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Entries in grocery shopping (5)


How to choose the best carrots for flavor, health, cost, and time

Investing a few minutes in considering what you want from a regular purchase such as carrots can pay off big in the long run. You can enjoy meals more, live healthier on a healthier planet, and save money. You can even save time, but that may involve a cost. You really can't go wrong. Carrots are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients that keep your skin glowing, eyes sharp, your immune system strong, and reduce your risk of cancer and leukemia.

local carrots with carrot tops and funny shapes

Carrot Prices (Chart)

I was surprised to find that carrot prices range from 49 cents a pound to four dollars a pound. Yet even the most expensive carrots ...

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New Report: Best Supermarkets for Local and Organic Food

Home shoppers can learn much from the new report Many Miles to Go: Locally Grown Organics in North Carolina Supermarkets, even though it is aimed squarely at grocery executives. Do supermarkets agree on the meanings of "local" or "regional"? Which grocery chains truly support local food, which use greenwashing, and which frankly don't care? What's going on behind the scenes, from planning to supporting local farmers? Although the study took place in NC, many chains covered operate throughout the South East or nationally. The report by the non-profit watchdog Local Organic Y'All reveals that:

The food retailers themselves have a ways to go if they are to meet growing customer demand for organic and sustainably-grown food that is produced locally or even regionally. Today, with a few exceptions, company performance does not match the marketing.

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SNAPcut Challenge week 2: why are we hungry? a snack helps

Why are we hungry on the SNAPcut Challenge when we didn't have that problem with our first food-stamp challenge in 2010? We ate on $3 a day each for two weeks then and have almost twice that now. The causes range from a lack of fat to inflation to different ways of shopping and calculating the budget. Read below for details, plus the snack that keeps us going.

The snack that saves the day, if not the night

We were still being hungry after having an apple each as our planned snack on days 8 and 9. I knew we had some uncommitted walnuts and raisins, so I measured them and divided by the number of days left. We can have 30 grams (1/4 cup) raisins and 15 grams (2 tablespoons) walnuts every day. For three days, we each also get an apple and the other three days we split one. That's still enough fuel to make it to dinner. After active days, though, I'm sometimes hungry by bedtime.

A big snack of apple, walnuts, and raisins thwarts hunger on the #SNAPcut Challenge.

Different eating patterns and tight budget mean less fat

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SNAPcut Challenge - 2 new ways to tame the bulk aisle

The bulk aisle can save or sink a budget shopper. Here are the pros and cons plus two new ways to make the bulk aisle work for you and your budget.

Pros of buying in bulk

  • Find real bargains there, such as organic beans, grains, and spices for significantly less than the packaged price.
  • Buy the amount you need. Get enough couscous for dinner but not so much that the extra goes bad before you use it.
  • Try very small bags of new ingredients: sumac, chia seeds, nutritional yeast.
  • Buy the amount you can afford. This week, for example, I bought a pound of whole wheat pastry flour for $1.08. I didn't have enough money left to buy a whole bag of flour.

Cons of buying in bulk

  • Do a price check to see if the packaged version is a better buy. (Look at the price per pound or ounce.) Some items cost more in the bulk aisle, especially nuts and flour.
  • Use caution to avoid buying too much. It's easy to pull a level and see ten dollars worth of walnuts zip into your bag when you only wanted half that amount.
  • Make sure you buy enough. You might scoop out what looks like enough cornmeal for cornbread, but find out that you are a half-cup short.

Bulk aisle tip 1: bring a measuring cup to help you get the right amount

 Take a measuring cup to the bulk aisle so you buy the right amount. #SNAPcut

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SNAPcut Challenge: what to buy and how I'm shopping for week 1

Because the SNAPcut Challenge is only two weeks long, we won't be able to spread out the cost of a month's worth of staples. That means smaller, more expensive containers of everything from peanut butter to apples. The budgets  in Wildly Affordable Organic ran for a month at a time, allowing us to include all the ingredients down to the salt and spices and still come in at $5 a day for organic and sustainable ingredients.

Here's how we'll make it fair but realistic for the SNAPcut Challenge. If you have better ideas, please post them in the comments below. I may change the rules before starting the Encore Challenge on November 4th.

  • Buy all of the ingredients you cook with except:

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