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Par Annie Ferland – Science & Fourchette

The holiday season can sometimes mean a (tighter) budget. To reduce the grocery bill and leave room for gifts, we can use a few basic tricks that will make all the difference. All this without compromising the festive nature of our meals!
Plan your menu in advance
The golden rule is always to plan ahead. We draw up the Christmas menu several weeks in advance to take advantage of the bargains when they are in the grocery store. And we don’t do it by halves: we take a piece of paper and write our menu in black and white, along with the grocery list. If we stick to our game plan, without buying too many extras, the bill will be surprisingly low.
Dare to be flexible
Flexibility will also save us a lot of money. No matter which recipes you choose, you can change them according to the promotions of the week. If a red bell pepper is needed, we can easily choose the green bell pepper which costs half as much! We also keep an eye out for slightly stale vegetables sold at a discount that, once chopped, will be perfect in some of our recipes. Bulk and frozen foods are also a gold mine of much less expensive options!
For this week’s promotions:
Get out our spatulas
What often increases costs at the grocery store is not necessarily the purchase of ingredients, but all the times you choose to buy prepared foods rather than cook them yourself. Not to mention the fact that ready-to-eat foods are taxable, as opposed to commodity foods. Cooking at home is a tip that will certainly save a large part of the budget.
Sometimes doubling a recipe costs only a little more, since many of the ingredients purchased are only used in part. Yes, the recipe calls for two organic green onions… but we still bought a six-pack! As a bonus, we will have several lunches in reserve for the days when we are busy with the tree or other preparations!
More veggies
It’s been said often enough, but plant-based protein costs next to nothing. Cooking a chickpea salad will only add a few dollars to the bill and can still make us a lunch for the week. We dare to use tofu, tempeh, legumes, “meatless”, edamame or textured vegetable protein, even at Christmas!
Why not take advantage of the month of December to clean out your freezer, cook what’s been in there for a while and stock up on new supplies? Yes! The spaghetti sauce, the leftover vegetables or the chicken breast that have been in the freezer for more than a month want to become the king of our next recipe. And we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to stock up on quality staples!