How to save on food purchases

“Getting to the end of the month” is increasingly difficult for many families who see the purchasing power of their income reduced due to inflation. This can encourage them to save by buying cheaper but less healthy food, warns the European Medical Institute on Obesity (IMEO).

Given the significant rise in the prices of food products, it is essential to make “intelligent savings” in the purchase of food, according to this Institute.

The first step to saving consists of planning the weekly menu trying to match it as much as possible for the whole family and the second step is to draw up a shopping list by food groups, prioritizing to those of season and proximity, they point out.

The rise in the general level of the prices of food products, due to inflation, raises a serious challenge for the pockets and the health of the consumersince if an unwise saving policy is applied, the result can be to consume cheaper foodstuffs, but of inferior quality and less nutritional capacity.

“The rise in food prices makes it more complicated to make a healthy purchase since, often out of necessity, products of lower nutritional quality are used because they are cheaper,” says Rubén Bravo, spokesman for the European Medical Institute of Obesity ( IMEO) and nutrition expert.

In terms of food, what is good and what is cheap do not always go hand in hand, according to specialists from the Institute, who have designed a proposal for economical but healthy food, based on the list of weekly purchase of a family composed of two adults and two growing children (mother, father, an 8-month-old baby and a 7-year-old boy).

“The first step to make smart savings on food is to plan the weekly menu for the whole family that covers from breakfast to dinner,” says Estefanía Ramo, an expert in nutrition and food technology at IMEO (https:/ /

This specialist recommends trying to ensure that the parents’ menu coincides as much as possible with that of the children, “which represents considerable savings”.

“For this planning, the nutritional requirements of each member of the family must be taken into account. In the case of babies, it is necessary to supplement breast milk with other foods that are gradually introduced, such as cereal or fruit porridge, whole natural yogurt or homemade vegetable, meat, chicken or fish puree”, Ramo explains.

The second step in smart saving is to draw up a shopping list by food groups, prioritizing those that are seasonal (naturally available at certain times of the year) and proximity (produced relatively close to the place where they are consumed), since they tend to be cheaper, says this specialist.

Also, in the shopping list it is convenient to include foods with a longer shelf life, which have a balanced relationship between price and nutritional quality, and those that can be frozen for conservation, such as meat and fish, according to the nutritionist.

The IMEO team of nutritionists proposes to compose the family’s weekly menu with the indicated food groups, rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, to save on purchases and eat healthy.

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Pear, apple, plums, banana, mango and pineapple.

They stand out for their contribution in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidant compounds and their high water content. In addition, the vast majority of these fruits provide carbohydrates that give them their characteristic sweetness, according to these experts.

Vegetables and vegetables

Zucchini, pumpkin, leeks, onion, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, red and green peppers, garlic, red cabbage, avocado and potatoes.

They stand out for their great contribution of carbohydrates and lower fat and protein content, high water content, low caloric density, and high fiber, vitamin and mineral content. Avocado has a higher fat content but is beneficial to health, they point out.

lean meats

Chicken (breast fillets, wings), veal (fillets, minced meat), pork (loin strip natural).

They provide mostly protein and a low content of fat and carbohydrates. They also stand out for their contribution in B vitamins and minerals, according to the Institute.


Hake (with low fat content), sea bass and sea bream (with medium fat content) and salmon (a fatty fish, with fats with healthy properties), are good food options, according to these specialists.

Dairy products

Whole milk, semi-skimmed milk and natural yogurts.

For the growing child, whole milk is included due to its high biological value protein content, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.

In the case of the baby, the choice is whole yogurt, for the same reasons.

For adults, the semi-skimmed option would be preferable, as it has a slightly lower fat content, they point out.

Legumes, pasta and rice

Wholemeal macaroni, brown rice, lentils and chickpeas.

According to the Institute, the integral version of these foods is richer in nutrients by preserving the cereal whole grainwhich does not happen with its refined version.

Legumes, in general, mainly provide vegetable protein, fat, carbohydrates, in addition to vitamins and minerals, in addition to containing abundant fiber.

breads and cereals

Wholemeal loaf bread and ‘biscuits’ (toasted bread), oat flakes with no added sugar and cereal porridge.

The whole grain version has a more complete nutritional profile. In the case of the baby’s cereal porridge, the choice will be 8 whole grains, according to the same source.

Canned vegetables and animals

Ventresca (ventral part) of tuna in olive oil, mushrooms, sweet corn, peas (peas) and a combination of pickles (gherkins, spring onions and olives in vinegar). They have a longer shelf life, are cheaper than the fresh product and can be consumed for longer, according to the IMEO.

Cold cuts

This Institute reports that turkey breast, extra cooked ham and ‘serrano’ type ham can be considered somewhat leaner in fat.


Peeled walnuts, which are considered an inexpensive food compared to other nuts, but which have a very healthy nutrient compositionthey add.

other foods

Eggs, coffee, cocoa powder with no added sugar, extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar can also be included in the healthy weekly menu that we should buy, according to the IMEO.

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