Your Grocery Budget: Vegetables
As I mentioned in a previous post, be sure you are buying produce that is in season to save money. This can make a HUGE difference! You’ll generally find the seasonal fruits and vegetables 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, the website lists produce that is in season all year round.
When buying fresh vegetables, make sure you’re buying it in a quantity that you’ll be able to eat before it goes bad. I can’t tell you how many time's I've heard someone say that they buy fresh veggies with the good intention of preparing them, but end up throwing them away a week or two later. If you know you’re going to be busy for the next several days with minimal food preparation time, buying fresh might not be the way to go. Another thing to consider is packaged "convenience" produce - for example the pre-washed and cut peppers or asparagus you'll find shrink wrapped at the grocery store. Purchasing these items can save you a bit of time, which is beneficial to those with a busy schedule. On the other hand, you will typically be paying significantly more for these items than their unprepared counterparts.
Go to the farmers' market! This is a great way to get inexpensive fresh produce while supporting your local community. Why not start your own garden as well? It’s really neat to watch your vegetables grow and is also a great way to get kids excited about their food.
Canned vegetables are generally significantly less expensive than fresh. They can be quite high in sodium, so try to buy “low sodium” or “no salt added” kinds when possible. For an even better option, consider buying more frozen vegetables. Just take out what you need and save the rest for later. Frozen is less expensive than fresh and has the added bonus of no waste.
Overall, buying in season, comparing prices, and minimizing waste is going to set you up for success.