Rows of fresh produce in a supermarket.
NUTRITION
Centr Team

8 tips to slash your grocery bill as prices rise

Centr Team

It’s not just you or the town you live in: the cost of living is skyrocketing everywhere. There’s nowhere we’re feeling this more than in the grocery store, where food prices have recently hit record highs around the world. From a head of broccoli to a loaf of sourdough, it’s time to consider smarter ways to shop.

How does better food, less financial stress and reaching your fitness goals sooner sound? Getting your food budget right is the key to unlocking all of it. With your Centr meal plan as the starting point, providing a range of tasty recipe options for the week ahead, these budgeting tips will help you get the most out of your shopping and cooking without breaking the bank.

1. Look for fruit and veg that’s in season

Look around for bargains: as well as keeping your eye out for weekly specials in supermarkets, fruit and veg that are in season are usually cheaper. To take advantage of best prices, you can easily swap out the veg in many Centr recipes or swap to a different recipe.

Specialist greengrocers and farmers markets will often have deals on fresh produce later in the day, prior to closing. If you find your fruit is ripening all at once and going bad before you can use it, frozen fruit might be more cost effective; it works just as well in smoothies and many baked treats.

2. Bulk & batch

Get into the habit of reading those little price labels on the supermarket shelves that give you the cost-per-unit (usually per 100g, per kilogram, or per ounce), which makes it easier to spot the best price. You’ll find a larger quantity is often better bang for your buck. Bulk buying in order to do a batch cook-up of some of our favorite budget-friendly meals is a great way to fill your freezer for the weeks ahead.

Many food stores also offer a 'BYO' program for dry goods, where you can bring your own container and stock up on items like oats, nuts and grains. Bonus: you’re saving the environment while you shop!

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Dan’s Grilled Chicken & Warm Potato Salad is easy to make in bulk for family dinners and leftover lunches that don’t skimp on flavor.

3. Invest in staples

Pantry running on empty? Kickstarting a healthier lifestyle? Picking up new staples – like healthier oils, spices and grains – might initially feel like a budget blowout. But think of it this way: it’s an investment that will allow you to maintain (or completely revitalize) your home cooking.

Remember, a little goes a long way: you're not going to blow through that whole tub of protein powder or entire black pepper grinder in one week. If you can’t stretch to buy all your pantry staples in week one, stagger them across a few pay periods.

4. Use leftovers for multi-meal mileage

Leftovers don’t have to be soggy microwaved remains or mysterious “casseroles”. Using the “number of servings” feature on Centr recipes allows you to cook once and eat twice. Think dinner tonight and lunch for tomorrow. Time-saver! You can also make bulk portions to freeze for easy midweek dinners.

Even leftover bits and pieces can be used creatively – take Darren Robertson's 'zero waste' mindset and turn that cauliflower stem into 'rice', or switch out the fish in tomorrow's lunch bowl for your leftover teriyaki chicken. Vegetable offcuts, spare herbs and meat bones can become a home-made stock in your freezer. Extra canned beans can be blitzed up into healthy dips for a protein snack.

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A simple can of tuna is one of the most versatile staples you can have in your pantry, helping you to whip up all these dishes and more on a budget.

5. Get flexible

If you’re keeping an eye on this week’s specials, don’t be too stubborn with your shopping list: sometimes the best deal is for something that’s almost what you need. Proteins can be swapped like-for-like: if a lean cut of lamb is on special but the recipe calls for pork, or you can get two cans of chickpeas for the price of one tin of black beans, live a little. And if you know there’s another recipe in your meal plan that would suit the bargain better, swap them! It’ll keep your tummy and your wallet happy.

Just make sure you're still getting a variety of foods so you don't end up with repetitive dinners of chicken and broccoli. You still want a range of nutrients to fuel your workouts.

6. Grow your own

No, not a whole orchard (unless you’ve got one of those), but herbs! Cut herbs are often hit with a huge mark-up in stores. A tub of seedlings – think cilantro (coriander), parsley, basil or dill – will only set you back a few bucks, and a balcony, windowsill or backyard herb box means you get to enjoy fresh flavors as well as a sense of achievement!

7. Make it meat-free

If you’ve ever felt that your vegetarian and vegan friends seem to have a bit more spare change, you’re not imagining it. Meat can blow out the budget, and the prices of beef, pork and lamb are going up and up along with everything else. That doesn’t mean you won’t get your protein – there’s plenty to be found in things like tofu, tempeh, beans and grains. Add a meat-free Monday (in every Centr meal plan) to your week, or try swapping in some of the vegetarian and vegan recipes when you need a break from the butcher.

8. Save your budget Centr recipes

Watching your wallet doesn’t have to mean missing out on your favorite ingredients and flavors. We have midweek meal ideas that will keep you on budget and on point, whether you’re on a regular meal plan or cooking vegan. Having go-to recipes you know your household enjoys makes it easier to streamline your grocery shopping.

Looking for something you can make with what you’ve got at home? Try these easy and tasty pantry recipes.

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