1. Take Advantage of Coupons and Specials
Check out your local newspaper or grocery store mailings to find out which stores are having sales and when. Explore company websites and apps for coupons. Using store coupons can be a great way to save money! Also, look for in-store deals like "manager's specials" or day-old baked goods that are close to their expiration date.
2. Buy in bulk
Foods tend to be quite a bit cheaper when bought in bulk. You can increase savings by buying bulk items when they are on sale. Non-perishable foods like grains, pastas, nuts and seeds, canned goods and spices can all be bought in bulk and kept in your pantry for an extended period of time. Try freezing grains, flours, and nuts and seeds to make them last even longer. You can also buy larger quantities of meat when it is on sale to keep in your freezer. Fruits, vegetables and other frozen items can also be bought in bulk and kept in your freezer.
3. Pick foods that are in season
Fruits and vegetables change price throughout the year according to seasonality. Fruits and vegetables are typically much cheaper when they are in season. Melons, peaches, tomatoes and berries tend to be cheaper during the summer months whereas squash and potatoes are usually cheaper in the fall and winter months. Your food dollars will stretch farther when you buy fruits and vegetables in season. In addition to being cheaper, fresh fruits and vegetables are usually more flavorful when they are in season.
4. Use store loyalty cards and choose store brand items
Most major grocery stores have loyalty cards that give the user special offers and discounts in addition to other coupons. Along with signing up for grocery store loyal programs, consider choosing store-brand food items instead of name-brand food items. Most grocery stores sell store-brand food items that are comparable (and sometimes better than) name-brand food items. The store brands use the exact same ingredients but cost significantly less. Grocery stores have frequent sales on their store brand items.
5. Consider canned or frozen vegetables
Not only can frozen and canned foods be less expensive than fresh but sometimes canned and frozen foods are easier to prepare. They can also be more nutritious than fruits and vegetables that are not in season because the canned and frozen foods are packaged when they are perfectly ripe. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables also last much longer in your pantry or freezer than fresh fruits and vegetables. It is common for canned or frozen vegetables to have added sodium so be sure to check the nutrition label. The only ingredients should be the actual fruit or vegetable and sometimes water. Look for products that say "no salt added" or "reduced sodium."
6. Make recipes with less expensive proteins
Plan recipes that use less expensive proteins like chicken thighs, bone-in chicken, canned tuna, pork shoulder or chuck steak. Meat that tends to me more expensive like fresh fish, chicken breast, pork loin or strip steak will go on sale so be sure to watch newspapers and mailings for coupons or sales.
Farmer's Market Summer Soup
Makes 4 servings
Nutrition per serving: 200 Calories; 14g Fat; 3g Protein; 17g Carbohydrates; 4g Fiber; 197mg Sodium
~Sara, Dietetic intern
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!