We've all felt the pinch of rising prices recently and one of the places it's hit the hardest? The grocery store. But that doesn't mean mealtime can't be affordable, and easy. Toni Okamoto, author of “Plant-Based On A Budget: Quick And Easy” tells you how you can keep your family full, without eating into your savings.
Starting with - inflation beating foods
There are ingredients like beef and eggs that have increased drastically, but there are also some plant-based ingredients that are staples that are very economical and have only increased 5% or 10%. Among Toni’s favorites — beans! Beans are an ingredient that people have been thriving on for centuries because they’re both economical and nutritious. She likes to buy them dry in bulk, but says they’re affordable in a can as well. Her favorite way to prepare them — mix them with brown rice, mixed veggies and a plant-based protein for maximum nutrition and minimal financial damage.
For breakfast, Toni likes morning oats, topped with plant-based milk and a blend of berries. Potatoes are her go-to support for both breakfasts and dinners. She’s also a huge fan of bags of blended frozen produce. They’re affordable, and they’re also pre-washed and pre-chopped — so they’ll save you time as well as money.
Her next tip - shop by price per ounce
It's very misleading when you go to the grocery store and you see a small container at an affordable price and you think you're getting a good deal. So Toni recommends checking if there’s a larger version, and do a little math — chances are the bigger bottle is a better deal ounce for ounce.
Next - say bye-bye to boujie brands
Toni says the store label is almost always cheaper, and most store brands now offer organic items. Also, don’t count out discount grocery stores. A lot of people don't realize that places like Dollar General and Dollar Tree have a variety of healthy ingredients that’ll cost you far less. Toni makes monthly trips to stock up on frozen items and pantry staples, and says you may find a shocking price difference. For example, she says frozen berry blends that would be in the $4-$5 range at a natural food store, were $2.29 at Walmart.
Finally - shop in bulk
When she shops in bulk, Toni brings her own measuring cups because she wants to be sure she’s not spending unnecessarily. If you just need 1/4 cup of something for a recipe, why buy more than you need? (If you’re concerned about hygiene issues —Toni talked to the stores and they recommend wrapping it in the plastic bag and then using it to scoop.)
One more overall tip to keep your prices down — keep things simple. Elaborate recipes with lengthy ingredient lists will mean spending more time and money at the store.
We’re keeping the quality high and the prices low, with budget food shopping tips.
adapted for web by Dave Hanson