Saving on breads and grains

Full-frame picture of a variety of breadsBuy breads on sale, shop at bakery outlets, or check out the day-old bread bins at your grocery store to save a third to half the price.  You’ll probably find the best choices in the morning, when the breads are first marked down.  To store bread for later, use your freezer.  Wrapped bread will keep for up to three months.  Defrosting will take a few hours, but you can wrap it in foil and warm it in a preheated oven to thaw it more quickly.  If your bread is starting to get stale, enjoy it as toast or use it for croutons.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, cut stale bread into half-inch cubes, and spread the cubes on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Toast them at 350° for 10-15 minutes, turning them half-way through.  Or sauté the cubes in a small amount of butter on your stove top.  Day-old breads can be a great, tasty buy!

Feeding the freezer

Two one-pound packages of frozen ground beef wrapped in clear plasticWhat is “feeding the freezer?”  It’s just making extra of whatever you are cooking and freezing it for later.  For example, if broccoli or chicken are on sale this week, buy a little extra, cook it, and freeze what you don’t eat.   You can even freeze fruit when it’s in season and use it in smoothies or other fruit dishes.  Store your leftovers in single-serving freezer bags or containers, and date them so you know how long they’ve been frozen.  Then when you are in a hurry and don’t want to spend money to eat out, just grab what you want and reheat it. Or throw several items together for a delicious winter stew.  It’s great, healthy “fast food” right in your own kitchen!

Knowing your prices

Close-up of a woman using a calculator at the grocery storeLearn the prices of foods you buy most often, so you can tell whether a sale is really a bargain.  You might even write the prices in a little notebook.  Stores sometimes say a food is on “special” without lowering the price.  Beware of quantity specials, too.   Usually when an item such as pasta or canned soup is on sale for “10 for $10,” you don’t have to buy 10 to get the sale price. You can usually buy as few or as many as you like, and each one will cost a dollar. The sign should tell you if fewer would be priced differently.  And if you’re not sure, ask a store employee. The more you know, the more you can save.

Enjoying cabbage in season

A bowl of cole slaw with apples.Although the growing season for cabbage doesn’t start until the summer, now is the holiday season for it! Many people cook corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. There are several varieties of cabbage, but they’re all similar in taste and texture. Look for tightly packed heads of cabbage that feel heavy for their size and store in the refrigerator for a week or two. In addition to boiled cabbage eaten with corned beef, shredded cabbage is great for stir-fry, soups, and, of course, coleslaw. Cabbage is the main ingredient in coleslaw, but you can mix in fruits and other vegetables to add flavor and texture. Try adding apple, pineapple, pear, raisins, carrot, broccoli, or bell pepper. Enjoy cabbage this month and again this summer!

Eating healthy on the run

Close-up of green grapes and a granola barPack your own snacks when you’re on the go for the day. Think about the places where you could stop for a quick snack.  Many have hot foods, cold drinks, and long aisles to of candy and snacks to tempt you.    Avoid being tempted by taking a snack along with you when you’re away from home.  Pack plenty of water and snacks like fresh fruit, granola, or whole-grain crackers.  You’ll save money and eat much healthier.