Guest post from Jacqueline Smith
In a perfect world, eating lots of produce would be easy, economical, and fun for the whole family. But let’s face it: we all struggle with eating fresh fruits and vegetables for one reason or another.
The good news is, the more organized we are, the more we save on produce. Here are five tips to help you save money on produce:
1. Start your meal plan before you shop…but don’t limit yourself to it.
Meal planning is an essential part of making sure that you use up all of your produce, but you don’t want to handcuff yourself to buying just what’s on your meal plan as you shop.
The solution? Complete about 50% of your week’s meal plan before you head out the door. Once you have a chance to see what’s on sale and what looks freshest at your supermarket, buy those items, too, and finish up your meal plan when you get home.
2. Buy in-season produce. Skip the (expensive) rest.
We all know not to buy watermelon in February, but what about the fruits that are available year-round like apples (or vegetables made available year-round like sweet potatoes)? You may not notice because it inches up slowly, but the price of apples can go up as much as 50 cents per pound when they’re out of season.
The solution? Skip apples in the spring and summer. Buy berries and melons and other spring/summer fruits instead. Before you know it, fall will swing around again, and apples will come back down in price. This interactive map from Epicurious can help you know what’s in season in your region.
3. Involve the whole family.
Make sure you keep your grocery list and meal-planning sheets somewhere in the house where the whole family can see them. Encourage everyone to add to the lists whenever they have a request or meal idea. This ensures that you’ll buy produce your family will be excited to eat.
4. Have a worst-case scenario soup and smoothie plan.
Some weeks, we all just get so busy that much of the produce we buy doesn’t get eaten by the end of the week.
The solution? Simply keep some soup stock on hand and make a soup with all of the leftover veggies from the week. Likewise, throw overripe fruit in your blender and make smoothies either with ice or frozen bananas. No wasted produce = no wasted money!
5. Celebrate your team work.
In order to keep your family eating lots of produce over the long run, take time at the the dinner table to celebrate how you all worked together to eat the most perishable food before it spoiled. A little praise goes a long way!
How do you save money on produce?
Jacqueline Smith loves to help families save big on produce using simple tools that simply work. You can read more about her at JacquelineSmith.com.