15 tips for better eating and meal planning

Investing in your health is a necessary and intelligent investment. With the costly health-foods propaganda all around us, it is important to know how to cut down our grocery bills, without compromising on our nutrition. Here are some tips to make you a smart grocery shopper.

  1. Make a food time table. Keep track of what you have in the fridge and freezer and when it needs to be used by. It not only helps avoid waste, but also helps in taking control and planning balanced nutritious diets for the family.

  2. Avoid wasting food. If you are throwing away snacks or milk past their expiration date then you should organize things better. Try buying smaller packs, if they perish faster after opening, and freeze things to extend their shelf life.

  3. Check if you are buying something that you can make easily at home. You might be able to make a lot of things at home, like fruit juices, chips, snacks, peanut butter, baby food, hummus, cream style sweet corn, lemonade, granola, dips, sauces, salad dressings, jams, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, yogurt, crackers and many more.

  4. Ready to cook foods and canned products save a lot of time. Spending a lot of time in the kitchen might cost you money in other ways. It is a very subjective choice and you cannot apply one rule to everyone so you will have to decide bow and then to cheat and use ready made meals that are cheaper but maybe not as healthy and then make up for it later in the week.

  5. Some meat cuts are more expensive than others. Check how you can save money by choosing inexpensive cuts. You might also opt for buying whole meat and cutting it at home. Look for ways to cook cheaper meats that keep them tender and juicy such as crock pot recipes and slow cook and grill times.

  6. Don’t be loyal to any particular brand, unless you cannot tolerate the taste of the same product in other brands. If the exact same product is cheaper in a lesser known brand then buy it. 90% of the time you cannot tell the difference and it can save you money and be just as healthy as a more expansive brand.

  7. Expand your diets to incorporate more food group types. Try a variety of millets, fruits, vegetables, meats and cereals. A wide variety diet gives you more freedom of choice. You can opt for an equally nutritious item at a cheaper price and substitute healthier options like applesauce in place of oils and butters in some baking recipes and look for ways to make similar substitutions.

  8. Check if you can give up costly foods like cheese, extra virgin olive oils. You might cut their portions and minimize their use. Also, make healthier meals by cutting down oils and butter in your diet. Also look for natural supplements that can be used in place of the less healthy things you are currently using.

  9. Fill up your cart with necessary items and check if you should go for the not-so-necessary things you can do away with, like cereal bars, chips, snacks and chocolates. You may make a decision by estimating the change in bill amount.

  10. Choose for foods with lesser food miles. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper and more nutritious. Don’t pay for freight, gas, trucking, and display costs when you can buy the same thing from a farm 15 minutes away.

  11. Sometimes sellers are forced to sell easily perishable seasonal fruits and vegetables at cheaper rates. Check the prices of seasonal fruits and vegetables and never miss the chance of eating them, if they cost less. Also look for discounts on meats and other foods that are near their sell by dates.

  12. Buy once in a fortnight, or in a month. You can save money and earn more rewards by buying in bulk. You will also cut down on impulse purchases and save money on gas with fewer trips to the grocery store.

  13. Have a small kitchen garden. You don’t have to master the art of gardening, but with a little care, this hobby can take you back to nature and bring down your grocery expenditure. And fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are tastier and make healthier meals.

  14. Let the family be involved in planning and cooking meals. When the family is involved and invested in the meals they are more likely to eat the food and less likely to waste any of it.
  15. Consult with family and friends fro new ideas- how can you take chicken and make it interesting? What new meal can you plan with the same ingredients you have been cooking with for the last three days? Be creative, look for ideas, and create something new and unique for you and your family to enjoy at meal time!

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