With food and energy costs on the rise and job losses mounting, many families are finding trips to the grocery store a bit more painful. With such a turbulent economy, any way to save a little is helpful. By making some minor changes, families can still eat nutritiously and cut expenses.
1. Plan out your meals.
Most people eat based solely on convenience. This carries a higher price tag and poorer nutrition. Simply buying more fresh foods and planning meals for the week will save a bundle and provide the nutrients needed to live healthier.
2. Substitute healthier protein sources.
Meat purchases are often significantly more expensive than good protein alternatives like beans, eggs, nuts and seeds. The protein found in eggs most closely matches that of human tissue, so the body uses it efficiently. Any type of bean – pinto, red, kidney or black – is an inexpensive, nutritional choice that can be added to soups, salads, stir-fries, rice or pasta dishes. Nuts and seeds are a healthy snack the entire family can enjoy.
3. Minimize the purchase of prepared foods.
Replace meals such as instant oatmeal and boxed rice meals with less-processed grains including brown rice, wild rice, barley and old-fashioned oatmeal. Most of these can be bought in bulk, improving savings.
4. Eat seasonally.
Choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables can help consumers stretch their budgets while maintaining good nutrition. Apples and oranges are at their peak in the winter. Buy them by the bag and save even more.
5. Drink healthier.
Cutting out the morning trip to Starbucks, or sodas and bottled fruit juices, will not only save money, but will lower sugar and sugar substitute levels. Try clean water flavored with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Herbal teas with a touch of honey or Stevia are another good option.