You shouldn’t have to empty your bank account to fill your refrigerator. Although you can experience this now. According to recent research, in 2022, 83% of consumers noticed an increase in food prices. Paying nearly double for your regular healthy grocery shopping can seriously dampen motivation to continue eating healthy.
Now on to the good news! Alyssa Pike, RD, Senior Director of Nutrition Communications at the International Food Information Council (IFIC)is here with some anti-stress shopping tips designed to save you money despite rising food prices and allow you to eat healthy!
Focus on variety but keep it simple
Your food selection doesn’t have to be fancy to fuel your body while trying to stick to a budget. “When trying to save money on grocery shopping, stick to your proven meals while focusing on creating your meals and snacks with multiple food groups,” says Pike. If possible, include carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber with every meal. “It could look like pasta with meat and a sliced or roasted vegetable on the side, or rice, poultry and a basic salad with dressing,” adds Pike.
Most of the time, rice and pasta – two excellent complex carbohydrates – are usually offered at reasonable food prices and can be eaten as leftovers for other meals.
Take inventory before you go to the store (this minimizes food waste)
“Part of the battle to save money on food is reducing food waste at home, so try to incorporate items already in your pantry or fridge when considering what new items to buy” , explains Pike. It can be like taking everything out of your pantry and writing down how many groceries you already have. Same thing with your refrigerators: take notes to avoid overspending.
Plan to use your freezer
Items like meat, poultry, seafood, bread, fruits and vegetables can all be stored in the freezer to extend their shelf life. “In fact, when making meals, consider doubling the recipe and freezing half for later,” Pike advises. Although this is an extra step in the meal prep process, it will save you money and time and your future self (and your bank account) will thank you. Investing in a vacuum sealer when freezing food can help preserve food longer, preserving food flavor and texture and saving space in your freezer.
Don’t be afraid to use coupons
That crazy coupon lady doesn’t look so crazy now, does she? “Don’t be afraid to use coupons or (if possible) shop at a few different stores,” says Pike. Simply, “Take a few minutes to review current coupons or deals at grocery stores near you and see if you can come up with some meal ideas based on what’s on sale.”
Luckily, many stores now have apps where their coupons can be scanned through your phone at checkout or daily deals can be viewed to save.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk may take up more space, but it’s quick to save money and trips to the store. Rice, for example, you can buy a four-pound bag at BJs Wholesale Club (organic) for around $8. Head to the frozen fruit section and you’ll see the same; more for your money and lasts long and hosts the same amount of nutrients for your body.
Saving money while maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be stressful. Taking these steps and implementing them will give you more control over what you put into your body and what you take out of your bank account.