Presents, festive meals, and parties: the holidays might leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, but your wallet, not so much. That’s why we like to kick off the new year with new shopping habits. Check out our top tips to save at the grocery store while still enjoying good food.
Opt for plant-based protein
Reducing your grocery bill is definitely possible, especially with plant-based protein! Legumes are easily 3 to 4 times less expensive than ground beef. Plus, these protein sources are full of vitamins and minerals, and are oh-so versatile. Here are a few you can incorporate freely to your menu:
- Beans (red, black, Lima, pinto, etc.)
- Lentils (green, brown, and red, for example)
- Soy (tofu)
You can save even more by buying the dry varieties, as they offer more bang for your buck than their canned equivalent. Just be sure to let them soak overnight! Simply use one part legumes for two parts water.
Blending vegetable and animal protein
If you’re not familiar with legumes, you can start by integrating them to your favourite staples, like spaghetti sauce. Use half minced meat, half lentils, for a cheaper cost per portion. Don’t worry, it will be just as tasty! The legumes will add a nice consistency to your sauce, and their flavour will blend perfectly with that of the meat.
Apply the same principle to your shepherd’s pie, tacos, burgers, or this comforting chili, which is sure to add delicious warmth to those cold winter nights!
Cooking more economical cuts
It’s Saturday night and you want to spoil yourself? Forget the filet mignon! Other cuts of beef are more economical and just as delicious. When prepared properly, a chuck roast can give the more expensive cuts a run for their money! Plus, it’s often cheaper than top sirloin, striploin, and T-bone steaks. Use a bottom blade steak in your ragout, adding black or red beans, for example. You’re also sure to be impressed by this braised blade roast. A fabulous dish everyone can enjoy!
Plus, you can lower your grocery bill by opting for pork shanks, which are more affordable than veal. This cut is ideal for making an osso buco at a lower cost. It can also be enjoyed braised, like in this recipe for vegetable pork shanks. Chicken thighs can also be used in lieu of breasts in several recipes.
Roll up your sleeves … and take out the cutting board!
Whatever the cut of meat, avoid buying pre-cut. Chicken strips cost more than the actual whole breast, for example. This tip also applies to other food! You can slash your expenses even further by cutting your veggies or shredding your cheese yourself. You’d be surprised to see how much you save by doing this yourself, when comparing the price per weight of a “prepared” and “unprepared” version of a food.
Better safe than wasted! To limit food waste, take inventory of what’s in your fridge before heading out to the grocery store, keep fresh food in containers that will extend their shelf life, and quickly cook food for which the expiry date is fast approaching. With just a few strategic actions, you can save a jar of yogurt by making it into a sauce or turn a surplus of veggies into an impressive lasagna.
Work around the specials
Sometimes, planning is key when it comes to making serious savings. Prepare your menu based on the weekly specials instead of making impulse choices.
With some flexibility and a touch of creativity, it is more than possible to lower your grocery bill. Plus, you might make some delicious culinary discoveries along the way!