Your Grocery Budget: Fruit
Produce can get pretty pricey at times. Make sure you are buying fruit that is in season to ensure that you're getting it at a lower cost. Generally, your seasonal fruits can be found in the front of the produce section. You can also check out the Fruits & Veggies More Matters’ website to get a list of fruits and vegetables that are in season for fall, winter, spring, and summer. In addition, this lists produce that is in season all year round.
When buying fresh fruit, make sure you’re buying it in a quantity that you’ll be able to eat before it goes bad. Throwing out food is like throwing out money! Buying in bulk (e.g. a bag of oranges rather than the single ones) can save a lot of money- although it doesn’t make sense if half of your fruits and vegetables are being thrown out. Consider going in with a friend or neighbor on these deals if you won’t be able to eat all of them.
Go to the farmers' market! This is a great way to get inexpensive fresh produce while supporting your local community. Try picking your own as well – it makes a great date or family activity, in addition to saving you dollars!
Freeze fruit before it goes bad. If your bananas are on the verge of turning too brown, peel and freeze them! Frozen bananas can be used for smoothies, protein drinks, banana bread and other recipes.
Canned fruit is a great option as it is generally less expensive than fresh fruit. Make sure to buy it packed in juice rather than syrup to reduce the amount of sugar you’re consuming. I really enjoy buying canned fruit as a back up for when I run out of the fresh stuff but can’t make it to the grocery store anytime soon.
Fruit from the frozen section is another great, economical choice. Frozen fruit usually does not have any extra sugar added- still, check the ingredients to make sure. Generally, the larger the bag of frozen fruit, the less expensive it is per ounce. Frozen fruit is also nice because you can just take out what you need without any waste.
Dried fruit is also an economical option. Be cautious as they are more calorie dense and usually have added sugar (with the exception of raisins). They can definitely fit in a healthy diet if you stick to a ¼ cup serving size.
Fruit juice is similar to dried fruit and it’s cheap, but a little goes a long way. If you have a habit of drinking large quantities, consider cutting it with water, or even with seltzer water to make a refreshing spritzer!
Overall, sticking to the basics, comparing prices and not letting waste happen is going to set you up for success. Fruit that has already been washed and cut up is going to cost you a lot more. And forget about those fruit squeeze pouches that became popular within the last few years. When it comes to your grocery budget, basic = better.