3 Easy Food Budgeting Tips and How It Can Reduce Your Food Costs

Health. Money. Food. The three most intertwined aspects of living are not getting any less stressful with the high inflation rates. In 2021, food prices increased by 3.9%, and they are expected to increase to as high as 5 to 7% with inflation in 2022. The average family will likely spend an average of $14,767 in 2022 on groceries, which is $966 more than last year. These numbers assume a meager 5% of food waste. If you are interested in checking out your specific age group and household, check out the report from Canada’s Food Price Report 12th Edition 2022.

3 Easy Food Budgeting Tips

We have to eat to live right – so, unfortunately, there’s no avoiding the rising costs. Plus, most people want to eat to stay healthy. Even though the financial pressure could feel like it is building to a high pitch annoying squeal in every part of your life, it is possible to reduce your food budget without compromising on the nutritional quality of foods to support your health. Will that even be possible come 2023, or will we be growing our food, looking like a version of the infamous pitchfork-farming couple?

1) Plan your meals and stick to your grocery list

  • Food Waste
  • Impulse Buys
  • Frequency Of Eating Out

Simple right? Easier said than done. Even if you planned your largest meal, like supper, it could immensely save you money. If you double your serving sizes for supper, you can pack leftovers for lunch the next day. To save even more time, consider bulk meal prepping your favorite recipes so you have extras in the freezer.

Ok, Chelsea, that sounds great, but how do I plan this? First, know yourself and know your needs. Do you prefer digital or written methods of planning? Do you love cooking and like to spend a couple of hours on meal prepping? Are you extremely busy and tired after work, so your max allowance is 15-20 minutes suppers? Do you need a break from cooking in your week? Can you eat the same thing repeatedly, or do you get food boredom?

So ask yourself:

How much time can I put into preparing meals & how often in the week do I need a break from cooking?  Most people I know have 15-30 minutes to put towards meal prep in the evenings. To lower stress, be realistic with how much margin you have for meal prep and clean up. The next step is finding recipes to match your time commitment. For example, if I have a week where I only have 15 minutes for suppers, I will buy or do the following:

  • Spinach or a salad kit to eat throughout the week
  • 0% M.F. Greek Yogurt + frozen fruit + granola for a yogurt parfait
  • Blue Menu frozen meals from Superstore
  • A cooked chicken and bread for sandwiches
  • I will scour my freezer for frozen leftovers that can be quickly defrosted.

But Chelsea – premade meals from the grocery store are unhealthy. Is that a good option? Well, yes and no. Premade meals tend to have higher sodium and fat. However, you can be selective by reading the nutrition labels and choosing healthier options. It beats getting stuck and ordering fast food, which is expensive and tends to be less nutritionally dense. The healthier alternatives for frozen meals are slightly more expensive. However, they will still be cheaper and more nutritious in the long run than ordering out.

At Eatuitive Nutrition, we set you up with a personalized meal plan using an AI meal planner that allows you to download grocery lists and set your cooking time preferences! We also offer individualized nutrition counseling that works for you by taking into account your lifestyle, food preferences, and current eating habits.

2.) Have a “Meatless Monday”

Non-meat sources of protein are lower in cost and pack a nutritional punch. Good protein sources are beans, lentils, edamame, eggs, greek yogurt and soy. Beans, lentils and edamame have the added benefit of fibre. Fibre and protein both help with feelings of fullness. Fibre has many benefits; for instance, it helps slow digestion to regulate blood sugar levels. Also, fibre contributes to a healthy gut microbiome which is linked to gastrointestinal and immune benefits. Aim for 1 cup of these options for your meals or snacks. Make vegetarian tacos or chilli or smashed avocado with eggs for dinner.

3.) Limit Alcohol Consumption to 0-2 Drinks per Week

Shocking updates from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) ask Canadians to reconsider their drinking habits. It was once thought that alcohol in moderation had some health benefits, but that has since been debunked. The new proposed guidelines suggest no more than two drinks a week for both men and women. If you drink alcohol regularly throughout the week, it might be no shock to you that the cost can add up. The CCSA has disclosed that 1 out of 100 premature deaths is associated with consuming six drinks per week. Alcohol consumption and risk of death seem to follow a linear trajectory. The more alcohol you drink, the higher the likelihood of developing related illnesses, such as liver cirrhosis, cancer, hypertension, and heart disease.

Wrapping Up: Easy Food Budgeting Tips

Now that you know these three easy-to-follow food budgeting tips, let us know what cost-saving practices you’ve been doing in your household in the comments. As long as you’re not compromising on nutritional quality, those practices will serve you well health-wise and money-wise.