Milk and alternatives
Opting for lower-fat milk such as skim or one per cent saves fat grams as well as dollars. Using skim milk powder and water mixed with regular milk can also offer a pleasing taste at less cost.
Go for plain yogurt instead of flavoured varieties. Simply add your own fruit and spice up the mix with options like a dash of vanilla extract or cinnamon and some low-calorie sweetener or honey.
Because of consumer demand, some lower-fat cheeses may be more expensive, but those such as part-skim mozzarellas and light cheddars can be a more thrifty buy.
Whole-grain breads and rolls can spoil more quickly than those made from refined flour. Freeze, rather than refrigerate, to keep the product fresh-tasting. Simply remove one or two slices at a time from the freezer as needed.
• Buy whole grains like brown rice and quinoa in bulk and keep refrigerated.
• Go for packages of large-flaked oats rather than instant. They are cheaper and are digested more slowly, consequently leading to a slower rise in blood sugar – a bonus for anyone, whether or not blood sugar levels are a concern.
•Pre-sweetened cereals tend to be pricier than unsweetened counterparts. Add your own dried fruit for a sweeter taste and increased nutrition.
• Purchase items with a long shelf life, such as pasta, in larger amounts when they are on sale.
Vegetables and fruit
When buying fresh, stick to seasonal produce. For example, berries can be very pricey indeed when they’re imported but are more affordable and certainly tastier when they’re in season. Consider freezing your own when these are available.
Think about splitting larger containers of produce when in season. For instance, during the summer, share a basket of tomatoes with a friend or neighbour.
When buying fruit, purchase pieces of varying ripeness so they aren’t all ripe at one time, a simple way to avoid spoilage.
Frozen fruit and vegetables can provide top-notch nutrition and avoid waste. Stay away from pre-seasoned or sauced selections as they may be costlier in terms of sodium and fat. Dollar-wise, they’re definitely more expensive.
Extras and decadent delights
The cost of spontaneous purchases can certainly add up, especially if you make a habit of them. A daily muffin and a specialty coffee can take a big bite out of your food budget.
The same goes for soft drinks, snack foods and baked goods. On the other hand, being too frugal can take away some of life’s simple pleasures. Weigh the pros and cons of your fav-ourites and see where you can make some switches. Going for a coffee at your neighbourhood shop may offer some social time with friends but wait to enjoy a home-baked muffin or cookie at another time and just have the hot beverage. Just don’t head out hungry or you may not follow through on your good intentions.
Zesty and Speedy Chili
Here’s a healthy dish that’s kind to a food budget. Cooking the beans from scratch, rather than using canned, brings the cost down even further. Cook up a batch of this chili and freeze the leftovers, if you like. But if you’re using previously frozen beans, refreezing is not advised.