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How to Eat on a Budget During These High Inflation Times

If you've been to the grocery store in the last year, you know that nearly every product is more expensive. Inflation in the United States has contributed to a major spike in food prices. If you're trying to purchase nutritious foods to help manage your diabetes, you may wonder how on earth you can buy nutritious foods with groceries being so pricey.

Although navigating the best prices while grocery shopping can be challenging, I want to share a few cost-saving ideas to try so you can continue to nourish yourself and your family.

Finding affordable fresh produce

"Ugly" vegetables and fruits

You've probably heard that grocery stores want to sell "pretty" vegetables and fruits without lumps, bumps, or other disfiguring elements. That means perfectly fine produce is going to waste.

New online markets sell those not-so-pretty fruits and vegetables. Usually, they offer produce delivery for their products. If you're interested in this service, Google "ugly vegetables" and learn more about the different companies that provide these items.

Buy local and in-season

Another option for securing affordable produce could be at a local farmer's market. The products and prices offered at farmers' markets are hit or miss. The products depend on your location and growing season. Sometimes farm stands or farmers' markets have great prices on local fruits, veggies, and eggs.

Keep produce fresh after buying

Often, the packaging of fruits and vegetables isn't optimal to keep them fresh after buying. To get the most bang for your buck with fresh vegetables and fruits, consider washing and chopping them as soon as you buy them.

Then, store them in proper containers depending on the item. You can put fresh berries in clear containers in the fridge. Some things like grape tomatoes and potatoes will stay fresh outside the refrigerator in a cool, dry place. A quick Google search for each item and its optimal storage can help increase your fresh produce's longevity!

Cook with dried beans and legumes

Beans and legumes are packed with fiber and are a low-cost plant-based protein option for people with diabetes. Beans are a decent source of protein, and they're much less expensive than proteins derived from animals (cheese, eggs, and meat).

Even though prices for everything have increased, dried beans and legumes are much cheaper than the canned and already-prepared versions. While using dried beans are a bit time-consuming to prepare, you can cook a large batch on the weekend. You'll have enough to add to burritos, whole-grain pasta dishes, or hummus.

Most beans and legumes can be cooked in a slow cooker, making the prep much easier than you might think. However, kidney beans are not safe if cooked in a slow cooker, so always double-check that what you're making is safe to eat!

Cooking your own meals for cost savings

Ultimately, cooking meals from scratch is the most reasonable way to keep food costs lower. While it's time-consuming and not always convenient, some planning can go a long way for cost savings. Cooking meals also allows you to customize each dish for the appropriate nutrients to keep your blood sugar stable.

Additional food budgeting ideas

Prepping grains

Another way to save money is to buy grains and prepare them yourself. For instance, if you buy a bag of brown rice and boil it yourself, the cost per serving is much lower than buying a frozen meal with a serving of brown rice.

Any grain you're cooking yourself, whether boiling whole grain pasta or making your own barley in a slow cooker, will be lighter on your budget.

Weekly circulars and coupons

Reading weekly mailed circulars and searching for digital coupons, visiting discount stores, and checking out local markets can help you get dairy and meats at a reasonable price. You can plan your family's meals around the meat on sale each week.

It's expensive out there, and keeping your food budget low is no easy task. But, staying on track with a well-balanced diet can be accomplished with some planning!

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