Inflation and rising food costs have families trying to find ways to keep up. According to figures from the consumer price index, the cost of groceries rose by more than 11 percent last year. There is no doubt that many Californians are facing food insecurity from higher food costs and are increasingly relying on state and local food assistance programs. If you want to stay afloat financially, you have to save to make ends meet.
How much does nutrition have to suffer when food costs rise?
Food insecurity in California has risen steadily this year, with over 20 percent of Californians suffering from hunger. The CalFresh program (formerly known as Grocery Stamps) helps low-income households increase their purchasing power to meet their nutritional needs. CalFresh benefits can be used at grocery stores and participating farmers’ markets.
Those who are financially challenged, particularly single parents, people with disabilities and the elderly who are not eligible for nutritional assistance programs, are particularly at risk. Many are cutting back on their food spending to afford other necessities.
The good news is that it’s still possible to eat healthy on a budget. Timeless ways to save money on groceries such as: B. Shopping sales, clipping coupons, and price comparisons are a good place to start. Many grocery stores offer digital coupons through their web-based app, as well as rewards and loyalty programs for easy savings. However, there are additional ways to maximize your grocery dollar that can help you save even more on nutritious groceries. These three simple strategies can help reduce grocery expenses without sacrificing health and nutrition.
Pack your lunch
The foods with the largest price premiums are typically ready meals, including restaurant foods. Reducing meal frequency can be a quick fix to reduce your monthly grocery expenses. Also, meals prepared at home tend to be lower in calories, fat and sodium, while restaurants often lack whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Packing a sandwich or leftovers for lunch is less expensive and usually healthier than eating out, and can also help reduce food waste.
Eat more plant-based meals
The cost of some animal products, such as eggs and dairy, has risen more than others over the past year. While beef and seafood have not increased in price significantly this year, these foods are already more expensive. A study published in earlier this year The Lancet Planetary Health found that vegan and vegetarian diets can reduce food costs by up to a third.
Meals that include more plant-based foods like beans, lentils, tofu, and whole grains can help limit expensive items like cheese, meat, and fish. Plus, some of these plant-based foods are great pantry items that are even cheaper when bought in bulk. Even those who don’t want to be vegan or vegetarian can save money by eating plant-based meals more often.
Reconsider convenience items
While ready meals can save time, they often cost more and have less nutritional value than other foods. Take stock of the typical convenience items on your shopping list. Foods like granola bars, tortilla chips, salad dressing, cookies, and soda can take up a significant chunk of your grocery bill without supporting your health goals. Consider whether some of these items could be made at home or swapped out for a cheaper, healthier alternative. While making bread from scratch can be too time-consuming, homemade salad dressing is relatively easy to make, tastes great, and can benefit health while reducing costs.
LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian who provides nutritional advice and counseling to individuals, families and organizations. She can be reached by email at RD@halfacup.com.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/06/3-strategies-to-help-reduce-food-expenses-without-sacrificing-nutrition/ 3 Strategies to Cut Grocery Spending Without Giving Up Nutrition – Orange County Register