deals each week. To ensure that excess inventory is purchased, in-season vegetables and meals with holiday themes are frequently on sale.
Desire to keep everything digital? There are many apps available that might help you save money and earn rewards at the grocery shop.
4. CHOOSE GENERIC
The nutritional content and ingredients of store brands are frequently identical to those of their brand-name counterparts. Most importantly, you can save money at the register.
At the time of writing, a generic can of garbanzo beans in suburban Chicago costs 1/4 of what a brand-name can (without tax). Going generic in this situation allows you to purchase twice as much and still have extra cash.
Try substituting branded oils, beans, pastas, and sauces. Most likely, you won't see a difference!
5. DON’T STRESS ABOUT ONLY BUYING ORGANIC
Consider your diet more broadly when your budget is a top priority. Do you consume enough protein, fruits, and vegetables daily? It is healthier for you to say "yes" to this question than to say "no," even if the produce and meats are raised conventionally.
When switching to traditional food, make sure to wash and scrub the produce thoroughly under running water to remove any possible pesticide residue. You might also want to consider trimming the outer leaves off of leafy vegetables to reduce pollutants.
6. FIND LOWER PRICES IN THE FREEZER SECTION
For product that is out of season, frozen fruits and vegetables frequently have lower prices (especially helpful during the winter months).
Frozen produce can retain its nutritious value for a longer period of time since it is selected and frozen at the height of ripeness. Additionally, it won't become rotten and forgotten.
Additionally, something about frozen fruits in a smoothie, yogurt, or cobbler just tastes different, but I'm not sure what it is.
7. FOR ESSENTIAL OMEGA-3, USE TUNA
Getting enough of the fatty acid helps keep your arteries clear and may lower blood pressure and your risk of dementia. Omega-3 fatty acids have many advantages.
The best and most direct source of omega-3s is fish, and cans of tuna are an inexpensive way to get this vital fatty acid in your diet. Additionally, because canned tuna has a lengthy shelf life, it can be used on days when meal prep is not an option.
8. CHOOSE COST-EFFICIENT PROTEINS
Protein may be added to your diet quite cheaply by eating meat and poultry. However, because of the rising prices of these commodities globally, they are no longer as simple to explain when doing a weekly grocery order.
Try including some bean and lentil meals to the mix to make sure you're still getting enough protein in your diet. Additional excellent sources include milk, yogurt, and peanut butter (and are an easy-add to any protein-packed smoothie).
9. SPICE THINGS UP WITH STAPLES
While new recipes may call for unusual spices and ingredients, in an effort to reduce costs, focus on the basic seasonings.
On chicken and fish, a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika goes a long way. In addition to enhancing homemade curries, garlic and ginger powders are excellent in chilis and stews. Lemons and limes should also not be overlooked; these colorful fruits are inexpensive and provide the ideal garnish for salads, meats, poultry, fish, and other dishes.
10. EMBRACE LEFTOVERS
You might have leftovers even if you carefully prepare your meals. But keep those fragments! You can use those leftovers, like a few different kinds of vegetables here and a piece of protein there, for another dinner.
In the end, bones from meat and vegetable ends and skins can be frozen and turned into soup. At the conclusion of the meal, any extra grains, proteins, or veggies on your plate can be used to make a grain bowl, stir fry, or sandwich.