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FOOD TIPS: Save money on food and still eat well

on July 17, 2013 11:00 AM

Cost-conscious cooking is on everyone’s to-do list these days. Selecting healthy and affordable food might seem like a challenge, but nutritious and inexpensive are not mutually exclusive concepts. Follow these tips so you can enjoy delicious fare at a great price.

Before shopping:

• Use weekly grocery-store ads to plan your weekly menu and do it on the weekend and make it a family affair.

• While reading the circulars, check for foods you buy regularly.

• Get a coupon app for your smartphone and use that, too, such as coupons.com.

• Generate a shopping list for the week that you can stick to.

• If your favorite store isn’t offering competitive prices, ask it to price match.

While shopping:

Convenience costs more, so consider these options:

• Buy whole heads of lettuce and chop them yourself.

• Shred your own cabbage and carrots.

Buy bone-in, skin-on chicken and bone and skin the poultry yourself.

• Shred your own cheese.

• Marinate your own pork and turkey tenderloins.

• Buy produce in-season and on sale. Farmers’ markets and natural-food stores often offer huge savings on seasonal produce.

• Purchase “family packs” of chicken, steak, pork and ground meat. The price per pound is typically lower. Portion extras and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

• Stock up on sale items that can be stored, such as canned and jarred foods, pasta, grains, frozen vegetables and poultry, meat, fish and shellfish that can be frozen for future meals.

Plan for leftovers by making double batches of soups, stews, sauces and casseroles. Freeze the extras in individual or family-style portions.

• Stretch meals by adding satisfying and filling side dishes. Brown rice, whole-grain pasta and beans are great choices.

— Courtesy Robin Miller on foodnetwork.com

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