“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces…just good food from fresh ingredients. ”
~ Julia Childs
Julia is so wise! And, I’d add that cooking good food from fresh ingredients doesn’t have to be expensive either.
However, eating and cooking can become costly which is a common concern I hear….especially when you don’t plan ahead.
Suggestions to Reduce Your Grocery Bill:
Before you head out the door….shop in your own kitchen. What does that mean? It means make a grocery list…and then cross off anything you already have. No one likes to come home from the store only to discover that you have 3 jars of almond butter hiding in the pantry. That’s stuff’s pricey! Start off your money saving strategy by double-checking your own stock.
Shop for real, whole unprocessed foods. This means that humans haven’t changed the food away from its original form. We haven’t taken anything out of or added anything extra to it. It hasn’t been placed in a fancy package or had millions of dollars spent on advertising in order to sell it. Whole foods not only nourish us well…but when they are our primary source of nutrition….they trim our costs. As an added bonus…when we consume a whole foods diet, we will find that we naturally begin to lose weight, have more energy and feel better. Shop the perimeter of the store; produce, bulk sections, meat counter, and then pop into the aisles for your miscellaneous items.
Take your grocery list! Do NOT shop by the seat of your pants. Stick to your list AND be flexible if you find some good sales. And speaking of sales…
Shop the sales and bulk sections. Don’t be afraid to substitute less expensive ingredients in recipes. Let’s say you are planning to prepare tacos with ground beef this week…but ground turkey or chicken is on sale. Buy the sale stuff and swap it out. If you were planning to roast a chicken and there is some mighty fine roasts on special…change it up. If you want to add kale to a soup this week…but the Swiss chard is on a 2 for $1 special…substitute it out. Stock up on bulk items such as oats, wild rice, sunflower seeds when they are on sale.
Certain items I pick up at Costco every few months…such as quinoa, chia seeds or sparkling water because it is far cheaper. For example…a 2 pound bag of chia seeds is cheaper than a one pound bag at Whole Foods…
the exact same brand!
Shop according to the EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list. (add link to this website) No need to spend $7 bucks on organic asparagus when you can pay $2 for a conventional bunch, right? This is an example of a vegetable that is on the Clean 15 list…meaning it is grown with very little pesticides. Be smart and savvy…you don’t have to buy everything organic!
Be aware of pricing structures. An 8 ounce box of your favorite crackers may be $3.00, but a box of 16 ounces may be $4.49. Buying the box that has twice as many for slightly more money may make sense. On the other hand, if you’re buying apples that are 2.99/lb. but they’re HUGE…weigh them first and maybe choose the smallest ones. If something is priced by the bunch…buy the largest one you can. If the item is priced by the pound, buy only what you need.
Make your own homemade version of some of your convenience or packaged items. Cooking a pot of beans which is super easy is more economical than buying canned beans. Making muffins, bars, or granola is cheaper than the packaged stuff and will likely be healthier.
Minimize waste. One of the ways I do this is by saving veggie scraps and the bones of the chicken or meats I roast and throw them into a pot to make stock. If you have leftovers, use them in lunches, another meal or freeze for later use.
Develop a shopping routine and keep a well-stocked pantry. By being prepared you’ll cut down on those moments when you’re stressed or tired and the last thing you feel like doing is taking a trip to the store in order to cook dinner. Dining out on a regular basis can be pricey and time-consuming. Plan to eat home most nights and save the restaurants for special occasions or a treat.
Truth is…the #1 way to positively impact your health is to shift from dining out to cooking at home. And…there’s no reason to break the bank doing so!
If you’d like help in this area, don’t hesitate to reach out. I positively LOVE guiding clients through my 1/2 day Kitchen Mastery Session while showing them how simple it is to cook and eat deliciously, healthfully AND economically.