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Fill the Fridge: Expert tips for grocery shopping on a budget

Alaska Energy Relief
Posted at 9:38 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-12 00:14:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fill the Fridge is one of the ways 41 Action News in conjunction with Price Chopper gives back to the Kansas City community each year, but the need is greater in 2020 than most years.

Even for those who haven’t been laid off or had their hours slashed, the pandemic has put a lot of families in a financial crunch, which can become an even bigger burden with the holidays fast-approaching.

We sought out an expert — Rebecca Collier, a registered dietitian and the manager of nutrition services with Harvesters Community Food Network — for some tips on buying food on budget to help you make ends meet amid the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Smart shopping for produce can help extend and maximize money spent on fruits and vegetables.

“There are certain fruits and vegetables that do last a longer time in your pantry or in your refrigerator,” Collier said. “So, those are the kinds of things you want to emphasize when you're working on a budget.”

Apples, oranges, potatoes and sweet potatoes — items that often can be bought by the bag — are good choices from that perspective.

“You get a good variety of nutrients, all kinds of vitamins and minerals, that you can incorporate into your meals and snacks,” Collier said. “Look at those bulk bags and think, ‘How do I use these throughout different meals during the week?’”

Filling out a dinner plate with foods high in fiber or starch can allow you to use smaller portions of proteins, which is often a big-ticket items on the grocery list.

“Meat doesn't always have to be front and center of the plate,” Collier said. “You can add things in to bulk it up. You have that flavor, you have that protein, but it doesn't always have to be what takes up most of the plate. So, I would say look at how you can stretch it, and look at the different ways that you can incorporate other food groups, in addition to the meat, to really fill out the meal."

Incorporating other protein-rich foods — yogurt, cheese and milk — into meals and snacks can help fill and fuel up your family without breaking the bank.