download (19)Save Money at the Supermarket


Food prices have been going up, and Sara Moulton, a chef, cookbook author and TV host, says she has started making different choices at the grocery store to lower her tab. Sara, host of PBS’ Sara’s Weeknight Meals and Food Network’s Sara’s Secrets, shares advice that will keep your family well fed without breaking the bank.

Eat Less Meat
Animal-based protein is expensive and, depending on the cut, contains a fair amount of saturated fat, which Sara says is not healthy. “I am not saying give it up; I am just saying to treat [meat] more like a flavoring and less like the center-of-the-plate item,” she says.

Go Vegetarian Once a Week
“There are many more vegetables at the supermarket to play with these days … I promise you, you won’t get bored,” Sara says. She suggests using legumes as the base of your vegetarian meal. “They are very, very filling and can be very tasty and last but not least, they lower your bad cholesterol,” she says.

Consider Eating Canned Fish
Many inexpensive fish that you find in a can or bottle, such as mackerel, herring and salmon, are the fish with the highest percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, Sara says. “Tuna, especially light tuna, is fine to have once a week too. It is perfect in a salad with white beans and vegetables or great in a sauce on top of pasta,” she says.

If you want to use canned salmon in a dish, try Sara’s recipe for Quick Salmon Cakes with Corn Salsa.

Join a Food Co-op
Many communities have food co-ops or community-supported agriculture programs that you join for a fee and will save you a lot of money in the long run, Sara says. “It is like investing in a company, [except] you invest in a farm,” she says. “So, in January or February you give around $400 to a farm, and many [other] people do too. The farm can buy the seeds, plants and the vegetables, and then by early June, you start getting a bag a week of vegetables, all the way up to right before Thanksgiving.”

Buy Less-Processed Meats
The more the butcher does for you, the more you pay for it, Sara says. “The ideal scenario would be to buy whole chickens and large pieces of meat and cut up and trim them yourself, but most people don’t have those skills,” Sara says. “So, buy chicken thighs on the bone instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Skin, which is really fat, and bones contribute flavor and can be removed after you cook the chicken.”

Make Big Pots of Soup
“Soup is very satisfying and very affordable,” Sara says. Base your soup on legumes and vegetables, and if you want a creamer soup, use an immersion blender to thicken it, Sara says.
Try Sara’s Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Chorizo and Greens, a healthy recipe that Sara says is a favorite of her children’s.

Rethink Dinner
Instead of having a large meal at dinner, just make a sandwich or make a breakfast dish, Sara says. Sara’s Eggs Baked in Ham with Sofrito is a fun alternative for dinner that she says is quick and inexpensive.

Grow, Freeze, Can and Store Foods
Canning and freezing fresh foods is easy, Sara says. “Anybody can do it. There are many good books out there, and I think it is something we should all consider,” she says. “[Also consider] finding a little plot of land to grow some vegetables or a community garden you can participate in.”