Monday, March 16, 2009

Budget-Wise Grocery Shopping Tips

Erica, mother of two hungry boys and wife to an equally hungry husband, emailed me saying that she could never afford to grocery shop at Whole Foods for her carnivorous family of men.

I've taken on Erica's challenge, which means this week I'm going to offer some cost-saving suggestions for families like Erica's who are curious to learn how they can shop on a budget at a grocery store like Whole Foods.

To start with here are 4 simple budget-wise tricks to consider:

  • Note that I don't buy processed or packaged foods, other than the occasional frozen meal which I keep on hand for emergencies. My cost-saving preference is whole, unprocessed foods because simply, they're healthier and cheaper.
  • I always buy my dry goods, like whole, unprocessed grains in bulk. If you buy boxed and brand-name rice, beans, pulses, nuts, chocolate, etc. you will pay for the pretty packet. Instead, buy flours, grains, nuts, dried fruits, trail mix, beans, lentils, chocolate in bulk; there's no packaging to toss away and you'll save.
  • Buy fresh produce in season, i.e. don't buy expensive soft summer fruits in the middle of winter! In fact, go without produce that is not in season; it makes economical and health sense to avoid foods that are not in season. In winter, those veggies and fruits harvested in the late fall are in season and abundant and they're price will reflect that.

Meanwhile, today I'm posting the eighth meal suggestion from ingredients listed in the Feb 28th shopping list, a list of groceries I bought for just under $65.

It's a chunky, green veggie and corn soup, one that uses leftovers from the 2/28 shopping list, and one that would suffice as a main meal for light-eaters, but probably only as a lunch snack for fellas like Erica's boys.

Chunky Green Vegetables & Corn Soup

1) Recently I posted a meal using a turkey breast so you may have scraps of leftover meat. Hopefully, as a result I've my posts on stock making, you were inspired to made a stock by tossing the remaining meat (and any bones) in a pot of water and simmering it for about an hour or two.
2) To the strained stock, add leftover broccoli, zucchini, celery, some frozen corn, season to taste and voila, a delicious, nutritious green soup made from leftovers. For a more substantial soup, add a cooked grain, i.e. rice, millet or quinoa, or add chunks of cooked potato.
3) From the Feb 28th shopping list, you might have a leftover piece of salmon. For a more complete meal, pan fry it in a little olive oil and lemon juice and serve it with this soup.

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