When prices start to rise, it’s natural to think twice before buying anything and to begin to make changes where necessary. Many people become quite creative in how they pick and choose what to buy and when. It’s no different when it comes to shopping for groceries.
With food prices on the rise and reports that they will continue to do so in the coming months, it’s important to find your own ways to be creative. In order to maintain a healthier, active lifestyle as we age, it’s important to also maintain a diet that is full of quality rich nutrients without sacrificing too much.
You want to make your dollar go further when grocery shopping so that you can enjoy the best food and give yourself the best outcome.
Although we’re seeing price increases in all food categories, the bigger increases have been seen in animal proteins. Prices for eggs, fish, poultry, pork and beef are up between 11% (eggs) to 16% (beef) since last year according to the USDA Consumer Price Index.
When you’re over the age of 60, you don’t want to skimp on protein. It’s a vital nutrient for maintaining optimal health and the human body utilizes animal proteins much more effectively than plant proteins, so you don’t want to exclude them if you don’t have to.
Too many people cut down on protein as they age when they should actually be increasing their consumption of this nutrient. Not getting enough is the quickest way to problems both physically and mentally. As always, you want to find the best quality protein you can. Now’s the time to get creative when you shop in order to give your body what it needs nutritionally.
Even if you’re just cooking for yourself or two people, when you buy a whole chicken or a whole beef roast you’ll most often save on the price per pound. Although it’s not always the case, if you do the math it often comes out in your favor, especially with poultry.
A whole chicken is brilliant when it’s slow cooked until it just falls off the bone and you’re left with succulent meat you can use for dinner that night, and for salads, soups, curries or stews the rest of the week.
When buying larger cuts of meat you can cut it into smaller pieces and freeze some for a later date. If you are going to spend extra money anywhere, make it on better quality, pasture raised, grass fed meat or organic poultry.
There’s always something on promotion, so be sure to check what it is when you’re shopping. Don’t just buy something because it’s on sale though. Make healthy choices and you’ll have more money instead of more health bills.
Always look at the price per unit (PPU) cost. On every shelf, the number on the left of the shelf label tells you the PPU. This is the easiest way to see what’s better priced across different brands.
There’s been a trend among US retailers to create their own brand of food similar to what is commonplace in the UK with Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. This is often favorable for the consumer.
Buying the store brand is usually equivalent, if not better in quality and price. Take the time to look at the food labels and make sure you know what you’re buying.
Trying to find ways to save can be stressful, and no one wants to add stress into routine things like shopping for groceries. So plan ahead. Take your time to prepare your shopping run.
When you plan out your meals for the week, it makes shopping for groceries easier and efficient. You have a better chance of buying things you will actually use without waste.
Skip the pre-washed and prepped salads kits. You pay a lot extra to get pre-washed, pre-chopped and pre-made products. It’s not really that much to wash the lettuce, chop a few vegetables, peel an orange, etc.
Think of those extra minutes as your time to slow down and enjoy the process. It’s a great arm workout too! Every movement is good movement.
Along with higher cost of ingredients, freight costs have increased too. That means buying foods that travel farther costs more. Buying food that is local to your area eliminates that extra cost and also gives you richer, more nutrient dense food.
Ask your grocer what’s local if it’s not obvious. Search your community for a local farm by you. See if there’s a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to join. Many of them make it possible to get smaller boxes of farm goods for 1 or 2 people each week which is ideal. This can be very favorable for your wallet and your health.
Don’t think that frozen food isn’t good quality. It’s packed at its peak ripeness with nutrients intact, and there are real benefits to using frozen food in certain circumstances. If you’re cooking for one, you can be certain there will be no waste and you will always have good vegetables and fruits at hand.
Frozen food offers great options. I’m not talking about frozen meals. I’m talking about frozen vegetables, fruits, fish, etc. Although there are some better options for meals these days, you have to look carefully. Most frozen meals use questionable ingredients so be wise about choosing them, especially if you have health issues you’re trying to manage. Always read the package label.
Less expensive items are usually placed out of eye range so that you grab the pricier items easier. When you search up and down you might find better prices and sometimes better quality.
If you have different food markets around you, shop around. You’ll find different products and promotions with additional ways to save. Most likely the fruits and vegetables will come from different sources which offers varied nutritional value for you.
Most stores have a membership that promotes weekly discounts and can be worth joining to take advantage of better priced deals. But don’t just buy something because it’s on sale. Try to keep to foods that are going to make your dollar work to keep you healthy and active.
If you are grocery shopping online some of the same principles apply. It’s sometimes harder to find ingredient lists and know where food is coming from depending upon the site. Most food retailers are getting better about making their sites more consumer friendly.
The more organized you try to be, the better result you will achieve. Not everyone’s great at organization, so don’t worry if planning a week’s meals isn’t something that comes easy to you. Keep things simple.
Be realistic about what you’ll eat and what you won’t. If you do wind up with extra food in the fridge and you can’t get to eat it quick enough, freeze it. It’s amazing all the things you can freeze and use at a later time.
Make grocery shopping for wholesome food at good prices an adventure. You’ll have more fun and less of a burden while finding food that keeps you aging vibrantly. You can maintain a healthy diet with rising costs. You just have to know where to put your money and where to cut back.
Have you recently changed the way you food-shop? Have you been cutting anything out of your grocery list? What creative ways have you found to save money while shopping for groceries?
Tags Healthy Eating