Get Ready: Your Grocery Bill Is Going Up… Again

Consumer Alert:
Unprecedented Spike in Food Prices

Are you feeling a pinch in your wallet? Especially after a visit to the grocery store?

You’re not alone. And you’re certainly not imagining things. Food prices are going up. A lot.

In fact, right now prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are at an all time high.The index for these kinds of grocery items went up 1.5% in April and then another 1.4% in May. That’s nearly a 3% rise in the course of just two months.

But the cost of meat and other kinds of protein isn’t the only problem.

Pervasive drought all across the west is also adding to food price woes—especially for fruits and vegetables. The unusually cold and long winter we just experienced is another contributing factor.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that food prices in general went up 2.5% during the past year.And the increases are accelerating.

In the past, food spikes have typically had a bigger impact on processed and packaged foods over fresh foods, or on very specific items.

This year, you’re faced with a different situation. Fresh items—the items that are the building blocks of a good diet—are what will be affected most. And we’re really looking at across-the-board increases when it comes to meat, dairy and produce.

If you want to weather the coming months without compromising your healthy eating habits or blowing your budget, you need to start taking action now.

Four Ways to Keep Putting Food

on the Table Without Paying More

Good quality protein is vital to your good health. It’s the basic building block of your muscles, bone, skin, and hair. Proteins combine to create enzymes that drive the chemical processes in your body. At a bare minimum, your body needs 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight each day.

The higher the quality of protein you consume, the better. High quality protein is lean and has undergone minimal processing.

As prices for beef, chicken, pork, fish, and eggs all begin to climb, you’re going to have a harder time planning meals that are healthy and cost effective.

But by taking these four simple steps, you can keep more money in your wallet, while still serving up tasty, healthy meals that are rich in lean proteins.

  • Put your freezer to work: Even as prices go up, stores will continue to have sales. When you see a good sale on a cut of meat you know your family will use, stock up. Freeze what you don’t use right away for a later date. Most stores also offer a price break on bigger packages of meat—another reason to stock up.
  • Shop around: Prices will vary widely from store to store. And some stores may offer great prices on produce, but then stick it to you when it comes to meat, or vice versa. Look for the stores that offer the best prices on meat, and do your meat shopping there. Don’t forget to visit smaller butcher shops. You may be surprised to discover an advantage in price and quality.
  • Procure your own: Become more self-reliant while saving money by learning to procure your own sources of protein. Get a fishing license and take advantage of local fishing options. Raise backyard chickens. If you have the space for it, raise a milk goat. Also, get to know your local farmers and buy your meat directly from the source when you can.
  • Go meatless: Meat-based proteins don’t have to be the center of every meal. A combination of beans and rice provides your body with complete proteins—just make sure you go heavier on the beans than the rice.

Low Costs Ways to Keep Meals Well-Rounded

Just as protein is vital for good health, your body needs plenty of fresh produce as well.

Vegetables and fruits give your body a wide array of vitamins and minerals. They also provide fiber, which is critical to good health. One of the great things about vegetables is that there are a lot of options, some of them way more cost effective than others.

At the grocery store, look for the best price per pound and purchase more of the produce that gives you a bigger cost advantage.

During the growing season, you can usually find the freshest possible fruits vegetables at the best prices by visiting your local farmers market.

Also, you can save money buy looking for u-pick farms, where you can get a price break for handling the picking. Pick more than you need and freeze, can, or dry the extra to help offset your food costs for the rest of the year.

Food prices will continue to go up at least through the end of the year. Follow these steps here to save money without compromising the quality of your meals.

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