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How To Save On Food Shopping and Not Sacrifice Your Nutrition

life nutrition recession inflation

Trying to save on food shopping? Nutrition is everything we need to keep our body healthy and happy. In times of inflation and upcoming recession we start looking for savings… and very often we sacrifice our healthy food. This article will show you ways of how not to sacrifice food and how to stay healthy during inflation and recession times.

Do you really need to save on food?

Very often during tough times we start saving on food, buying premade frozen meals, frozen pizzas, white toast bread and we cut on vegetables and fruits. However savings are not only about food. We recommend to distance yourself from the situation in order to get a better perspective and in order to ensure that there is no other place you can save on but food. When looking for savings, we would need to revise our priorities and see where else to find savings so you do not need to save on food.

 

Where to start to look for savings?

  1. Assess where you spend money
  2. Set priorities (on what you need to keep on spending, i.e bills, rent or mortgage, food) versus on what you do not need to spend, i.e. going out.
  3. Based on the assessment – ask yourself – do you need to start cutting on your food costs?

 

How to save for food and keep your nutrition intact

When you already decided to save on food shopping, think carefully how you want to do it to make sure your meals are still healthy and full of nutritional value. If you just decide to skip some foods, you are at risk of not giving your body what it needs and in a long run it may affect your health.

1. Set a budget

If you assess your financial situation and set some budget for food, it will be easier to realize savings and to plan your meals. Make sure you have some margin for foods you did not plan to buy but when you entered the shop, it appeared that there were sales on foods that you would buy anyway (see point 5).

2. Make a shopping list

It will help you to stick to the plan and it is likely that you will get distracted and buy items you don’t need. There is also less waste when you have a shopping list as you know what you need and therefore what you need to buy. Without a shopping list you tend t buy random items that you may not use and they will go wasted.

3. Switch shops

Do you do your grocery shopping in stores that are known to be more expensive than others? Go buy somewhere cheaper instead of sacrificing the quality of your food. 

4. Start buying value range brands

Start buying same items but from value range brands – surprisingly very often value range brands have better ingredients list. When you try to save on food shopping, value range brands are the ones to explore. Very often perception of them is not great but when you start trying them out, you may be surprised how tasty they are. 

5. Buy in bulk

Buy in bulk when items are on sale, i.e wholemeal pasta, good quality tomato passata, nuts, couscous, barley, buckwheat, or anything else that’s healthy and keeps for longer. Or if some kind of meat is on sale, adjust your cooking to add this meat to your meal, ie. you had a chicken in mind for lunch and nice piece of beef is on sale, you can switch chicken to beef – you will still have your proteins, a bit more variety and you will pay lower price.  You can also buy the meat that  is on sale and freeze it for next time if you do not want to change your meal plan.

6. Eat out less often

Can you eat out less often? Once a month instead of once a week? You may think that it is boring to eat in but you can always make a ritual out of it – cook something nice, wear some nice clothes, light candles. Play some nice music or a movie. It may not feel ideal at the beginning but if you make it a habit, it will not only stick to you but it will also feel more pleasant over time. “Gratitude” is a word here.

7. Review your eating habits to save money on food

You may have plenty of habits that you don’t even realize you have. Let’s have a look at some of them and what you can do with them so you can save a bit on food but still not sacrifice your nutrition.

  • Think seasonal and local/regional – for example do you need strawberries from Spain in the middle of winter? You can switch them to frozen strawberries is you still want to have the same type of fruit or you can switch to fresh apples or pears that are produced and stored locally for winter. Or pricey meats coming from the other end of the world – are locally produced meats cheaper? What about your Cheese – do you need French camembert or can you switch to some local cheese?
  • Meat – do you need to eat meat every day? You can stick to quality piece of meat for a weekend and during the week you could explore other sources of protein – beans, lentils and chickpeas maybe? Butter beans, black beans, chickpeas, green lentils, red lentils and more. You can cook quark type cheeses in a savory way (ie. with pasta, tomatoes and spinach). You can have an eye on sales as well.
  • Breads – please do not consider to switch to cheap toast breads. If you enjoy them a lot, have your toastie once in a while but don’t switch to these breads for every day. They are cheaper indeed, but have you checked the label? You could “light up” after eating them! They are full of food additives and flavor enhancers, hydrogenated fats, SUGAR or cheaper and more harmful sweeteners. If you do not invest into good bread now, you will need to invest in doctor’s fees in future as your gut will not be happy. It is better to switch some of your bread to pasta or rice as they tend to be cheaper. You will spend less on bread and you will still have good quality carbohydrates on your plate.
  • Vegetables – tomatoes in the middles of the winter may not even be tasty – have a look at the shelves to see what else you have there that may be local, tastier and cheaper at the same time – pumpkins, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts (if you like them!). Canned tomatoes and passatas are also an option in winter. Consider frozen vegetables – not for every day so you do not have so much processed foods but they are worth having them in the freezer – we know that nowadays fruits and vegetables are frozen in the way that they do not lose their nutritional values.
  • Avoid premade ready frozen meals – they may be cheaper but they are cheaper for a reason – have a look at the label. It is not about these meals being frozen, but about the fact that their ingredients mostly are not great – similarly to toast bread packed with food additives, flavor enhancers and hydrogenated fats. Sometimes it may be cheaper to have quick boiled pasta, portion of proteins and some boiled veggies instead of premade meals. Cooking of a simple meal will take you 20min. How much will you spend on the way to the doctor’s appointments when your body will start protesting? Probably more than these 20min.
  • Avoid prepared ingredients like chopped fruit and vegetables – they may be handy but they are not value for money. They are great time saver in emergency situations or when you are on the go and you haven’t brought your own snack with you. Otherwise it is cheaper to buy fruits and cut them by yourself.

What is next?

Overwhelmed? Then take one option at a time. Pick one point from the list, review your options and apply it. Once done, take another one.

We have one more nutrition challenge this year if you want to join us!

 

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