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How to Shop on a Budget - 4 tips you should know during a food shortage

We all have been impacted by the rising food prices that our global pandemic and the social unrest in other countries have caused (1). The global food system is being affected on a number of levels due to the impacts from climate change, covid-19, the war and energy shock per the Economist - The Coming Food Catastrophe.

Many around the world are struggling to provide food on their tables. This is why we would like to shed some light on how you can purchase nutritious foods even when your budget is tight. The USDA has put together a list of tips for shopping on a budget. Here, we will highlight 4 of those tips (2).

First, plan your meals a week in advance (3). It is advised that you search your kitchen for the foods that you already have on hand and come up with meals using these foods. Then, you may go ahead and make a list of the meals that you will eat for a week and the ingredients that will need to be purchased for them. Following a meal plan should absolutely help in avoiding unnecessary purchases.

Second, consider buying fruits in season. During a food shortage, it is understandable that some of us may be looking for food items to cut out of our shopping list. But, fruits should definitely still be among your kitchen’s “must-have’s.” Their high fiber and potassium content make them a game changer when it comes to battling your menstrual cramps and improving your mood (4). Buying fruits in season may cost you less, as well. The USDA has a website that is specifically designed for letting consumers know which fruits are in season (5).

Third, give regular brown rice and old-fashioned oats a try instead of the instant versions of these food items. Though carbohydrates get a bad rap, they are the main fuels that your brain and blood cells use. So, keeping carbohydrate foods in your kitchen is a dietitian-approved decision. However, not all carbs are created equal. Whole grain carbohydrates contain A LOT of fiber, which is super important in keeping your blood sugar in check (6). Keep blood sugars stable is an essential ingredient for hormone health for girls and women, regardless if you have diabetes or not.

If you are searching for whole grain options, brown rice and oats are excellent choices.

According to market research, currenlty, a 32-oz bag of brown rice is about $1.37 (4.3 cents/oz) -this can feed a large family, several times! Try to avoid the instant versions of these foods since they tend to have added sugar/salt and are typically more expensive.

Fourth, introduce yourself to dried legumes -- your best friend. They are high in fiber and loaded with antioxidants. Legumes are so versatile. They can be used to cook stews, soups, loafs, or pastries. Also, their iron content makes them an excellent choice for women contemplating pregnancy (7) or for girls and women who are menstruating. One pack of dried legumes can serve 3-4 people, and they are shelf-stable, possibly lasting a year without spoiling.

Need some guidance about how to create yummy recipes with these foods? Connect with us and book a Discovery Call to speak with our women’s health dietitian and wellness practitioner to see how we can help you meet your health goals - gain access to our support team, resources, and more!

1. Food supply chain. USDA.

2. Tips - Best buys for cost and nutrition. USDA.'sTight.pdf

3. Menu planning. Iowa State University: Extension and Outreach.

4. Why is it important to eat fruit? USDA.


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