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The bad news keeps getting worse when it comes to spending at the grocery store. Inflation pushed food-at-home prices 10% higher in March 2022 than they were in March 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and projections call for food prices to rise between 5% and 6% this year.
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So, what can you do to rein in your spending on food? Turn to your local dollar store for your grocery shopping.
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Surprise! Dollar Stores Have Healthy Options
With food offerings expanding at several national dollar-store chains, it’s possible to create healthy dinners for your family that also are friendly for your budget. The retailers’ shelves contain vegetables, proteins, grains and healthy fats needed for a well-balanced diet.
“As a pediatric registered dietitian working primarily with families, I know how expensive meals can be,” said Caitlyn Edson, who works with clients virtually. “When you live in an area that does not have a lot of options, making nutritious meals can seem even more challenging. Surprisingly, dollar stores have a lot of options to make quick and nutrient-dense meals. You’ll want to aim to make meals that contain carbohydrates, fat and protein, along with some fruits and vegetables.
“Many canned and boxed items that can be found in these stores can be mixed and matched to compose a meal with all these important categories. By making larger quantities of many of these ingredients, you can alter them slightly to make meals for multiple nights of the week.”
Do Dollar Stores Sell Fresh Food?
Increasingly, yes. The 99 Cents Only Stores chain sells produce and dairy items at its nearly 400 stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
Last October, the industry publication Growing Produce reported that Dollar General was planning to offer fresh produce in more than 10,000 stores. Family Dollar entered the market last summer, selling apples, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables at about 100 of its stores so far.
Dollar General has more than 18,000 stores in 47 states. A new Dollar General that opened this month in Albrightsville, Pa., for example, sells lettuce, tomatoes, salad mixes, onions, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
Planning the Menu
Even if your dollar store doesn’t stock fresh fruits and vegetables, it could have a small dairy case of the basics: milk, eggs and cheese. And the shelves likely …….