Low carb, low fat ways to reduce your groceries

by Kylie on August 3, 2012

We are all looking for ways to reduce our grocery bills, but often the suggestions revolve around adding pasta/baking lots etc. And often the ‘cheap’ food with coupons or discounts is heavily processed. Another issue can be allergies and food intolerances (I am gluten intolerant), and the usual foods like pasta, flour and things are a lot more expensive when made for special diet. Many of the same principles of reducing your groceries apply when going low carb, low fat such as bulk buying, buying in season and so on.

Substitute: Vegetables such as zucchini and pumpkin can be shredded or cut into thin strips to make a pasta version. When in season they are cheap and you can easily add bolognaise or other pasta sauces to them.

Bulk buy: This is suggested in all lists of ways to save on groceries. If you are looking at cutting grocery costs, but in a low fat, low carb way, you are probably looking at a lot of fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables which can be purchased a lot cheaper in bulk boxes. Meat is another, which is cheaper when bought in bulk, such as half a cow etc.

Cost things out: Have you ever priced chocolate per kilo? A 55g chocolate bar retails at $1.99, which makes it $36.18kg!! Cherries are only $12.98 a kilo most of the time and yet more often we would prefer a chocolate bar over cherries, or deem cherries to be an expensive fruit. They are more expensive than most fruits, but they are still cheaper per kilo than chocolate.

Another example of this is nuts. Nuts work out cheaper per kilo than chocolate, are much more filling and have more health benefits.

Food co-op: Food co-ops are a great way to buy in bulk for much less.

Grow your own: Simple things like herbs make a big difference to meals and can easily be grown on window sills. You don’t need a huge vegetable garden, but even growing a few things in pots can make your meals tastier and more nutritious.

Buy direct from farmers: Australia farmers are selling their farms because it costs them to keep going. The big supermarkets make it their mission to do everything for as cheap as possible, but it is killing our farmers. Buying direct from them is often cheaper than in store and they get to keep all the money as there is no middle man!

When buying direct there are also often options such as pick your own which are sold even cheaper per kilo than at the farm gate. It can be a fun day out for the family or a more unique date too.

Menu Plan: We all talk about it a lot because it works. If you menu plan you can make sure you use what you have, not waste food and save yourself money.

Soup: Soups like pumpkin or cauliflower are cheap, easy to make, filling and can be eaten as a snack or an entrée before a main meal.

How do you save money when eating with allergies/low car/low fat?

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How to make and save money on groceries

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tackling Our Debt August 4, 2012 at 4:38 am

There is only 2 of us but our grocery bill tends to go over budget. We prefer to eat low carb as my husband is a diabetic, so we skip pasta and rice dishes. I want to do some batch cooking that we can freeze and I recently came across a recipe that is similar to what you mention above about substituting vegetables for pasta. I found a Lasagna recipe that uses Eggplant instead of Lasagna noodles and I am dying to try it out.

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Shelly August 4, 2012 at 8:02 am

We have a small garden and grow some of our own veggies and berries. When we didn’t have a garden area we used pots to grow lettuce, herbs and even radishes and carrots.
I also menu plan to make sure we stay within our budget. We are also fortunate to have lots of farms stands not far from our home. I have found day old produce really inexpensive.

I am just starting to eat a diet with less processed foods. You are right that some people will think nothing of paying for a candy bar the price listed but will feel fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive. Although when you look at cost per pound the fresh item is less money.

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Kylie August 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Tackling our debt – When I used to babysit, one of the families had me over for dinner before they left and the mum made an excellent lasagne using eggplant as lasagne sheets. It was delicious. (She was a good cook!)
Shelly – that is great you grow things. Day old stuff is quite cheap if available. Glad to hear you are eating less processed. :)
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Born27 August 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Great post! Eating fruits and vegetables is very healthy for our body. But when buying it, make sure to buy just enough for three to five days. It’s really advisable to eat it fresh.
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Mrs. Frugalwoods August 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

These are great tips! Mr. Frugalwoods and I also eat a primarily low-carb, low-fat diet. We’re mostly vegan because meat and dairy is so expensive. Our protein sources are quinoa, lentils, rice, and beans, all of which are vastly cheaper than meat. Vegetables and fruits are certainly the biggest percentage of our grocery budget, but, worth it health-wise! And, as you mentioned, they’re actually often cheaper than sweet/packaged/processed foods in the first place.
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