This is an article that I read on KSL.com the other day. I thought it had a lot of good points and reminders. Enjoy!
Living in a fast-paced society, it can be difficult to eat fresh, healthy foods. “Pre-packaged” and “drive-thru” seem to be the key words of the day. But not only are foods made from scratch or homegrown healthier, they're often less expensive. Here are a few tips for eating fresh and for less.
1. Stay on the “outside” of the grocery store box
Grocery stores are arranged in an interesting fashion: By walking around the perimeter of the store, shoppers will encounter foods in their freshest state. This includes not only items in the produce section, but artisan breads still piping hot and deli items sliced up fresh, not to mention meat before it’s been wrapped in those plastic and Styrofoam cages.
Surprisingly, prices tend to be lower on these items as well. A half-pound of cheddar sliced up at the deli will often run a dollar a pound less than the pre-packaged kind. Even bringing home the bacon, literally, can be a better deal if the butcher slices it up for customers.
Because fresh items are so perishable, they’re constantly being discounted and placed in “must sell” bins. For someone planning on eating it tonight, they can save on it today.
2. Think local
Farmers markets are wonderful places to come across all kinds of fresh produce and homemade goods. Shoppers can find freshly-picked produce, and often, they'll have a bounty of homemade jams, breads and even salsas to choose from.
Not only will shoppers be supporting local farmers, but prices will usually be more reasonable because they don’t involve transportation and other third-party fees.
To find farmers market locations along the Wasatch Front, visit Wasatch Front Farmers Markets.
3. Eat seasonally
Making a salad with strawberries in January? Plan on paying close to $5 for those berries, if you find them.
Knowing what kinds of produce are in season may help you better plan your menu and navigate the grocery store. Prices for produce are lower for those items farmers and grocery stores have a bounty of. It's also a more sustainable way of eating.
Epicurious has a helpful map of of each state's growing season.
4. Learn to share
There’s a classic joke that around harvest time, look out for that pile of zucchini anonymously left on your front porch. In reality, there are probably plenty of people willing to take any freebies that come out of a neighbor’s garden. It’s often just a matter of getting the right produce to the right person. It might be prudent to make a neighborhood list at the beginning of the season, not just to get first dibs on some fresh tomatoes, but also to reconsider what could be planted in your own garden.
On the website Shareable.net, expert bloggers give some ideas for sharing a vegetable garden.NeighborhoodFruit .com is designed to help fruit tree owners share their bounty with others instead of allowing their crops to go to waste. Many such organizations exist, but if one isn’t available in your particular area, consider starting it yourself.
5. Use it or lose it
The biggest obstacle to eating fresh is using up items before they go bad. According to Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland,” Americans throw away up to a quarter of all of the food they purchase, leading to a staggering amount of wasted money and depleted resources.
There are many strategies to prevent this, the first of which is to carefully plan out meals so that fresh food isn’t purchased before it can be reasonably used. Also, be cautious about the amount of food purchased to begin with. Buying items that are on sale or in bulk won’t pay off if they’re not eaten.
Freezing or storing items properly are the next step to preventing waste. The National Center for Home Food Preservation lists some important information on how to preserve food safely. Many items, especially produce, simply need to be removed from the plastic bags or containers they come in. Meats, cheeses, even breads, can also be frozen and easily thawed for later use.