It’s not just an impression… in the last few months, the cost of food has really gone up. And our budget… has most certainly melted away! Here are some simple tips to go further with our money… to succeed in eating well, despite everything.
1. Improvise with the touski
Turn your little leftovers sleeping in the fridge into appetizing meals. Leftover cooked chicken or rice, wilted vegetables or tired herbs…give them a second chance before they go (on their own) to the trash. Once a week, prepare a touski meal made with “whatever is leftover”. Pair your finds with some pantry basics . You will have a quick, well-made dinner that will have cost you nothing. Sauce for pasta, Asian stir-fry, soup-meal, quesadilla , wrap , salad-meal… it’s crazy what you can do with inspiration!
2. Eat a little less meat
This is a great way to reduce the cost of your grocery bill. And what’s more, it’s good for our health and that of the planet! Without necessarily becoming completely vegetarian, you will save a lot of money by integrating one or two meatless meals a week. For example, in a shepherd’s pie, you can replace some of the ground beef with lentils. Chili, curry, spaghetti sauce… a host of recipes can easily be adapted to become vegetarian… or almost vegetarian(New window)!
3. Help prevent waste
Several merchants liquidate their surpluses at very reduced prices to avoid throwing them away. These products are still very good, but since they are approaching their expiry date, they are being sold at a discount. Make sure to eat them quickly or freeze them immediately when you get home. Check the Food Hero app to see deals from your neighborhood grocery store. It is not uncommon to find reductions of 50% or even 70%! A great way to reduce food waste while saving money, provided you buy products that you would have bought anyway, of course!
Turn the slightly poked fruit into a fruit compote. Leftover dry bread in breadcrumbs , croutons or dessert . Vegetable peelings in colored chips or in homemade broth . Overripe bananas in muffins or sweet bread . Not only will you avoid wasting these precious ingredients, but you will save money by cooking yourself what you used to buy.
4. Follow the seasons
During the harvest, local fruits and vegetables are sold at low prices… and are a lot tastier than those imported the rest of the year. Take advantage of this abundance to stock up. Fill your freezer or organize a home canning party . Gather some friends, and share your production! Out of season, turn to frozen fruits and vegetables which are just as nutritious and much more economical than imported products. In a soup, a spaghetti sauce or a stew, all you can see is fire!
5. Bet on resistant foods
Some foods are made stronger than others! Think cabbage and root vegetables that stay beautiful for weeks in the fridge, while lettuce in a tray starts to wilt as soon as it comes back from the supermarket. You can also swap the lettuces in trays for a head of romaine lettuce that you wash yourself just before eating it. It will keep longer and will cost you less too.
6. Be curious…
Several peoples in the world have developed super economical recipes. Borrow traditional recipes from these different cultures that feed themselves this way, often out of necessity. For example, ultra-tasty Indian curry pastes will wonderfully enhance your vegetarian dishes and Asian condiments such as oyster sauces(New window)or fish(New window)will wake up your empty-fridge soups and stir-fries. Do not hesitate to take a tour of ethnic markets to find tasty and really inexpensive condiments.
7. …and flexible!
Forgot to buy an ingredient for your recipe? Before you run to the grocery store, see if you can substitute it with an ingredient you already have at home. If you buy an ingredient for a single recipe and you don’t know how to prepare it otherwise, it could quickly end up at the bottom of the fridge. This is an expense you could have done without…
8. Think big
When planning what you will eat during the week, try to choose meals that have common ingredients, so you can buy more of them. And you don’t have to eat the same thing several nights in a row! For example, you can take advantage of a discount on chicken to cook it Asian style one evening and Mexican style the next day. Zero redundant!
Whether you have a large vegetable garden or a few containers on your balcony, you will save money by growing your food yourself. If you can only plant one thing for lack of space, go for herbs! They are fairly easy to keep alive. A small punnet of basil sold in grocery stores costs just over $2. For a few extra pennies, you can get a nice plant that will give you a lot more leaves, longer. There are also plenty of other ways to save money elsewhere and free up money for groceries: negotiate a new cell phone plan, sign up for a points or rewards card, buy used or repair rather than buying nine… These are small gestures that will allow you to save good amounts after a year… that you can reinvest in your health, by filling your basket with fresh and minimally processed foods. Get my book Little price(New window)for even more money-saving tips and a host of inexpensive and tasty recipes.