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You shouldn’t have to drain your bank account to fill your fridge. Although you may be experiencing this now. According to recent research, in 2022, 83 percent of consumers have noticed an increase in food prices. Paying almost double for your regularly scheduled healthy groceries can put a serious damper on motivation to keep eating clean.
Now on to the good news! Alyssa Pike, RD, senior manager of Nutrition Communications at the International Food Information Council (IFIC), is here with some stress-relieving shopping tips designed to save money despite increasing food prices and keep you eating clean!
Your food selection doesn’t have to be fancy to nourish your body while trying to maintain a budget. “When trying to save money while grocery shopping, stick with your tried-and-true meals while still focusing on building your meals and snacks with multiple food groups,” says Pike. If possible, include carbs, protein, fat, and fiber at each meal. “This could look like pasta with meat and a sliced or roasted veggie on the side, or rice, poultry, and a basic salad with dressing,” Pike adds.
Most of the time, rice and pasta—two great complex carbohydrates—are usually offered at reasonably food prices and can be enjoyed as leftovers for other meals.
“Part of the battle of saving money on food is decreasing food waste while at home, so try to incorporate items already in your pantry or fridge as you think about what new items to purchase,” Pike says. This may look like pulling everything out of your pantry and writing down how many of what food items you already have. Same with your refrigerators: Take notes to avoid overspending.
Items like meat, poultry, seafood, bread, fruits, and vegetables can all be stored in the freezer to prolong their shelf-life. “In fact, when prepping meals, consider doubling the recipe and freezing half for later,” Pike advises. Although it’s an extra step in the meal-prep process, this will save money and time and your future self (and bank account) will thank you. Investing in a vacuum sealer when freezing foods can help food store longer, preserving the flavor and texture of the food as well as saving space in your freezer.
That crazy coupon lady doesn’t look so crazy now, does she? “Don’t be afraid to utilize coupons or (if accessible) shop at a few different stores,” says Pike. Simply, “Take a few minutes to review the current coupons or deals at the grocery stores near you and see if you can come up with a few meal ideas based on what’s on sale.”
Thankfully, many stores now have apps where their coupons can be scanned via your phone at checkout or daily deals can be viewed for saving.
Buying in bulk may take up more room but it is quick on saving money and trips to the store. Rice, for example, you can buy a four-pound bag at BJs Wholesale Club (organic) for roughly $8. Head on over to the frozen fruit section and you’ll see the same; more bang for your buck and lasts a long while and hosts the same amount of nutrients for your body.
Saving money while maintaining a clean eating lifestyle doesn’t have to be stressful. Taking these steps and putting them into action will give your more control over what you put into your body, and what you take out of your bank account.