As much as you may want to get in the required number of servings of fruits and vegetables every day that the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention calls for, it isn’t always cheap to keep your fridge well stocked with fruits and veggies. If you start to find ways to cut corners, you may end up with food that’s less nutritious.
But buying fruits and veggies doesn’t have to be expensive, and you don’t need to fill your diet with cheap, unhealthy foods to keep your grocery budget intact. There are ways to get the necessary amount of greens into your diet without having to stock your kitchen with nearly expired produce that’s on its last legs.
We’ve put together a list of seven tips that may help you get the most out of your food budget without breaking the bank on fresh foods.
The process of starting your own home garden and growing your own food can be a rewarding challenge to undertake, but isn’t easy. The first thing you should do is consider how new to gardening you are. If you’re a complete novice, start with some things that are generally easier to grow, like peas and tomatoes. These plants are more resilient than many, and are able to grown in a lot of different environments. Spinach and radishes may also be good plants to start with for a beginner.
As you continue to grow different things and expand your home garden, you’ll likely find that one trait that’ll come in handy is patience. This process will require your time and energy to make sure you’re growing things properly and that you get a good amount of high-quality vegetables. There’s a lot of hard work involved with putting together a home garden, but the reward of fresh fruits and vegetables right in your own backyard may be worth the effort.
If starting your own garden takes more time than you have on hand, speak to your friends to see if any of them have a home garden. If they have a full and thriving garden, they may have more fruits and vegetables than their family can consume, so they may be willing to give you some if they have extra. In exchange, you can offer to look after their garden while they’re away, babysit for them when they need, or give them something in return in the future.
If you’ve never visited a farmer’s market before, then it’s time to do some research to find the nearest one and go as soon as you can. In addition to supporting the farmers in your community, there are number of different perks to visiting your local farmer’s market, like:
When you’re shopping at farmer’s market, there are a few things to remember that may help you get the most out of your trip:
You may have noticed that some of your favorite fruits and vegetables are more expensive during certain times of year than others. This is because lots of produce doesn’t grow throughout the entire year. Getting these fruits when they’re out of season requires pricey shipping costs, and as the customer, you pay the price for these extra costs. If you want to save on produce, you should try to buy what’s in season. For example, apples and pears are typically in season in the fall, while strawberries and grapefruits are best in the spring.
If you find a great deal on some vegetables that are soon to expire, take advantage of this deal and just make sure you eat what you buy within a day.
As we’ve already mentioned, you should also consider the time of your trips to the farmer’s market. By the end of the day, most farmers will be looking to offload as much of their product as they can. If you don’t buy what they’re selling, they’ll have to take their produce back which could potentially damage it. This means that they’ll often drop their prices drastically and start bundling products together. But remember, don’t just buy it because it’s a great deal. You should have a plan in mind of how you’re going to use it. If you do end up buying more than you can use in a short period of time, freeze it.
If you want to save money on groceries in general, you’re going to have to keep your eye on what sales are going on at the grocery store, and produce is no exception. Sales will likely change on a weekly basis, so you can decide what produce you’re buying for the week based on these sales. There are a couple of things to look out for when doing this:
If you’re shopping for an entire family, you may be able to save money by buying things in bulk. But even if you’re only shopping for yourself and your partner, there are still ways to get the most out of buying items in bulk.
Start by looking for produce that you can freeze right when you get home. If it’s not something you can freeze right away, you can cook these vegetables, store them in separate plastic bags or containers, and then freeze them. Keep in mind that generally, the higher the water content in the produce, the less likely it is to hold up when frozen.
If you can’t or don’t want to freeze things, look for other ways to use these items. For example, if you have an excess amount of fruit to use up, make smoothies. If you need to use up some vegetables, throw them in soup, a casserole, or a salad. Try to be creative and not let anything you buy go to waste.
It might seem tricky to find ways of getting the necessary amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet, especially when the cost of produce can get pricey, if you have the right tips in hand, you can find ways to save money and still get your veggie intake.
Even if you don’t have the time or space to start your own garden, if you keep your eye out for sales, freeze extra produce, and take advantage of farmers’ markets, you can find great savings on fresh produce!