How to save time and money on summer groceries

Summer is a busy time, and it can be hard to eat nutritious food when you’re headed off on family road trips, drinking at backyard BBQ’s, and camping! Sometimes our health, and our spending, can go out the window during an on-the-go summer. Luckily, with the following tips, you can save both time and money at the grocery store, and continue to eat nutritious food.

5 tips to save time at the grocery store

Your time is valuable, and spending hours prepping in the kitchen or walking through the grocery store is likely not the way you want to be using it. By opting for these food items you can save time and effort while still maintaining a nutritious diet.

1. Ready-to-use fresh vegetables and pre-cut fruit

Items that have already been prepared and chopped for you can save time in the kitchen. Look for items such as bagged salads/leafy greens, fresh slaw, sliced mushrooms, cubed squash, a stir fry mix, or spiralized zucchini noodles!

2. Frozen fruits and vegetables

Frozen produce is perfect for smoothies, soups, side dishes and stir fries. Try frozen berries, kale, avocado, edamame beans, carrots, beans, cauliflower, or broccoli. No washing, chopping, or dicing required!

3. Canned lentils, chickpeas and beans

These legumes can give your meals and snacks a boost of protein, healthy fats and fibre. All you have to do is open the can and add them to whatever dish you are preparing!

TIP: Drain and rinse them before using so the sodium content is reduced.

4. Tomato-based pasta sauce

Keep a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce around so you can add it to pastas, stir fries, or pizzas. You can also mix tomato sauce with curry paste for a twist on a classic dish.

5. Canned salmon and tuna

These pantry staples make it much easier to grab a source of protein when time is limited. Add canned salmon or tuna to salad, pasta, or make it into a tasty sandwich filling: mix with ½ mayo and ½ avocado or plain Greek yogurt! If you are on the go, try the individual cans that pair well with crackers for a speedy but satisfying meal.

Bonus Tip: Make a grocery list and bring it with you. This grocery list can be developed based on your weekly meal plan, or on the frequently purchased items in your kitchen. It will give you direction throughout the store and help you avoid aimlessly walking around wondering what else you need to pick up.

9 tips to save money on groceries

The cost of fruits and vegetables can be a major barrier when it comes to incorporating fresh produce into daily meals and snacks. Here are some tips you can try to manage spending while adding healthy options to your grocery cart.

1. Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season

Fruits and vegetables that are in season are typically the least expensive option. In Southwest British Columbia, here is what is in season for July and August:

July

Apples, apricot, beans, beets, blackberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, corn, cucumber, currants, fennel, garlic, gooseberries, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, nectarines, green onion, peas, peppers, potatoes (red, russet, white, yellow), radish, raspberries, rhubarb, Saskatoon berries, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatoes, white turnips, and zucchini.

August

Apples, apricots, artichoke, beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, corn, cucumber, fennel, garlic, kale, leek, lettuce, melons, mustard greens, nectarines, onions (green, red, yellow), parsnip, peaches, pears, peppers, plum, potatoes (red, russet, white, yellow), prunes, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, rutabagas, shallots, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatoes, white turnips, and zucchini.

2. Purchase canned or frozen fruits and vegetables

Preserved fruits and vegetables, through freezing or canning, have a very similar nutrient profile to fresh produce. Be sure to drain and rinse any canned vegetables, and try to buy canned fruit packed in water, not syrup.

3. Buy less expensive produce options

Bananas, oranges, carrots, turnips, squash and cabbage are less expensive produce options, and are equally nutritious and delicious.

4. Take a look at the discount cart

If you are planning on using fruits or vegetables within the next 24-48 hours, take a look through the discounted cart of items that are just a bit too ripe to be sold at full price. This cart can often be found on the end of the produce aisle.

5. Add leftover vegetables to soups, stews, or stir fries

Avoid food waste and add your “scraps” or leftover veggies to your meals! If you’re looking for more tips on how to reduce food waste, read 8 kitchen hacks to reduce food waste for some creative ideas.

6. Community markets or gardens

Check to see if there is a community garden or market near you! If possible, start growing your favourite herbs, vegetables or fruits. You will be able to save money, watch your accomplishment flourish and have the freshest produce possible. Visiting a farmers market is a great way to support your local providers.

7. Check the expiry date

Make sure you have enough time from the day you buy it to consume all of that particular food before it goes to waste.

8. Don’t shop on an empty stomach!

People tend to be more tempted to buy more items and food of lesser nutritional value when they shop hungry.

9. Split bulk foods with friends and family

Do you like the price of bulk foods but don’t need such a large amount at once? Split it with a close friend or family member so you both reap the benefits. Alternatively, you can use some of the ingredients in recipes and then freeze the leftovers that you know you won’t get through in time.

 

With these tips, you can save both time and money on food this summer! If you’re looking for more information, book an appointment with one of our registered dietitians today.