If you feel your grocery bill is out of control, you’re not alone. Today’s lives are so chock full of activities and responsibilities that fast food—and food we can cook fast—is filling up our shopping carts. “Convenience” is taking top billing at dinner tables across the world, and we get that, but don’t let your schedule or finances push “healthy” off your plate entirely. Add one or two of our tips to your weekly routine and soon you’ll be eating for both body and budget health.
Plan Ahead. Before you shop, make sure you’ve thought through your week and know what days you’ll need meals at home. Keep in mind that soups and stir-fries can be packed full of organic fresh veggies and lean proteins and tend to stretch out into multiple nights of servings, extending your hard-earned dollars and giving you the convenience you need. Once you’ve chosen meals, make a detailed list—leave nothing to chance.
Pre-shop. Once your list is ready, visit the websites of your favorite brands one by one and search their coupon pages. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by adding this pre-shopping search. Also, peruse organic coupon sites for regular deals, like www.MamboSprouts.com, www.SavingNaturally.com or www.organicfoodcoupons.com. Just click, print and hit the store.
Go organic. There’s such a thing as affordable, organic food, you ask? We know organic produce, meats and dairy in the grocery stores cost more, but there a couple of ways to mitigate the cost. A quick search of sites like www.eatwellguide.org or www.localharvest.com reveals nearby organic farms with online shopping, monthly subscription and doorstep delivery options. Choices will be limited to in-season for produce, but you’ll save by omitting long distance food travel expense from warm weather areas and you’ll know just where your food originated.
Out of the box shopping. You might not think of sites like Amazon for organic food options, but you’ll be surprised what you find there. And the best part? Items are typically available in larger quantities, allowing you to benefit from bulk pricing.
Personal prep. If you can handle prep work like washing, peeling and chopping, you’ll save. By skipping the pre-prepped versions of fruits, vegetables and cheeses, you’ll have extra to put toward organic varieties. As soon as you arrive home from the store, wash peel and dice so healthy options are always at your fingertips.
Kitchen DIY. Whenever possible, make your food at home. Instead of purchasing convenience foods like granola bars or smoothie mixes, whip up your own. You’ll save and you’ll control the ingredient list. When making meals, double your batches of healthy dinners and freeze for later to prevent last minute takeout.
Eliminate waste. We live in a disposable society these days and we’re quick to toss food that’s perfectly good to eat. Check out our tips for making food last longer.
- Think you won’t eat a food before its spoils; freeze it!
- Refrigerate fresh herbs in a glass with an inch of water, or microwave them in 30 second bursts until dried for longer use. Store dried herbs unrefrigerated in an airtight container.
- Keep a spray bottle full of three parts water and one part distilled white vinegar. Give fruits and veggies a quick spray down and rinse with cold water to remove up to 98 percent of bacteria. Quickly soak berries or greens in the solution to encourage an extended shelf life.
- To keep fresh longer, store nuts, flours and citrus in the fridge.
- Store bananas separate from each other and away from apples or tomatoes to discourage spoiling.
- Have rubbery carrots or celery? Pop them into a fresh ice water bath for renewed crunch.