Friday, March 27, 2009

Stop Rising Cost from Eating Up Your Food Budget
Keeping food cost under control is something families can do in tough economic times to help stretch their dollars and other resources. When it comes to saving money at the grocery store there are several tactics that can help reduce cost while still providing adequate nutrition for the family. Saving money at the grocery store requires planning. Going to the grocery store without a shopping list and budgeted amount of food money is like going on a unfamiliar trip without a map or Global Positioning System (GPS). Preparing that grocery list should be the first step in planning each trip to the grocery store. Here are other suggestions for making every trip to the grocery store less of a financial challenge. Take time to plan meals for a week or two. It may take extra time on the weekends to plan meals, but this is time well spent. Remember this nutrition tip when planning meals. Use the USDA MyPyramid as your guide for menu planning. Choose a variety of foods from each of the food groups. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans also suggest consuming a variety of foods in moderation while limiting your consumption of fat, sugar, and sodium (salt). For more information on MyPyramid, visit the website at Prepare menus two weeks at a time. Plan to use a variety of cooking methods, colors, textures, and be sure to incorporate family favorites into each menu. Select recipes that are fast and easy to prepare and that have short cooking times. These can include stir fry dishes, fish, salads, and stews. This is a good time to try new recipes that use different inexpensive ingredients. You can also plan to serve breakfast for dinner a time or two each month. This is a fun way for families to stretch that food dollar. Plan some of your family meals around weekly grocery store specials. Once you have meals planned, use the menus to develop your shopping list. Check the cupboards, refrigerator and freezers to see if you already have some of the items needed to prepare the planned meals on hand. Make a list to purchase the food you need based on the recipes you choose. Remember to plan to purchase food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Keep these tips in mind before heading to the grocery store. · Use coupons wisely. Coupons may not always save money, especially if you use them to purchase food you don’t normally buy. Many times store or generic brands are a better buy. · Compare prices. Don’t grab the first food box or item that you see. Look at the “unit” price display on the shelf and compare. · Compare forms of foods. Buy a lower-cost form of the product if it will do as well. Compare frozen, fresh, and canned products. The cost may vary but the nutritional value is similar. · Shop on a full stomach. Don’t go to the store when you are hungry. You will often buy more food than you really need. · Buy in season. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the best buy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great information! I plan on trying some of your tips