World food prices rose to an all-time high in January, CNN reports this week. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index, the cost of a basket of basic food supplies--sugar, cereals, dairy, oils and fats and meat—rose by 3.4 percent in January to its highest level since records began in 1990. It was the seventh monthly increase in a row.
For many Americans, stagnant (and even declining) wages are not keeping up with soaring grocery bills. For help with my strained budget, I turned to Deborah Huso’s article “Eat Well, Spend Less” in Natural Home. Huso offers the following advice:
1. Shop for produce in season when it’s cheapest.
2. Buy less expensive, organic grocery-store brand staples such as cereals and rice.
3. Make extra of freezable meals such as soup or casseroles so you use them later.
4. Stock nutritious, economical standbys including rice and pasta, frozen vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and dried herbs and spices.
5. Stock canned or dried beans, a low-cost staple that’s loaded with fiber and potassium.
6. Eat eggs. They’re protein-packed and cost about 23 cents a piece.
7. Enhance budget-friendly basics such as pasta and rice with flavorful, health-enhancing ingredients such as in-season produce, herbs and roasted root vegetables.
8. Use all the food you buy. Prepare as much as possible in advance so you don’t waste food that spoils before you turn it into meals. Cut up fruits and vegetables the day you purchase them so they’re ready to eat or cook with.
9. Stick to your grocery list. Don’t engage in impulse buys, especially if they’re not good for you.
Eggs are a low-cost, protein-packed staple.