5 Ways to Stretch Your Groceries

While grocery shopping is an essential outing at this time, it’s still better to reduce the number of trips to the store for the safety and health of yourself, your family, and others. Here are 5 simple ways to stretch your groceries.

1. Buy Bulk and Use Your Freezer.

Besides buying frozen vegetables, fruit, and meals, there are plenty of ways your freezer can come in handy. To save money and extra trips, buy fresh produce in bulk (from local businesses, like Mistretta’s if you can) and freeze chopped peppers, chopped onion, grapes, berries — whatever you can think of. You can even freeze fresh herbs by submerging them in olive oil in ice trays. Make big pots of gumbo, soups, and stews and freeze them in plastic or silicone bags that will lie flat and save room. You’ll have home-cooked meals at the ready for weeks.

2. Utilize Your Pantry Staples

Use up the flour that’s been hiding in your pantry to make your own pasta, bread, muffins, and cakes. Those carrots you bought in bulk — make some carrot cake and bran muffins. Got a bunch of summer squash, make some zucchini bread. On the plus side, these items can all be frozen for later use.

3. Save Your Scraps

Save all your scraps from prepping your veggies, herbs, onions, and garlic and save them for making your own stocks, which can serve as a base for soups, or for adding more flavor when cooking rice or pasta. You can also compost them! The earth, and your garden, will thank you.

4. Slow Cook Your Proteins

Break out the slow cookers for cooking meat in bulk. Pulled pork, shredded chicken, and shredded beef can be used in sandwiches, soups, salads, tacos, burritos, flatbreads, and more. Freeze whatever is leftover for when you start running out of fresh items, to hold off on going to the store too often.

5. Extend the Life of Your Adult Beverages

Stretch out your adult beverages by making punches, sangrias, and spritzers. For example, a bottle of red wine may equal 4 glasses of wine or so. But, mixed with the fresh-squeezed citrus and berries (that you already bought in bulk), some sparkling water, and some cinnamon sticks, you’ve got a pitcher of refreshing Sangria that will last way longer than the bottle of wine alone. Which is better for your wallet — and your waistline.

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Cristina Perez is a firm believer that while life is complicated, that is what makes it beautiful. A born and raised New Orleanian and fierce disability advocate, Cristina is a singer, activist, writer and mother to three-year-old “Oskie” — her son with a rare disease. With a mission of giving a louder voice to mothers of children with disabilities and rare diseases, Cristina creates original music inspired by untraditional motherhood, positivity and inclusivity for all. Her latest single, “Lessons I’ve Learned” was released in 2019, as an uplifting anthem for mothers to turn to when things get tough – a motivation to remain strong despite what life throws at you. Cristina also authors a popular blog called “It’s Not Too Complicated,” where she breaks down the trials and tribulations of medically complex motherhood, marriage and everyday life while using her voice to promote rare disease awareness.

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