As the economic times seem to get leaner, it’s getting more difficult to afford the groceries we need to keep up with the nutritional guidelines. Whether the cost of food has gone up or the income of the average American has dropped, shopping for optimal health isn’t as simple as it once was. There are options and ways to avoid throwing in the towel in the battle for better health.
The numbers were crunched and the cost of meeting the recommended daily requirements of “My Plate,” the new U.S. nutritional guideline, will cost an extra $7.28 a week. This dollar amount is factoring in that “My Plate” calls for more consumption of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, and calcium rich foods.
Most of these nutrients can be obtained from healthy foods that tend to cost more at the grocery store. Let us help with some easy cost-cutting suggestions that do not cut the quality of your food.
1. Swap Fresh Produce for Frozen
Whether it’s fruit or vegetables, the cost of frozen produce is significantly lower. Also, when purchasing frozen, you run little risk of it going bad before you get to eat it. Most frozen products are frozen within hours of being picked and can actually be fresher than the produce that traveled for weeks to get to the store.
2. Bruised or Marked Down Products are Just Fine
Always peruse the marked down section of produce- many times it is just filled with slightly ripe bananas or the occasional bruise on an apple for considerably less cash. The savings is worth the small section you may have to cut off. Also, many times stores mark down bagged produce as they just start to wither.
3. Day-Old Bread
Many bread and grain stores offer a significant discount on products that are just a day past expiration. As long as it’s whole grain, buy it and freeze some!
4. Pay for the Food, Not the Store
Many cities have discount grocery stores- stores that have no fancy shelves, lighting, and you often have to bag your food yourself. These stores often have the best prices on produce. Just wash and eat.
5. Compare Brands
Typically the plainer looking box of crackers sitting directly next to the prettier name brand box has the exact same ingredients for a fraction of the cost. No one likes a food snob, buy the cheaper one and be proud of the savings.
6. Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
When the guidelines are calling for more potassium, do the research. Bananas are packed with potassium and will cost much less than produce like nectarines. No disrespect to the tasty nectarine, but when the every penny counts, it’s wise to stretch them.
7. Doing Your Fishing in a Can
Fish is wonderful for any diet, but it can be awful for the wallet. Go for the canned stuff: it’s easy to prep and tastes amazing for just pennies. You can still reap the benefits of a fresh piece of tuna or salmon by catching it with a can opener.
8. Shop the Season
When shopping for fresh produce, stick to what’s currently in season. It is easier for the stores to obtain in-season fruits and veggies and they can offer it at a lower price. To found out what produce is in season each month, check out the in-season produce for every month of the year below.