Coping with food inflation can be challenging, especially at a time when the economy is not all rosy and you have to work yourself out before you earn huge money. Coping with food inflation most times requires that you are flexible and resilient about the quality of your nutrition. Navigating the challenges of rising food prices may constitute a worry for your nutritional health, but the good news is that there are several strategies you can employ to survive the situation, as an average Nigerian family. Here are some tips to help you cope with food inflation:
- Budget and track expenses: Create a monthly budget that includes a specific allocation for food expenses. Track your expenses diligently to identify areas where you can save money and reduce wastage. While budgeting, ensure to look for how nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals while being cost-effective, can feature more on your menu. Foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables often offer good nutritional value for their price. Track such and budget more for them.
- Plan meals and make a shopping list: Plan your meals for the week and make a shopping list, accordingly. This will help you avoid impulse purchases and prodigal consumption, thus restricting you to buying only what you need. Stick to your list while grocery shopping, to minimise unnecessary spending. Perhaps, you planned and still had left overs, replan your meals in a way that utilises ingredients efficiently, store food properly to maintain freshness, and repurpose leftovers into new dishes. Be creative with your taste bud! Avoid just throwing away edible food, as much as possible.
- Buy in bulk: Purchase non-perishable food items in bulk whenever possible. Food stuffs like rice, beans, wheat, garri and so on, could be bought in large quantities and stored at home. This approach often allows families take advantage of discounts, manage transportation costs and save money on the long run. However, be cautious not to buy more than you can consume before the expiration date.
- Cook at home: Preparing meals at home is generally more cost-effective than eating out or buying cooked food outside or processed foods. Most especially, in a period where there are cautions about spread of diseases and infections; beyond just being cost effective, it is safer that you cook your own meals. Cooking your meals from scratch allows you to control the ingredients and portion sizes, saving money and promoting healthier eating habits.
- Preserve and store food: Avoid wasting food, as much as possible, by intentionally storing your food well. Don’t expose your food stuff to where rats and cockroaches can penetrate and feast on your food items. Properly store leftover food and learn techniques for preserving perishable items. For example, you can freeze leftovers, can fruits and vegetables, or even fry some proteins and keep well. This will help minimise food waste and extend the shelf life of your groceries.
- Stay informed and compare prices: One of the skills you must possess this period is how to keep track of food items and hassle prices of others, which are often decided by the buy. You can keep track of food prices by monitoring local markets and grocery stores. If you are a good shopper, you would conveniently different between what to buy in supermarkets and what to buy in local markets. Compare prices across different stores and choose the most affordable options. Take advantage of sales, discounts, and promotions whenever possible. Also, ensure you explore alternative shopping options such as farmers’ markets, market days, food cooperatives or online platforms that offer discounts on bulk purchases.
6. Increase your culinary skills and knowledge: Enhance your cooking skills by learning new recipes and techniques. This will enable you make the most of affordable ingredients and transform them into delicious meals. Explore cooking blogs, YouTube channels, or community cooking classes to expand your culinary repertoire. Besides boosting your menu choices, it will also help you maintain a healthy lifestyle overall. By practicing good nutrition, exercising regularly, and managing stress, you can minimise the risk of health-related issues and potential medical expenses.