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We all have to eat, but wouldn’t it be nice to do it for less money?

Even in these inflationary times, there are ways to trim your grocery bill but still fill up on delicious, healthful foods.

Here are seven tips to save some pennies without sacrificing taste or nutrition:

Price matching

A variety of apps and websites help with price-matching groceries to get the best bang for your buck .Doing your homework and planning your grocery trip in advance with apps can help save some money and keep you organized while shopping.

Here’s a list of apps to download that might help you budget:

  • Reebee: A well-designed, ad-free price matching app that’s easy to use. Using your postal code, it lists all the flyers of nearby stores, and allows you to add to a shopping list, which is sorted by grocer.
  • The app can be an effective way to price match as grocery deals in each category are broad and can be easily shown to a cashier. It lists various categories that allow you to price match grocery staples such as bananas, cereal, fruit and cat food.
  • Flipp: A great app if you’re tracking the prices of higher-cost products such as organic milk, steak or fish. Flipp has more features than some of the other price-matching apps, like a “watch list” of items you wish to track, which brings up a list of sales of those items in your area.
  • Smartcanucks: This app is less grocery-specific making it more suited to the user who wants to know about a multitude of deals in the neighbourhood. It also uses an alphabetized list of Canadian flyers from a variety of merchants, which include small food marts, health food shops and ethnic grocery stores. And you’ll find larger retailers that sell fast food, clothing, furniture, electronics, housewares, luggage and cosmetics.

Buy fresh vegetables when they’re in season and freeze the leftovers

Buying produce when it’s in season means you’re getting the best quality at the best value, according to chef Jamie Oliver. As he wrote in The Globe: Buy produce in bulk where possible, and ask sellers when they expect a glut of an item so you can snag a bargain. Try turning a load of overripe tomatoes into soups or sauces, and freeze what’s left over. Or tuck some fresh produce into the freezer and easily whip up a smoothie later.

Consider canned and frozen foods

Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables come with an unwarranted stigma of being unhealthy or lazy. These foods are not only cheaper but also last longer in your freezer or pantry, which can help reduce food waste, as Globe personal finance reporter Salmaan Farooqui recently wrote.

Frozen produce may also be higher in nutrient content than its fresh counterparts since it’s flash-frozen right after harvest.

Maude Morin, a registered dietitian with JM Nutrition in Toronto, is a strong believer in the cost savings and health factors of frozen food. As she told Farooqui, unprocessed or lightly processed frozen meats are a great alternative to fresh meat because the shelf stability will help bring down prices.

She adds that with canned vegetables, many of the nutrients are sometimes lost into the liquid in the can. To maximize the nutritional value of a can of vegetables, consider adding the liquid to a stir fry or into the water you use to cook rice.

People who are looking for cheaper animal proteins can consider canned tuna, sardines and even canned chicken.

Registered dietitian and Globe contributor Leslie Beck recommends keeping these long-lasting foods in the freezer or pantry:

  • Canned fish: Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and herring, are an exceptional source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid that enhances the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other.
  • Sunflower seeds: Compared to nuts and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds are much less expensive. They’re also an outstanding source of vitamin E, an antioxidant needed for healthy immune and brain function.
  • Dried fruits: A healthy snack to keep on hand that can have a long shelf life and complement any dish.
  • Breakfast cereals: Beck says to make sure your staple cereals are whole grain and have at least 5 grams of fibre and no more than 6 grams of sugar a serving.
  • Pasta and grains: Whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa, typically keep for one year, and longer if stored in the fridge.
  • Nut and seed butters: Peanut butter, almond butter and tahini are staples for toast, smoothies and dips. Once opened, regular peanut butter will keep for three months (unopened, six to nine months).

Trade meat for beans

Lentils cost a fraction of the price of meat, so swapping the two can be cost effective while helping the environment. It’s estimated that food production accounts for approximately one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Beans are also incredibly nutritious, offering plenty of plant protein, fibre, folate, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.

Beck suggests adding plant-based meals to your weekly rotation to save money. Here’s a list of some meat alternative proteins to try:

  • Pulses: Beans and lentils are packed with nutrients. One cup of black beans delivers 15 g of protein, along with 15 g of fibre and plenty of folate, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts are an easy way to add protein to meals and snacks. One-quarter-cup of almonds has 7.5 g protein; an equivalent serving of pistachios provides 6 g.
  • Whole grains: Teff, a gluten-free whole grain, delivers 10 g of protein per one cup cooked; it’s also a good source of fibre, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. Add it to stews and pilafs, toss cooked teff into salads or serve it as porridge.
  • Tofu: The firmer the tofu, the higher its protein content. Per 3.5 ounce serving, firm tofu has 17 g protein, while soft tofu has 7 g.
  • Tempeh: A 3.5 ounce serving of tempeh contains 20 g of protein, 11 g of fat and 7 g of carbohydrates. It’s also a good source of fibre, iron, potassium and magnesium.

Reduce food waste

One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to use our resources most efficiently. Experts suggest monitoring household food waste to see what regularly gets tossed out. Plan your grocery list before you go, buy only what you need, store foods properly and find uses for leftovers.

Reducing waste can also mean making meals with a jumble of leftovers – like a casserole. Cookbook author Amy Rosen created four cheap, easy casserole recipes for breakfast, dinner and dessert. Other ideas: Store bread in a bread box to extend its shelf life; make soups, stocks or broths with old veggies; or make biscuits with dairy that’s about to go sour.

Cook from your countertop

As our utility bills are also on the rise, it makes sense to use the energy we’re already paying for. Food writer Julie Van Rosendaal says smaller appliances, like toaster ovens and air fryers, draw about half the energy of a full-sized oven and generally don’t require preheating.

When you do turn on the oven, use it to the maximum. There’s likely space to cook something extra while you’re at it; tuck a few potatoes or foil-wrapped beets directly on the oven rack, or roast a whole squash and you’ll have a head start on future meals..

Try making some recipes from scratch

If you’re having a dinner party, try using some of these inflation-busting recipes from Van Rosendaal – from homemade risotto to seasonal pasta with veggies, they make use of ingredients that are often already in your fridge. These recipes also try to stretch small quantities of pricier ingredients further, and make use of summer vegetables at their peak – both in quality and affordability.

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