These days we’re all time-poor and stress-rich. Add to that, soaring prices at the supermarket, a few screaming kids and trying to shop smart becomes a disaster. The thing is, supermarkets are way smarter than we give them credit for. They know that by the time you get to the till you’re way more likely to throw in an impulse buy like a Peppa Pig magazine that costs €5, than when you walk in the door, for example. They know that the smell of freshly baked bread will make you load up on pastries and baguettes, and that the sound of classical music can lull you into a state of distraction that makes you all the more ready to part with your cash than if you were listening to the best of Eminem, for example. The good news is, with a little planning, and a lot of know how, it’s entirely possible to do your food shopping on budget, and in a healthy, delicious way.
Look out for fruit and veg that has been grown nearby. With so many discount supermarkets offering exceptional value on fruit and vegetables from far flung countries, we can totally understand the temptation to ignore this idea, but the fact is, the further away your veggies come from, the more nutritionally compromised they will be. Apples and potatoes can be stored for up to six months before they make it to supermarket shelves, and greens like spinach can lose up to 90% of its vitamin C within 24 hours of picking. Choose local farmers and know that you are feeding your family the most nutritious food possible… and saving on food miles too.
Try to eat as seasonally as possible. Food that is in season, is more plentiful, and therefore generally available at a more reasonable price. Simples, right? Well, no. We are so conditioned to see all kinds of food, all of the year round that most of us don’t have a clue what’s in season right now.
Consider The Tin
We have a bit of an attitude when it comes to tinned stuff here in Ireland, but on de continent, they’re mad about the stuff. It’s time for us to redress this balance, and let you know that our store cupboards are chock full of tinned fish, pulses and legumes. We love tinned fruit for baking, and the quickest and most delicious meal can be cobbled together with a few tins and some fresh herbs (tomatoes, chickpeas, anchovies – I’m talking to you).
Roam the clearance aisle
Meat that will be out of date today can be cooked and frozen and provide a dinner or two for the week to come. The same for most of this aisle. We pick up stale bread and whizz it into crumbs, buy most of the meat and freeze it with marinades or cook it into a stew or pie and bake with any berries we can find past their best.
Finally, Make A List and stick To It!
Stock take your store cupboard before you shop, therefore never falling into the habit of buying stuff you just don’t need (40 bags of pasta, anyone). Make a list and stick to it (stupid).
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