While this is bad news, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should give in to a fresh regimen of packed ramen once a day. Cheap eating doesn’t have to mean sacrificing nutrition, and you might be surprised to find that many options are healthier than their more expensive counterparts.
“Better pricing options may exist for those products that use less labor and energy to reach grocery store shelves,” says Scott Brown, PhD, assistant professor of extension at the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in Columbia. . Encouragingly, he also expects food CPI growth to slow by late fall this year. Until then, try these grocery swaps that will benefit your body as much as your bank account (prices may vary by region and change at any time).
1. Purchase: steel cut oats
Samantha Cassetty, RD, a plant-focused nutrition and wellness expert and co-author of sugar shock. She adds that research shows that oats contain a type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which makes them more filling. In one study comparing oat breakfast cereals with oatmeal, Cassetti explains that oatmeal comes out on top because it contains more beta-glucan, which helps suppress appetite. “Study participants ate less at lunch after breakfast with oatmeal, which may translate into cost savings as well,” she says.
According to the USDA, a quarter cup of granola, an oat-based type of cereal, contains slightly fewer calories per serving than the same amount of steel-cut oats but also has less protein, half the fiber and five times the amount of sugar.
At Kroger, an 11-ounce bag of Nature Valley Oats & Honey Protein Granola costs $5.49, but you can get a 24-ounce bag of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats for $3.79.
2. Buy: Seltzer
Not: diet soda
“Soda has gone up in price, and on top of that, soda has no nutritional value,” Cassetti says. While regular soda is one of the most important sources of added sugars in our diets, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, diet sodas may not be the best. A study published in 2019 in JAMA Internal Medicine There was an association between drinking two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day and an increased risk of premature death.
Cassetti recommends replacing both with seltzer water, a sparkling drink that still satisfies your carbonation cravings. You can get a 2-liter bottle of store-branded soda for less than $1, less than half the $2.29 price of Coca-Cola. If carbonated water doesn’t do it for you, Cassetti recommends a naturally flavored variety (at about 79 cents per liter). She suggests: “You can always add a little 100 percent juice to make it even sweeter.” “It contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but no added sugar.”
3. Buy: Lentils
Of all the aisles in the grocery store, the meat counter undoubtedly hurts shoppers’ wallets the most. Animal-based proteins have always been the pricier choices on shopping lists, and now, according to the USDA, New York steak comes in at $11.48 per pound (lb). “Higher ground beef prices may indicate that consumers are buying more ground beef products and fewer steaks to lower food bills, but this pays off. [the price of ground beef]Dr. explains. Brown. According to the USDA, during the week of July 15, 90 percent of ground beef cost an average of $5.29 per pound, up from $4.71 during the same period the previous year.
To counter demand and save money, try incorporating more plant-based proteins into your meal plan, such as lentils, Cassetty recommends, which are affordable (a 15-ounce package of organic lentils costs $1.30) and have a much longer shelf life. According to the USDA, half a cup of red lentils contains 26 grams (g) of protein and an additional 30 grams of fiber, while 4 ounces of 90 percent ground beef contains only 22 grams of protein and no fiber.
“If you’re not ready for a completely meat-free meal, you can boost your meat dollars by adding vegetables and other plant-based foods to your meals with meat,” Cassetti adds. “Make a grass-fed beef and lentil mixture. Fill 25 percent of your plate with tacos, 50 percent with vegetables, and 25 percent with whole grains, such as brown rice.”
4. Buy: ground turkey sausage
The national average price for bacon from July 15 to July 21 was $6.48 per pound, according to the USDA; Meanwhile, 85 percent ground turkey sausage was about half that at $3.51 a pound. Since ground turkey contains less saturated fat than bacon, it’s the healthier option of the two, according to Casey. Research has linked processed meats such as bacon, sausages, and sausages to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. That’s why Cassetti recommends eating bacon no more than once a month.
5. Buy: Whole Roaster
Not: chicken wings
Poultry is a popular lean protein — and extremely versatile, too — but prices are up more than 16 percent since last year, according to USDA data. You don’t have to give it up completely, but making smart decisions about which discounts to buy can lower your bill and provide more nutrition, too. Chicken wings are mostly made of bone, and they’re usually not prepared the healthy (think: fried and fried) methods. This is a situation to lose if you try to eat healthy food and get the most benefit for your money. Instead, choose a whole chicken, which is less money per pound (averaging $1.20 versus $3.53 per wings, per USDA), and enjoy it for multiple meals. As long as you don’t fry and remove the skin, the whole bird is full of lean, healthy meat that can be served in salads with vegetables. Even dark meat, although high in fat, is a good source of iron and other micronutrients.
6. Buy: canned chickpeas
A container of Sabra Classic Hummus costs about $4, while a can of hummus costs 79 cents. You can easily make your own preservative-free hummus (and other types of dips) at home by blending chickpeas (or any grain, really) and adding your favorite seasonings. Not to mention, chickpeas can serve as a protein in a salad or as a healthy roasted snack.
7. Buy: Almond milk
Not: half and half
Changing up your morning coffee routine can easily save you money and calories. According to the USDA, a half-and-a-half cup contains 317 calories, 10.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of sugar. The same amount of unsweetened almond milk has a creamy flavor for 39.3 calories, 3.4 grams of carbohydrates and 2.1 grams of sugar. Plus, it’s 20 cents cheaper for twice that price. Take Land O’ Lakes traditional half and half at $3.99 at Kroger versus Silk’s $2.99 unsweetened almond milk, for example.
8. Buy: antibiotic-free meat
Not: organic meat
If you usually buy organic meat, Casetty notes that you can swap out antibiotic-free poultry to bring it down to a lower level, in terms of price. “Antibiotic resistance is a major concern, and antibiotic use in animals is a major contributor to that,” she says. “So while the ‘Breeded Without Antibiotics’ label doesn’t address the animal’s living conditions or the environmental benefits of choosing organic foods, you’re still taking a big step.”
When scanning labels for “no antibiotics,” look for the USDA seal of approval as well—meaning the manufacturer has proven to the agency their animal husbandry practices. Other than that, you’re taking the brand’s word for it, which, unfortunately, isn’t always honest. Other vague antibiotic phrases used on the packaging include “raised no antibiotics” and “no medically important antibiotics.” Consumer Reportsthe latter means that antibiotics usually prescribed to humans were not used in production – absolutely none.