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Dietitians Dish: Cut food costs in new year

By By Loretta Cordes
Jan. 3, 2012 at midnight
Updated Jan. 2, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.

Loretta Cordes

Now that the holidays are over, it is time to think about goals for the new year. Does food get wasted in your house on a regular basis? Does it seem like you eat out all the time? Is your grocery bill increasing? With ever-increasing food prices in an already tight economy, it is important to have a plan to help save on food cost.

Here are some tips to help you with meal planning and grocery shopping and at the same time, help reduce the cost of food.

Meal planning

Utilize leftovers. For example, use leftover meats, vegetables, rice and pasta to make a soup.

If you are not interested in eating leftovers right away, freeze them to eat at a later time.

If a lot of food is being left on the plate at mealtime, use smaller plates to decrease portion size and waste.

Take time to clean your refrigerator and freezer, and use up items that are about to expire. Also, rotate items in your pantry to avoid spoilage.

Grocery shopping

Have your grocery list ready before you enter the store. This will help lessen the chance of unnecessary purchases.

Make sure you plan your grocery store trip so that you will not need to make more than one trip during this week. The more times you have to go to the grocery store the more money you will spend.

If you use coupons, only use them for items that you buy frequently.

Take the time to scan the store flyer for items on sale. This will help on cost-cutting in the long run.

Make sure your kitchen is well stocked with food items to help prepare easy meals. Eating out frequently can bust any well-planned budget.

Meat can increase the total of any grocery bill. Use sparingly, and eat a smaller serving. Dried beans can be used in place of meat a few times per week.

Pay attention to produce prices. Limit your use of exotic fruits and out-of-season vegetables.

Buy bulk produce items, such as onions, potatoes, apples and oranges, to save money. Take the time to compare prices. For example, check the prices to see which type of tomatoes are the least expensive.

Decrease the amount of soda, chips, cookies and other snacks that you purchase. These items can bring the total of your grocery bill up quickly.

Loretta Cordes is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a Master's of Science Degree in Human Sciences and certified diabetes educator. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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