Have you had sticker shock at the grocery store recently? The cost of food in the US is going up and there is no real relief in sight. Food prices rose by .4% in February which is the biggest increase since September of 2011. Staple foods like milk, meat, and produce are the hardest hit, making cheaper processed foods more enticing. But by following some of our tips, you CAN eat healthfully on a budget.
1. Plan your shopping and meals
You can save money by planning your weekly menu ahead of time. Make a grocery list and buy only what you need. This will give you more room in your budget for making good food choices. Buy in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables are not only tastier; they are cheaper during the season during which they are picked. Your community farmer’s market is a great place for inexpensive produce and you get the added bonus of helping support local farmers.
2. Buy canned and frozen
Frozen fruits and vegetables are often just as healthy and much more reasonably priced. Make sure that it is 100% fruit or vegetables with nothing extra added. You can also buy frozen bulk meat and poultry products.
3. Check out the sales flyers
Often grocery stores will have sales that will include meat and produce products. I keep an eye out for buy one get one free meat sales and stock up.
4. Be creative with your dishes
Prepare foods that are more costly in ways that you can maximize your value. A big pot of stew or soup can cover several meals (especially if partly frozen). And always use those leftovers!
5. Eat at home
Your grocery bill may be higher, but the cost of food is rising for everyone including restaurants and they will pass that cost on to the consumer.
6. Do it yourself
Frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables, and instant meals can be more expensive and less healthy. Take the time to prepare foods yourself and you will save money.
7. Find your green thumb
Planting your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is fun and can save you money. Cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes are good ones to start with.