Eat Well to Be Well: Grocery shoppers can use money saving strategies as inflation soars – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Eat Well to Be Well: Grocery shoppers can use money saving strategies as inflation soars

Stocking up on healthy staples and reducing food waste are just a couple of strategies to help you with rising prices

Soaring inflation is hitting many consumers hard while buying groceries for their families. From snack foods like chips and cookies to everyday items like milk and meat, food prices are rising up and down the supermarket aisles across the United States. Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs have had some of the highest price increases. According to the latest Consumer Price Index data from early 2022, overall inflation rates rose to 6.8 percent over the previous year, marking the fastest annual increase in the inflation rate since June 1982.

Depending on where you live, many shoppers are also dealing with countless food product shortages, often due to widespread supply chain disruptions. This double whammy of inflation paired with food shortages is particularly concerning since eating is a basic human need.

Even before inflation arrived, many families struggled to feed their families nutritious foods. Now, with food prices continuing to rise, it’s more important than ever to have a plan of action on ways to cut costs and still eat healthy.

Here’s at look at shopping strategies to help save on food while still making nutritious meals:

Stock up on staples

Staple foods should always be predominant and stocked in your kitchen cupboards, pantry, freezer, or refrigerator. These foods include onions, potatoes, apples, frozen fruits and vegetables, canned tomatoes, canned or dried beans and canned soups, peanut butter, nuts, eggs, loaf of bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and pasta. Just these ingredients alone can make a nutritious and fulfilling meal. If you have the space, consider buying these foods in quantity as most have a long shelf life.

Plan meals

Meal planning saves you money, time, and your sanity. Simply removing the thought process in making meal decisions around crazy schedules will be a lifesaver. You’ll know ahead of time what quick and easy meal and day of the week you’ll have it. This means less reliance on fast food or take-out (another money saver). It also opens the door to more variety while making you healthier too.

Begin by making a list of possible meals and scheduling the week’s meals to certain days of the week. This can be a good start, but always remember it’s just a plan and not a set of rigid rules.

At the grocery store, come prepared

Have that grocery list in hand as you walk into the supermarket. This helps avoid impulse buying, which also saves you money. Even if you do buy one or two items not on the list, those impulse purchases are likely fewer than you would have bought without a list. Prepare meals that include similar ingredients throughout the week to keep the number of items on your list reasonable.

Shop store brands to save

Depending where you shop for food, store brands are budget friendly, saving you money while still getting a quality product comparable to name brands. Years ago, store brands used to carry a stigma but no longer. In fact, in some cases, certain store brands and name-brand items contain the same ingredients and may even be manufactured at the same location.

Reduce food waste

Make the most of your food spending by cutting down on food waste. Not only will it save you money by buying less food, but also conserves energy and resources. Start by using highly perishable foods such as fish, salad greens, berries, and fresh herbs, early in the week. Use leftovers for the next day’s lunch or plan an “eat the leftovers” night each week. Cook or eat what you already have on hand before buying more.

Other quick money saving tips includes:

  • Shop seasonally – local, seasonal produce are at their peak flavor and at a lower price.
  • Check store sale flyers and available coupons on the same items for additional savings.
  • Buy only what you need and will use.
  • Meat is often the most expensive item; consider replacing half the meat in dishes such as chili, meatloaf or burger patties with beans, finely minced mushrooms or chopped veggies.

Having a plan of action and using a few simple shopping strategies can help lessen the impact of rising food costs, while allowing you to still eat nutritiously.

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for local clinics, an adjunct professor at an area community college where she teaches basic nutrition, and a freelance health and nutrition writer. She is the author of The Nourished Brain: The Latest Science On Food’s Power For Protecting The Brain From Alzheimers and Dementia, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook and The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook,. Visit her website at

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