Within the past 10 years, the average price for a gallon of milk in the United States has jumped up 42%. There are numerous reasons behind the increase, and milk isn’t the only primary grocery item that is going up in cost.
In general, we usually find ourselves trying to find the best prices for healthy, high-quality foods, while getting enough “bang for our buck.” In fact, the average American couple (married with two kids) spends approximately $185 a week. That adds up to a little more than $9,600 a year!
The USDA reminds us of the three P’s that we should consider into our everyday food budget.
- Plan: Try to plan your meals and snacks according to an established budget that you can create for yourself. Also, before you go shopping, create a grocery list of things that you need or have coupons for.
- Purchase: A bad habit to get into is to buy groceries when you’re hungry. Also, try not to go grocery shopping when you’re rushed. When you’re racing time at the grocery store, you may find yourself not paying attention to foods that you could be substituting. However, if you are shopping with constricting time, stick to purchasing only what’s on your grocery list. And last but not least, buy in bulk when given the opportunity. Usually when you buy a product in large quantities, the price is much cheaper and you’ll save yourself money in the long run.
- Prepare: Some meals can be cooked in advanced such soup or pasta. You can usually double or triple up on the recipe and freeze meal-sized portions of what is left over.
Another thing to keep in mind when buying fruits and vegetables is to buy them in season. However, some foods are low-cost all year round such as beans and potatoes. Bananas, apples, and assorted vegetables like carrots and greens are also available year round. And for seasonal fruits, opting for some frozen or canned fruits and vegetables may lower costs.
Finally, remember that water is your body’s best friend. Your body is 60% water. Try to avoid soda, juice drinks, and sports drinks. If you’re buying juice, limit yourself to 100% juice, or buy the whole fruit instead. And as a bonus, water is free!
Visit www.medstarfranklin.org to learn more about diet and nutrition.