Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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7 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget Further
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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penny 2With the current economy, you may be wondering how you can save some money and still eat healthfully. Here are some helpful tips to help you stretch your grocery dollar and still get plenty of nutritious foods for your family:
1. Shop Smart: Here are a few ideas to help you shop smarter:
•Find a lower cost grocery store in your area and go there every week or two for your big shopping trip. There, stock up on low-cost staples. Save your more expensive neighborhood grocery stores for last-minute emergency trips.
•Scan grocery store coupons in the mail and plan your dinners around what’s on sale that week
•Never shop when you are hungry. Shopping hungry triggers impulse buys for things you don’t need!

2. Shop Seasonally: Fruits and vegetables cost less when they’re in season because they’re more plentiful! The Farmers Market can be a great place for deals on seasonal produce if you know a few tricks. For secrets to scoring great deals at the farmers market, see my intern’s article here.

3. Buy in bulk, freeze if needed: Most foods are cheaper when you buy in bulk. It can be especially useful to buy non-perishable food items in bulk. However, many perishable items can also be frozen, including meat, bread, tofu, many fruits and vegetables, butter, herbs, soups, casseroles, and even eggs (cracked open and stored in an airtight container). For more info on freezing food, try this website.

4. Do the prep work yourself: Foods that have been peeled, chopped, cooked or otherwise assembled for you may be convenient, but convenience adds cost. For example, many of us buy pre-peeled baby carrots without even thinking about it. But did you realize that baby carrots often cost double what regular carrots cost? Take a couple extra seconds to peel that carrot yourself, and you could save some money. The same goes for instant dinners, bagged salads, and chopped fruit.

5. Buy generic brands: Generic, store brands provide a nearly identical product to the brand names we’re familiar with at a fraction of the cost. Give them a try.

6. Buy low-cost staples: Dried beans, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, onions, pasta, eggs, tofu, bulk carrots, and celery are some examples of nutritious foods that only cost pennies per serving. Try to incorporate more of them into your cooking.

7. Go meatless: Going meatless on occasion is good for your health, good for the environment and good for your wallet! You can still get plenty of healthy protein from plant-based foods such as beans, nuts and even some grains like quinoa. I recommend eating at least one plant-based meal per day. Check out my blog with tips to go meatless here.

What tips do you have for stretching your grocery dollar further?

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