Many food programs on television are strictly for entertainment. Are you running out and buying truffles or caviar? Not likely. Most of us struggle to keep our grocery bills within some sort of budget. That’s not easy. We health professionals are constantly harping on eating more fruits and vegetables. With the price of produce today, bananas may be all you can afford. Last week at the market I paid $0.89 per pound. But apples were upwards of $1.99 per pound. Bulk carrots are priced reasonably but it can be a stretch to buy green beans.
So, I’ve got some ideas for you that will hopefully help you stretch your food dollars.
1. Write out a grocery list. I know as well as you that when I go to the market without a list, a lot of stuff ends up in the cart that I didn’t plan for. That’s not to say that I don’t mind occasionally browsing the aisles to find some interesting new products. But it’s that that gets us into trouble.
2. Go grocery shopping on a full stomach. Everything in the store looks appealing on an empty stomach. That’s when you’ll see a lot of snack foods ending up the cart or processed foods that you figure you can quickly heat up when you get home. And what about all those samples in the store? The hungrier you are, the more likely you are to try them. I’m curious. How many times have you tried an in-store sample because you really were considering buying it?
3. Cut out coupons. Coupons are great only if you use them for food you were going to buy anyway. If so, shape your week’s menus around the coupons to save some extra bucks.
4. Don’t forget frozen vegetables. In most cases, frozen vegetables are less expensive than fresh (unless there is a promotion being run by your market). Frozen vegetables are every bit as healthy as fresh, sometimes even fresher because they are flash-frozen right when they’re picked. Frozen vegetables also make cooking a meal quicker since you don’t have to prep them first.
5. Shop at farmers’ markets. Shopping at farmers’ markets just make a lot of sense. You’re getting much fresher produce, often at much lower prices than you’d get at the supermarket. You’re also helping out your local farmer and economy.
6. Cook filling meals. A filling meal often consists of rice and beans. Beans are full of fiber, which helps fill you up and stay fuller longer. Cooking dried beans is even cheaper than buying canned beans. Just leave yourself the prep time to soak the beans, throw off their water, and then cook. Try a pressure cooker for really quick cooking of beans.
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