Nutritional Health Month: Get The Spirit
The biggest thing to remember when looking to stay within budget when you're at the grocery store is to always look for sales. Even the priciest items can eventually get discounted because their expiry dates are nearing or there's simply too much stock. So, always take a look at your store's flyer before you get started.
This is especially important when it comes to produce. Just because you saw asparagus at $5.99/lb two months ago, doesn't mean you should swear off it altogether. The prices of fruits and veggies vary widely depending on whether or not they are in season. By getting a better sense of which items are in season, and looking for those items at the right times, you can greatly lower the total cost of your grocery bill. Fortunately, there are also some items that are nutritionally dense and budget-friendly virtually all year round.
First off, bananas are far more dense and filling than other fruits, which means you get the nutrients you need without being hungry a few minutes later. They are also high in potassium, which has been shown to help prevent heart problems and strokes. Plus, getting your daily dose of bananas is easy, whether it be as a snack on-the-go or in your morning smoothie.
These little guys are incredible sources of protein because they provide us with all nine essential amino acids, which our bodies our unable to produce ourselves. Equally importantly, they are far more affordable than other sources of protein, such as meats and nuts.
When the low-carb craze hit, potatoes took a heavy beating. But taters are not to be avoided! A medium sized potato is about 160 calories and provides you with 4 grams of fibre, 4 grams of protein, a whole whack of potassium and plenty of vitamin C. Plus, potatoes fill you up very well — which means less money spent on more groceries. Just remember not to undo the health benefits by loading your tater with heavy butter, sour cream and bacon. Instead, opt for a sprinkling of some herbs and spices, a small dollop of margarine or plain yogurt and a pinch of salt.
Tomatoes are often touted for their high content of minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin C. But what is truly great about tomatoes is how many varieties there are: roma, vine, plum, grape, green, cherry — just to name a few. Because of this, your chances of finding tomatoes at a great price are exponentially higher. Unlike a vegetable such as eggplant that is likely to only have one kind at one price, you are very likely to come across at least one variety of tomato that is on sale at your grocery store. So you get all the health benefits without paying a fortune!
You should also never be afraid to branch out. If your friend keeps saying how much she loves Brussels sprouts and you happen to see them on sale — buy a few! What have you got to lose?