How to get more for your money and keep a balanced diet when shopping

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As the cost of filling the cart continues to rise, planning meals ahead, buying in season, and storing food properly can help you get more bang for your buck while eating a balanced diet.

Annual food prices rose 4.5% in December compared to December 2020, according to data from Statistics New Zealand.

This is the largest annual increase since September 2011, when annual food prices rose 4.7%.

The main contributor was the high price of tomatoes, the price of which almost doubled from $3.33 in December 2020 to $6.61 last year.

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A month earlier, in November 2021, fruit and vegetable prices rose 5.6%, meat prices rose 3.6% and grocery food prices rose 4.2% compared to November 2020.

In fact, food prices are up 4% year-over-year, a 15-month high.

Nutritionist Claire Turnbull shares her tips and tricks for saving <a class=money when groceries get expensive.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

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Nutritionist Claire Turnbull shares her tips and tricks for saving money when groceries get expensive.

Nutritionist Claire Turnbull says there are many ways people can continue to eat a balanced diet without breaking the bank.

“People keep talking about the price of fruits and vegetables, but the biggest cost to people is that once they have them in their homes, they don’t store them properly and they throw them away.”

Turnbull said the average New Zealand family wastes about 86 kilograms of edible food per year, worth more than $600.

Storing food properly will ultimately help you save money and keep your pantry and fridge full longer.

“There is little you can control over the price of food, but you can control how much you throw away.”

Food prices have never been higher, so how do you shop smarter to save money while eating a balanced diet?

Grant Matthew / Stuff

Food prices have never been higher, so how do you shop smarter to save money while eating a balanced diet?

Storing lettuce with a paper towel, keeping potatoes and onions away from each other, and cutting the bottom off broccoli and cauliflower and keeping it in water, are ways to keep food fresh. .

Bread is the most commonly thrown away food in New Zealand, so keeping it in the freezer to use only when needed will reduce waste.

Planting your own fruits and vegetables will also save you money, while having recipes planned out will save you from buying unnecessary things at the supermarket.

People often get stuck with the idea that meat and vegetables make a meal, which can end up being quite expensive, she said.

But buying versatile foods that can be used in multiple recipes and available year-round can help reduce the cost of weekly shopping.

At just 20c per half-cup serving, oats are a super versatile ingredient to store, Turnbull said. They aren’t just for breakfast either, and can be used in homemade baking, muesli and granola.

Mussels only cost around $2 for 150g, which equates to around 10, which Turnbull says is good value for the nutrition they provide. Along with being packed with more protein than three eggs, it will tick the box for the recommended daily intake of selenium, iodine, and omega 3s.

But eggs are still a good option, with two eggs costing between $1 and $1.50 depending on which one you buy. One egg contains approximately 6g of high quality protein as well as vitamins A, B12, D, E, iron, selenium, choline and more.

Beans, peas and lentils are nutritious, affordable and versatile packaged foods, she said.

A quarter cup of red lentils costs just 30c and half a can of chickpeas costs around 60c or less. They are low on the glycemic index and are an easy way to get fiber and add protein to a meal.

Frozen peas are available all year round, and a cup of peas not only has the goodness of most other vegetables with fiber and a range of vitamins and minerals, it also contains 8.4g of protein and does not will only cost about 50c.

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