With several different factors leading to crazy high produce prices (and let’s face it, many other grocery items too) many of us are starting to feel our wallets strained while at the grocery store. I think it’s coming as a much larger shock to us because now is the time of year when people are making resolutions to live and eat healthier. With that said I don’t think you need to buy particular (over priced, out of season) produce to be healthy but by utilizing some tips and tricks you can out-smart the rising cost of produce that we seem to be plagued with at the grocery stores.
Buy what you need.
Meal planning has really helped me beat the rising cost of produce. I plan meals for the week ahead before I go grocery shopping to determine what produce I need for my meals and snacks. I take into consideration which nights I will be home to cook, how many meals need to be prepared in advance, and which recipes I want to make. Making a grocery list off your meal plan and buying only what you need can help eliminate food waste and also save you money.
Pro tip: If I know I will need a veggie for side dish purposes (roasted or sautéed) I often don’t list specific veggies on my grocery list but instead choose a vegetable while at the store that may be cheaper/in season/available.
Eat what you have.
Knowing what you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer will help you a million times over when making a meal plan and a grocery list. I like to plan meals around things I already have – grated zucchini in the freezer from last summer – muffins; left over kale from last week’s meal plan – one less veg to buy this week; canned tomatoes – chili or pasta sauce.
Pro tip: keep a freezer inventory next to the freezer so you know what kind of goodies you have socked away in there. Try to keep only a 3 month cycle of items in your fridge freezer as their quality can deteriorate.
Buy what’s in-season.
In-season vegetables and fruits are often the less expensive ones at the grocery store and they are great options and alternatives. Some may be unfamiliar to you, but what’s the risk in trying something new! Pinterest is a great resource for recipes, and who knows you may even find a new favourite. Check out Marisa’s post for a great list of January Seasonal Produce.
Pro tip: Be careful with produce that is sold by weight as it’s price can be deceiving, you should always weigh before you buy so you’re not surprised at the till.
Don’t be afraid to seek out alternatives to fresh produce. Frozen and canned products are great options and also have a longer shelf life than fresh produce. Choose options that are packed in water, lower in sodium, and have simple ingredient lists. My favourites include frozen corn and peas and of course cans on cans of tomatoes.
I hope I’ve inspired you to stretch your grocery dollar a little further in the produce section. Remember, just because cauliflower is $7 doesn’t mean you NEED to by it.
Let’s chat – How do you cope with rising produce costs? What are your favourite alternatives to fresh produce?