Veggin’ on a Budget

I’m sure a lot of young adults can relate to this topic. Sure in college it’s understandable to eat ramen noodles or mac n’ cheese day after day – it’s understood that you have no money. But after college, it can still be somewhat of the same story.

I do have a bit more to budget on food after college; however, it’s still not a whole lot. Also, eating healthier more than often means investing more money in food.

The biggest problem that I personally run into when shopping on a budget is waste. Basically, I experiment with something that I think will be really healthy and great, and then I toss it because it tastes like crap. Case-in-point: Melba toasts. I bought the whole wheat ones while trying some crash diet, and I actually liked the wheat. But then I ate them with a block of colby cheese. Later on, I decided to buy melba toasts, but try the white ones. Those are the the ones that have been sitting in my desk for a bit of time, and I realized today they were a complete waste of money. Sure melba toasts have less calories than most chips and crackers. But for the most part, they taste awful. Why buy melba toasts (that I most likely won’t eat, or eat the whole thing because they’re “guilt-free”) when I can buy wheat thins that I’ll actually eat in a timely manner?

The biggest goal I’d like to accomplish in terms of food right now is to buy what I need and know I’ll eat. If you, like me, also want to control your grocery budget, here are some of my ideas (and they don’t really involve buying less or cheaper brands…that just doesn’t work).

  • Buy fruits and veggies.  Cut them up literally right after you buy them and store them in tupperware containers.  This actually makes me remember that I have fruits and veggies, then they’re already ready to use.
  • Buy some frozen fruits and veggies.  These are easier to forget about but you don’t really have to worry about that.  Since I don’t eat fresh broccoli all that often, I’ll buy frozen so I can use it in stir-frys.
  • Don’t buy a ton of bread.  Sure you want to get a regular loaf, bagels, english muffins, maybe some ciabatta bread – but there’s no way to eat it all before they all go bad.  If you have a ton of room in your fridge, you can store some, but if you don’t, it doesn’t hurt to go back to the store just for bread when you run out.  Or go to a bread store and get one really good loaf each time!
  • Don’t buy into packaged desserts/ice cream/cookies/etc.  Unless they are a staple in your life (and they could be, I won’t judge), don’t buy desserts unless you absolutely need to (aka you have company, there’s a special ocassion, etc).  If you want dessert, go out for ice cream or buy a candy bar for a single serving that you’ll enjoy.
  • Buy a few things that you can make quickly.  I get a lot of frozen veggie burgers and other kinds of veggie meat that I can quickly pull out when I’m running late to work.  Pair a veggie burger with some fresh fruit/veggies that you already chopped up, and there’s a good lunch.

Of course there are tons of tips for saving on your grocery budget, and I only have a few listed.  What are some ways that you save money on your groceries, or at least get the most efficient use out of them?

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