6 nutritionist-approved ways to save money on groceries

Grocery costs have gone up by double digits over the past year, which means many shoppers are having to settle for less. The good news is that cutting grocery costs doesn’t automatically mean sacrificing nutrition or flavor.

Fresh green garden cabbage on rustic wooden background

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Try these nutritionist-tested tips to shop smarter, to help you save money and improve your health in the process.

Replace cooking wine or broth with water

Can shoppers on a budget replace water for expensive broth, stock, and cooking wine? yes!

The difference in flavor isn’t always discernible, and in some cases, choosing water instead of broth or broth can be a great way to let the ingredients shine through (and reduce your sodium intake in the process).

In his 2020 cookbook “Quick and Simple,” culinary icon Jacques Pepin intentionally uses water in his chunky vegetable soup because it “retains the flavors of vegetables better than chicken broth.” When developing recipes, we find that replacing broth (even the low-sodium varieties) with water is one of the most foolproof ways to reduce sodium to an appropriate level without making much of a hit in the flavor department.

Build meals around affordable staple foods

When you pay more attention to food costs, you will find that some ingredients are undervalued. Take the humble cabbage. One medium head of cabbage will last up to three weeks in the crisp, uncut (and tightly wrapped) tray and yield just over 8 cups of shredded cabbage—enough to enjoy for weeks.

use it in tostadas, Grill and work as a sideor Ferment it in pickled cabbage. Even at the pricey urban grocery store in Oldway Boston, a head of organic cabbage will only set you back about $3. (In many other stores across the country, the price is much lower than that.) Carrots, bananas, and spinach are also examples of product choices that provide a significant nutritional benefit for the rest of you.

Shop your store for replacements

While making your grocery list, shop first from the store and freezer for possible alternatives. Do you really need to buy pine nuts for pesto if you already have nuts and almonds at home? It’s an absolutely delicious alternative.

Need to buy arborio rice for risotto if you already have short-grain brown rice or farro on hand? Get creative! Rolled oats can be substituted for breadcrumbs in meatball recipes. Whole grain bread can be a quick meal and Easy flat crust pizza. You may find that you enjoy your custom pantry recipe better than the original.


If you’re making a bean salad that requires 1 cup of black beans and 1 cup of pinto beans, you’ll have to buy two different cans, and you’ll end up with leftovers from each.

To simplify this recipe (and save money), simply buy one can of beans and use the entire can. The quantities may not be exactly the same, but many delicious recipes (such as grain salads, casseroles, sauces, and soups) are perfectly adaptable. Likewise, if you’re making a Chinese recipe that calls for 1 cup of chopped broccoli and 1 cup of chopped cauliflower, feel free to choose just one or the other. This way, you can buy vegetables by the head or by the package without paying extra price that the recipe doesn’t require.

Replace legumes with meat

Much ink has been spilled over the intersection of foods that are best for you and the best for the planet. But the truth is that many plant-based ingredients can be better for your budget, too. Eat protein foods. Replacing legumes (like beans) with meat increases fiber and plant protein, reduces saturated fat and cholesterol, and saves money to quit.

Prioritize food over drinks

Beverages like beer, wine, and fruit juice are ‘good to have’, not ‘must have’.

If you drink (or exceed) the recommended maximum of one alcoholic drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men, this is the perfect opportunity to cut back and adjust your intake. While the occasional glass of wine has been linked to cardiovascular benefits, less is more when it comes to alcohol and health. Similarly, shifting more of your grocery budget into food (such as vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits) rather than beverages (such as soda, juice, flavored water, and sports drinks) can help you get into the habit of enjoying water with most meals, as well as setting aside some budget Grocery for basic food groups.

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