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One way to better manage your budget is to examine food-related expenses. In Quebec, we love to eat good food and discover new products from here and elsewhere. Is it possible to reduce your grocery bill without compromising food quality? Absolutely! Find out how by discovering some of our best tips and tricks.

1. Become  a flexitarian

In addition to being a popular trend for a few years already and promoting healthy eating habits, a flexitarian diet helps you save a lot of money simply by consuming less meat and fish. To rely less on animal protein, you turn to other food groups to find substitutes that are also cheaper,  such as legumes, whole grains, tofu, tempeh and other plant-based proteins. When you just buy meat occasionally, you’ll notice that your grocery bill is significantly lower. You only need to compare the cost of meat to that of plant-based protein to see that there is a huge difference in price!

Quick tip

One way to reduce your meat consumption is to make a habit of substituting half of the recipe’s meat with a plant-based protein. You can smooth the transition by learning how to substitute with lentils, crumbled tofu, textured vegetable protein (TVP), seitan or tempeh.

2. Avoid food waste

We’ve all had to throw out some old leftover that we forgot at the back of the fridge or a shriveled vegetable that was hiding at the bottom of the crisper. Organizing your perishables is key to reducing food waste. Before heading out to the grocery store, check which fresh foods you already have in the fridge that need to eaten within the next few days. Try to think of recipes that call for those ingredients. Then, when you are out food shopping, you will only need to buy whatever is missing to make those recipes. Also, try to get in the habit of taking an inventory of what is in fridge before making your grocery list to avoid buying items you already have on hand. When putting your purchases away, be sure place items that need to be eaten sooner in plain view, in front of those that will last longer.

  • While shopping, check the best before dates on the products you are buying and choose the ones with the latest dates. This will increase their shelf life at home and reduce the the chance of them going bad too soon.
  • Just one portion of lasagna left? Instead of taking the chance of it getting lost in the fridge, put it in the freezer right away. What a thrill when you remember that you have a meal ready and waiting right when you most need it!
  • Adopt the “empty-the-fridge” philosophy by putting your leftovers to good use. Reinvent omelettes, quiches or pasta with leftovers (for example, using a small chunk of cheese, a bit of bell pepper or zucchini, chicken breast or flaked salmon).
  • Make a delicious compote. When your are left with a good amount of fruit that has gone soft or is a little damaged and nobody wants to eat, peel it, removing core and seeds as required, and cut into large chunks. Place the cut fruit into a large pot with a bit of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until it is has the texture of a compote. Spice it up with a bit of vanilla,  cardamom or cinnamon.

3. Make a weekly meal plan

Planning your meals for the week ahead helps you limit your food purchases to only those foods needed for your recipes. Here are some useful strategies.

  • To shop more efficiently, organize your grocery list by food type (produce, meat, fish, condiments, dairy products, etc.).
  • Create or adapt your weekly meal plan based on promotions in the latest flyer, which always offers great discounts.
  • When you are at Rachelle-Béry,  also check the in-store price labels—many of them indicate promotions that you won’t find in the flyer.
  • Alternate between organic and the less expensive antibiotic and hormone-free meats.
  • Stock up on non-perishable foods, such as pasta, dried lentils, tuna, canned mixed beans, broths and canned tomatoes, which make it easy to create quick, well-balanced and inexpensive meals.
  • To spread out your trips to the grocery store, make sure you keep the freezer stocked with a variety of products, such as pie shells, frozen vegetables and fruit, a variety of breads and buns, and ground meat, all of which will let you improvise meals or snacks on the spur of the moment.

4. Do more home cooking

To save money, take a break from the restaurant and ready-made meals and dust off your cookbooks! One simple trick to avoid spending all your time in the kitchen, is to make always make a double batch and freeze part of it.

Quick tip

Choose inexpensive and versatile foods that can be used in a wide variety of recipes. A bag of oatmeal, for example, can be incorporated in any meal of the day, from breakfast to supper, not to mention snacks!

Here are three recipes inspired by a single ingredient: oatmeal

Breakfast: Crispy french toast with banana maple purée

Snack: Madame Labriski’s A Zest of Key West energy cookies

Supper: Veggie quinoa butternut skewers