April 24, 2024

First, the bad news: Your grocery bill isn’t going to shrink anytime soon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts that prices for bread, meats, and other foods will increase 3 to 4 percent in 2023. With that in mind, everyone is seeking ways to trim the expense of putting a healthy meal on the table. “Now more than ever, we do need to be savvy to keep our costs at home under control,” says Laura Poland, RDN, the owner of Dietitian in Your Kitchen.

The good news is that there are probably a lot of ways you could be saving money on your food bill right now — you just don’t know about them. From how you cook dinner to how you handle your kitchen scraps, a little planning and mindfulness can help you continue to eat well without breaking the bank. Here are nine ways you may be wasting money without realizing it.

1. You Don’t Meal Prep

Supporting local restaurants is great, and no one’s knocking the occasional takeout order, but cooking at home is a big money saver. Numbers from the USDA predict that food-away-from-home prices will rise higher in 2023 than supermarket prices.

An investigation published in the May 2017 American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who cooked dinners most nights of the week spent on average $57 less on food each month than those who prepared three or fewer dinners each week. The same study found that diet quality, including calories, sugar, and saturated fat, also improved when people ate out less — a double win.

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