One of the best things about summer is the food. So many delicious fruits and vegetables are in season and it’s hard to leave the house without encountering the enchanting aroma of barbecue wafting through the air from a neighbor’s yard. The only drawback is that many of the healthier options cost more money — which can be pretty discouraging. Here are some suggestions for enjoying fresh food without breaking the bank.
Find a Farmer’s Market
If you’ve ever been shopping at an organic grocery store, you will know that, while the quality of their food is generally very high, so are their prices. As a result, many people end up feeling like fresh produce is a luxury. Fortunately, most cities now have farmer’s markets during the summer (some have them year-round) where you can shop weekly. The prices are usually reasonable, the fruits and vegetables are fresh and you are supporting your local economy. It doesn’t get much better!
Check the Freezer Aisle
Life can really be a bowl of (well-priced) cherries if you are a savvy shopper. While some foods don’t freeze well, berries are a great example of how you can buy the frozen version for much cheaper without sacrificing much of the quality or nutrients. This is especially true if you are using them for smoothies or desserts. Other good options include carrots, broccoli, corn and peas. It seems that the list continues to grow, so check out the freezer section at your grocery store and start experimenting!
Plan Meals Around Sales
Many of us try to stay organized by planning our meals well in advance. This is, of course, a great idea but it can be improved upon by paying attention to sales and factoring that into the planning. Instead of going to the store with a list of things that you must buy, even at regular price, design a menu around the foods that are being sold at a discount. You may be amazed by how much money you save with this small modification.
Buy in Bulk
If you have a food warehouse nearby, it might be worth investing in a membership (most will offer you a one-day pass so that you can try it before you buy it). Sometimes, they have good quality produce at great prices, especially the frozen variety, but an area where they can really help you save money is the meat section. Lean cuts of meat can be very pricey but you can usually buy them in bulk for far less at these warehouse stores. Even hot dogs (and buns) are often on sale for a lot less so if you plan on having a backyard party, you could save a lot of money.
One of the most economical ways to save money on fruits and vegetables is to grow your own. It can take a little practice but once you get the hang of it, it can be a wonderful option. If you don’t have enough space to start a garden in your own backyard, search your area for community gardens that will allow you to rent a small amount of land so that you can grow your own food.
Eating healthier can be more expensive but the benefits really outweigh the costs in the long run. By making informed decisions about what to buy and where to shop, you can find ways of eating well without going broke.