How to save money on groceries — and gain more nutrition

pot stew cookingby Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.

I recently read that Americans are trying to save money by dining out less often. Rising gas prices and runaway food costs are putting us back in the kitchen. Seventy percent of those cutting costs are saving money by eating out less frequently rather than choosing cheaper restaurants or less expensive meals.

Well that’s one side effect of a slumping economy I can celebrate. When you’re in your own kitchen, you have so much more control over what you eat. You can control cooking methods, types of food, seasonings, portions and more. I have to admit that it makes me very sad how few people cook these days. Mac and cheese out of a box doesn’t count.

While you’re balancing your family’s food budget, consider the cost for the nutrition gained rather than the cost for the quantity of food purchased. When you do this, you’ll see that peaches, plums and other fruit aren’t such expensive snacks after all. For the price, you’ll feed your body with a host of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighters that aren’t available in chips, crackers and soda no matter how much or little they cost.

Save a few dollars with these tips.

  • Omit as much junk food as possible.
  • Buy seasonal and local produce. Visit local farmer’s markets.
  • Serve vegetarian meals a few times each week.
  • When buying protein-rich foods like fish, beef, poultry and eggs, calculate cost per serving rather than cost per pound.
  • Look online and in advertisements for coupons.
  • Pack your leftovers for lunch to avoid food waste and save even more money.

Editor’s note: Click here for some healthy recipes we’ve featured. (Each print issue features at least one freezable recipe.)

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10 Responses to “How to save money on groceries — and gain more nutrition”

  1. Dr. Hubbard Says:

    Great ideas. Why not cook extra helpings and freeze some? Packing leftovers is a great idea. It will keep you from ordering to the high-calorie fast foods at work.

    thanks

  2. lhubbard Says:

    I like the idea of packing leftovers, too. And great idea on cooking extra helpings and freezing some.

    I, for one, don’t see how people do it–work all day and then have the energy to cook at night. I like cooking lots of stuff at once on the weekends and freezing it. Making more than one dish like this sometimes also allows for using up more veggies so I don’t have to let, say, half an onion sit in the fridge and maybe go bad.

    Leigh Ann Hubbard
    Managing Editor
    James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor

  3. Mark Salinas Says:

    Very good points. Saving money and a healthy diet are always at the top of my list.

  4. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H Says:

    Thanks Mark

    It’s good when you can put them both together.

  5. Vanessa Smith, MA, CLC Says:

    Here are a couple of tips:

    *Buy in bulk. Beans, whole grains like quinoa and millet, nuts and seeds – all high in protein. It’s also a fun opportunity to learn how to sprout and increase digestibility.

    *CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You get to support a local farm and eat healthy. Most farms have work trade options if you want to save even more money.

    *Share food. Get to know your neighbors. Invite family and friends over. Have a potluck once or twice a week. Cut cost and build community.

    Vanessa Smith, Wellness Coach
    http://www.IntegrativeWellnessWorks.com
    http://www.LetYourLifeBloom.com

  6. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H Says:

    Great and practical tips, Vanessa.
    Thanks

  7. Annie Says:

    Great post! Using grocery coupons are a great way to save! You can get free coupon books in the mail by signing up at mambosprouts.com. They are filled with coupons for all natural, healthy and organic product.

  8. jhubbard Says:

    Thanks for the tip Annie

    James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

  9. James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor Blog » Blog Archive » Eat healthy during the economic crisis. Food buying tips to save money Says:

    [...] Update-10/8/08- Related blog on tips to save money while eating healthy [...]

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