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6 ways to cut your grocery bill as food prices rise

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With many Americans spending more time cooking at home – combined with rising food costs – it sometimes feels like the income from our wallets is flowing straight into our pantries. This is where better budgeting can help.






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“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, food prices for consumers have risen noticeably. Overall, there has been a year-on-year increase of about 6% in what Americans felt in their wallets, “said Diane McCrohan, associate professor in the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University, told TODAY Food about the 2019-2020 price gap. “There were several reasons for the price increases: the rapid increase in home eating; supply chain issues; and increased security.”

In January 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s economic research service predicted that groceries bought in grocery stores would increase by an additional 1 to 2% and that out-of-home groceries would increase by 2 to 3%. And these numbers keep increasing.

“Home grocery prices are now expected to rise 2 (to) 3% and take away groceries are expected to rise 3 (to) 4%,” McCrohan said, referring to the US Bureau of consumer price index of labor statistics.

Last year, the scarcity of meat and dairy products impacted eating habits and spending as costs skyrocketed. In December 2020, the USDA estimated a 6 to 9% increase in soybean prices at the farm level (soy is an ingredient in many foods such as plant-based meat substitutes) and a 5 to 8% increase in wheat at the farm level, which is a staple in many people’s diets , from bread to pasta to muesli. The higher costs are expected to hit the following areas hardest in 2021: poultry (1.5-2.5% increase); Beef, veal and fish (2 to 3% increase); Pork (3 to 4% increase) and fresh fruit (4 to 5%) increase.

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“There are several factors that are causing this rise in food costs: increased fuel prices, an increase in raw material prices such as wheat, corn and soy, increased imports from China and severe crop damage in the Midwest,” said McCrohan TODAY.

These strains are on top of the disrupted supply chains that have been recovering from the pandemic. Coupled with all of the “pent-up consumer demand, especially for services,” added McCrohan, the Biden administration expects this type of measured inflation to persist as the COVID-19 rebounds.

While these price hikes can be intimidating, don’t let them get you down. Budgeting is helpful for people of all income groups, and the more you know – such as the least crowded time to shop – the better you can be at grocery shopping.

To curate the ultimate budget guide, TODAY spoke to McCrohan, Caitlin Self, licensed nutritionist and blogger behind Frugal Nutrition, and Jon Matlock, founder of The Good Steward Financial Coaching, who helps clients prepare detailed food budgets.

1. Look at what you are spending now

“The first thing you need to do to budget for groceries is keep track of what you are currently spending,” said Self TODAY. “Most people can cut their food expenditure by 10 to 30 percent.”

One of the most important things to consider when creating a spending reduction plan is to be realistic about how much time you will spend preparing food at home versus buying processed or pre-cooked foods. If you can buy whole ingredients and spread them over many meals, you can save a lot compared to buying pre-made lasagna, soup or frozen pizza.

2. Take an inventory

“The next step is to evaluate what you can currently use, like frozen vegetables and canned foods, but also evaluate what you are unlikely to be using, like random spices and ingredients that you might have bought a specialty recipe for,” she said TODAY. “You want to use what you have as much as possible, but avoid buying more of the same products that land in the trash. It could be a bottle of salad dressing or a glass of some special hot paste that you’ve never used. “

Write down the products that you use the most and rarely throw away, and these will be essential when creating a shopping list. Self checks her shopping list and budget for a month to see how much she wants to spend and leaves out the single-use ingredients – for example an interesting ingredient for a certain recipe. Perhaps there is a replacement that falls under the frequent use category. Alternatively, you can research some recipes with this ingredient to make sure you get more meals out of it.

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3. Make a meal plan

Another part of a great list is meal planning for the week (or two weeks, depending on how often you shop). Make sure many of the items on your list can be used with more than one meal (e.g., chicken legs for sale can be cooked, shared, and turned into curry one night and tacos the next) or make enough to have leftovers for lunch so you don’t have to buy extra.

“Change the way you have dinner,” Matlock said TODAY. “You don’t have to cook steaks and scallops every night. You can check out some inexpensive options that work well for the whole family. For example, you can try your hand at cooking omelets. All you need is some eggs, peppers, cheese, and onions and you have a pretty good meal. You can also have old-fashioned rice and beans. “

Substituting meat for vegetarian meals in your menu on some evenings can also cut costs. High protein legumes like beans are one of the cheapest healthy foods, can be purchased in bulk, and have a long shelf life, which reduces food waste.

3. Once you’ve made a list, stick to it

McCrohan said “impulse buying” is one of the easiest ways to spend too much money. Because of this, she (and most grocery shopping experts) does not advise shopping when hungry.

“Never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach,” McCrohan said TODAY. “You will end up buying more groceries than you need. You can also have lots of snacks that you didn’t want.”

So be sure to have a snack or meal before you shop (whether online or in-store) and know what you are buying and how much you are spending before you start.

4. Watch out for sales and compare prices

According to McCrohan, promotions and coupons have also suffered a bit as manufacturers try to dampen demand.

“Typically, in a month (before the pandemic), about 31.5% units have been promoted and we are currently seeing about 28% units are currently being sold under the promotion,” she told TODAY.

While this drop in sales is noticeable to the consumer, there are still plenty of ways to keep track of sales so you can save money. Here are a few:

  • McCrohan said he should always compare unit prices (on the small label before eating in the store), especially between national brands and private label. You’ll notice huge differences in costs and which brands to put on your shopping list. Often the own brand and the national brand are processed in the same plant anyway.
  • Sign up for the grocery store loyalty program wherever you shop. Most stores have member-only offers that can be used in place of or in addition to coupons.
  • If the store you go to has a discounted item area with dented cans, damaged packages (unless the inside is tampered with or opened), and one-time items, shoppers can get great deals.
  • According to Matlock, he and his wife saved about $ 150 on their monthly grocery budget by shopping at cheaper grocery stores. “Most people feel they have to shop in high-end grocery stores to find quality groceries. However, my wife and I continued to shop at Lidl and Aldi, and we have no complaints. Sure, you can’t always do that.” . ” you can find it all in these stores. But you can find the essentials like milk, bread, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables, “said the financial coach TODAY.
  • Matlock also points out that cash discount apps are very helpful. “There are a lot of them out there. Personally, we use Ibotta and we usually get back about $ 20 (to) 30 a month,” he said. “Sure, it’s relatively tiny. But every little bit helps! Most of them are easy to use and come with discounts for items we actually use and stores we actually shop at.

5. Store while you can

Expecting food costs to rise in the next few months, Self said he should stock up on pantry staples that can be used for the next several months or even year-round. Look for sales and buy in bulk to save money in the long run.

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6. Invest in a freezer or additional storage space

While this may not be an option for everyone (and that’s perfectly fine), buying an extra freezer or looking for an affordable used one can be very helpful when it comes to redeeming the best deals. For example, if chicken costs 0.99 cents a pound, buy multiple packages and store them. The same applies to can sales or times when items that are stable in storage are sold on a large scale. A little extra storage can go a long way.

Joy Bauer gives tips on how to organize your pantry

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

When life hands you lemons, you make Keto cookies

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Rita DeMontis Lydia Girges, owner of Keto Kookie Co., started her hugely successful cookie company after losing her job in the pandemic Lydia Girges, owner of Keto Kookie Co., started her hugely successful cookie company after losing her job in the pandemic Photo by Hana El Zohiry Hez Photography /Keto Kookie Co.

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The pandemic has caused so much disruption on different levels – personal, financial, emotional and physical, not to mention health. Many people reported gaining weight, others struggling with weight problems took the opportunity to shed unwanted pounds.

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Lydia Girges lost weight during the pandemic after having great success on the high-fat, low-carb keto diet – but in ways she never could have imagined. The young Toronto-based entrepreneur who worked in the food, beverage, and events industries for years started the keto program in the year of COVID-19’s decline and was suddenly while she was happily shedding 50 pounds during the worst of the pandemic unemployed thanks to the virus.

Two losses in one – weight and job – got her into a Plan B and a successful new career as her own boss.

Your new business? Keto foods, especially keto cookies, and what started as a special diet treat she baked for herself has grown into a nationwide grocery store called Keto Kookie Co. that continues to grow every day. A business she started less than a year ago.

Cookies from Keto Kookie Co. Hana El Zohiry Photo / Hez Photography Cookies from Keto Kookie Co. Hana El Zohiry Photo / Hez Photography Photo delivered by /Keto Kookie Co.

“In the past eight months, transitioning to this new role at my company has been extremely exciting, rapid, challenging … and humbling,” Girges said in a recent interview.

“I actually kept working on all of the COVID challenges, even though many of the events I was involved in were canceled. But I lost my job last November. My last day of work was December 31, 2020. “

Girges says the initial loss of her career and source of income was “devastating. I was confused – we were experiencing a global pandemic that seemed to never end. And I wondered if I could ever go back to the work I loved. “

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The dedicated entrepreneur said she needed to “stay busy” and immediately began developing business ideas that would enable her to potentially start a new career, certainly a new role.

Enter Keto: “I had been on the keto program since 2019 and had lost 50 pounds. The program helped me lose weight and I honestly felt great. While this program is not for everyone, it has brought me many of the health benefits that I have been looking for. “

Girges admits that she recognized keto, with all of its food requirements, as “an emerging industry in Canada,” especially since it was sourcing foods that she could eat. “I wanted healthy foods that are appetizing and make you feel normal – and I’ve looked for these foods everywhere.”

And so it started. With cookies that she baked herself. Their cookies had a wonderful taste and texture but were made without sugar, gluten, grains and were GMO free.

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One can imagine Girges nibbling on one of her cookies while, with the help of a friend, hatches a business plan to create the same delicious, nutritious cookies for the masses. “I decided to take a leap of faith and start a small business until the world was up and running again and I could go back to work,” said Lydia. “My mission was to make healthy, organic, guilt-free cookies that were made from simple and clean ingredients, but also looked and tasted delicious.”

A business plan was drawn up while Lydia researched all about cookies. Recipes were tested, an Instagram account set up and the Keto Kookie Co. was born.

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“The whole process took over two weeks to complete – over the holidays,” said Girges, still marveling at the speed with which she had started her company. At first, Girges just took orders, created the cookies, created a marketing plan, sourced and bought the ingredients, juggled the finances – and even delivered the cookies in person.

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To her surprise, when the news spread, business exploded and orders tripled. Well-known grocery stores, like Toronto’s iconic Summerhill grocery market, knocked on. Girges has started shipping biscuits across the country. And the orders from the grocery store came and came – all within a few months.

Girges couldn’t keep up on its own, so I found a professional kitchen, dedicated staff, including a baker and a delivery man. I am now looking for a pastry chef. “

Even their cookie selection has grown to include more than 25 innovative flavors, with a spinning repertoire that includes traditional favorites like chocolate peanut butter cups, citrusy coconut lime, milk and granola, to name a few – all post-keto -Program.

“That sounds a little crazy, but COVID … gave me the opportunity to sit down by myself and say, ‘Why not?’ This should be a sideline until my work called me back. It is now my own company and I can only say that I am incredibly happy and blessed to have this opportunity. “

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Her future looks bright and bright – business is booming and Girges is looking to expand into grocery stores and supermarkets across the country.

“It’s amazing what you can do when faced with adversity – I lost my job to COVID,” said Girges. “I feel so happy now. And really blessed. “

https://www.instagram.com/ketokookieco/https://www.facebook.com/Keto-Kookie-Co @ketokookieco; #ketokanada

With keto. keep pace

The insane search for the best weight loss program left millions searching the internet for ideas and guidance. Keto, or the ketogenic diet, was one of the most popular searched by UK-based Jackandbeyond.com/collections, making it the most wanted weight loss program alongside Paleo.

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The high-fat, low-carb diet was crowned the most popular with the highest number of Instagram hashtags.

According to https://www.healthline.com, keto is a metabolic state in which the body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. “It is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that bears many similarities to the Atkins and (other) low-carbohydrate diets and involves a drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake and its replacement with fat. This reduction in carbohydrates puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, which allows the body to “burn calories for energy,” adds Healthline.

Keep in mind that this is not a one-size-fits-all program and there are several versions.

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Weeknight family dinners | Home & Garden

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Recently a meme was circulating on social media that said, “School is back in class, so we can have dinner at 4 or 9 pm.” As the parents of three children, two of whom are involved in several extracurricular activities, I was deeply impressed by this simple sentence. When it comes to meal planning, I spend far too much time figuring out what and when to feed my children and I would bet a lot of money that I am not alone in this fight.

In the past, extracurricular activities often took place right after school and there was little, if any, travel. The children could safely ride their bikes home from training, where they came with their family for a home-cooked meal around dinner. Unfortunately, a lot of this has changed in the last decade and family meals are almost obsolete. Instead of slowing down and reconnecting over a leisurely meal, many parents desperately hand out burgers and fries in the car to over-scheduled children, wondering how life got so hectic.

How many people do I miss these seemingly simpler times and often wonder how other families deal with the insane pressures and time constraints we are all under while eating nutritious meals. At the beginning of each school year, I ask my friends what they feed their families for dinner. I ask them to share their simplest recipes, and I hope that one of them will give me some advice that will make me feel like this huge, meal-centered puzzle has been solved. Instead, I often get answers that reflect my own dinner dilemmas and groans at the impossible task of feeding people who all have different schedules.

I turn to Google a lot for advice, but instead of feeling like things have been simplified, I am faced with hundreds of “simple” meals that make me feel completely overwhelmed. Also, many of these online recipes during the week are heavily based on meat that can be cooked in a slow cooker for hours. This is a great option if your family is a carnivorous bunch, but when you’re trying to cut down on the amount of meat you consume, these recipes won’t always be very helpful. Realizing that my family’s needs were not being met by my online searches, I decided to create a few meals that were easy to prepare and based on easy-to-find, real-life ingredients.

Below are some incredibly delicious meals that are in heavy rotation at home. They can be cooked ahead of time, require minimal cooking and prep, pack a hefty nutritional value, and can be customized to please everyone who gathers around my kitchen table. Leftovers are rare, but when they do, all of these meals keep well in the refrigerator and travel well in the school lunch box.

The first (and probably my family’s favorite) meal is sesame noodles. Here, cooked soba noodles (or whole grain spaghetti) are paired with soy sauce, mirin, toasted sesame oil, and sliced ​​green onions. This dish is served immediately, but served cold, with slices of cucumber or fried vegetables, makes it even more delicious. These noodles never get mushy and the longer they sit, the better the taste. So they’re a great option if you have kids who come and go at different times.

Another dinner at our house is something my family affectionately refer to as “stuff on a plate”. This meal originated when I was pregnant with my son and my morning sickness was so severe that the thought of cooking something rolled over me in huge waves of nausea. My husband was working in a different city at the time, and I knew that if I didn’t want my little daughters to survive for months on top of cold cereal, I had to come up with something that we could throw together in no time and that would keep me far away Stove.

Stuff on Plate is exactly what it sounds like. It’s basically a lazy mezza and a carefree sausage. I usually like to make a large serving of homemade hummus (it’s easier than you think!), Reheat some pita, and search the fridge and cupboards for anything that needs to be used. That random half block of cheddar cheese hanging in the crisper? Cut it into cubes and toss the stuff on the plate. The apple someone took a bite of and tossed back into the fruit bowl? Halve, throw the half eaten part to the squirrels and shape the good half into apple slices. Other foods that go well with Stuff on a Plate are olives, nuts, and lightly steamed vegetables. But honestly, just use the foods your family loves to eat. This is an all-time crowd-pleaser, and if you serve it on paper plates with tiny toothpicks, everyone will think you’re a total rock star.

The last simple weekday meal I want to share with you is soup. My husband likes to make fun of me because I could easily eat soup every day, even if it’s unbearably hot outside. I firmly believe that dinner will always end up being effortless and enjoyable when you have some great soup recipes in your pocket.

In the summer, when the garden vegetables are at their peak, I love making a giant pot of minestrone, a versatile, delicious soup that highlights any seasonal vegetable. I love adding beans or chickpea noodles to my minestrone for a little protein and extra nutrition because they add incredible flavor and texture, but they are completely optional.

In winter I make all kinds of meatless stews, chowders and bisques. These soups are creamy, hearty, and incredibly filling. Plus, they’re wonderful to freeze and reheat, which means that when you double your recipe you’ll always have a stash of soup on hand, just waiting to be reheated and served with a crusty bread or crunchy green salad .

If you’re on a break from cooking, I recommend giving some of these simple meals a try. They’re perfect for busy families looking to find easy ways to enjoy the benefits of stress-free family meals.

However, don’t be too strict with yourself when you pull into the drive-through from time to time. We all do our best, and sometimes there’s nothing like a hot, salty french fry.

Sesame noodles (for 4 people)

Ingredients:

¾ pounds of soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti

Cup of regular or low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons dead

3 tbsp toasted sesame oil

3 spring onions, thinly sliced

Preparation:

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

While the pasta is cooking, stir together the tamari, mirin, and toasted sesame oil in a large bowl.

When the pasta is ready, drain, rinse with cold water and add directly to the bowl with the sauce; throw to combine.

Cover the sesame noodles with sliced ​​spring onions and serve.

Simplest, creamiest hummus

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas, drained; Reserved liquid

¼ cup tahini

1 clove of garlic, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt (optional)

Preparation:

Place the drained chickpeas, tahini, and garlic in a food processor and blend until the ingredients blend. Slowly add the reserved chickpea liquid until the mixture reaches the consistency you want. Add lemon juice and salt (if used) and serve.

You can also top this hummus with sliced ​​cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm pita slices.

Lana Shovlin is a freelance writer who lives in Springfield with her husband and three children, all of whom love to eat vegetables. Always trying to choose healthy foods, she wholeheartedly agrees with Julia Child that when it comes to meals, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just great food made from fresh ingredients.”

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

The Healthy Costco Frozen Food Items You Have to Try

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When you think of shopping for healthy foods, you probably think of whole foods. Well, we have news for you: Costco’s freezer department is also packed with tons of healthy items! Read on to take a look at some of our favorite Costco frozen food finds we spotted on Instagram fan accounts like @costcohiddengems, @costcobuys, and @costco_doesitagain.

Protein wafers

Do you want something sweet for breakfast and still be healthy? These high protein power waffles are the answer. They taste like buttermilk and vanilla, have 10g of protein per serving and are mainly made from whole grain products.

These should definitely be on your list if you’re not getting enough protein.

Sweet potato fries

Fries can’t be beat, but they aren’t the healthiest. Enter: Sweet Potato Fries. This pack eliminates the need for peeling and chopping – just open it and throw it in the oven for baking. They are also vegan and gluten free.

Here’s why you might want to switch to sweet potato fries.

Vegetable protein wrap

Would you like to supply your system with electricity? Come on in: this delicious falafel wrap with lemon and garlic hummus. Each wrap contains 14g of protein and can be heated in the oven or microwave, giving you a healthy, tasty, plant-based meal on days when you don’t have time to cook.

Check out these simple plant-based recipes for more food ideas.

Organic vegetable lasagna

We all love a good lasagna, but it’s definitely not the healthiest option for dinner. Fortunately, this frozen vegetarian lasagna can help save you time and give you a health boost! It’s packed with 18g of protein per serving and 9g of whole grains that are good for your heart.

Check out these great whole grain recipes.

Beyond plant-based burger pies

Whether you’re a die-hard Burger King’s Impossible burger fan or just want to see what all the fuss is about, Costco has a great option for plant-based burgers lovers. Frozen Beyond Burger Patties are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and contain 20 grams of vegetable protein in each serving.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower is so good for you, and if you’re on a keto diet, it’s a great way to marginalize carbs. With roasted zucchini, yellow and green peppers, onions, and a delicious 3 cheese mix, this is a veggie-filled treat everyone will love.

Deep Dark Chocolate Frozen Dessert

Looking for a healthy alternative to chocolate ice cream? You have it. This deep dark chocolate frozen dessert is vegan, gluten-free and filled with creamy avocados, which makes it the perfect after-dinner treat.

Chicken enchiladas in green tomatillo sauce

Enchiladas might not be the healthiest, but these have a twist – they’re made with chicken and cheese tortillas! Yes, they’re a grain-free, gluten-free, low-carb alternative to your regular enchiladas, with 20g of protein and 2g of net carbohydrates per serving, making them perfect for a keto diet.

Now that your shopping cart is full of healthy meals and snacks, learn how to maximize your savings with these helpful shopping tips from Costco.

The Healthy Costco Frozen Food Items You Must Try post first appeared on Taste of Home.

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