Ski vacations can be expensive enough by the time we plan and pay for the trip. The most daunting part comes once we've arrived, and it's time to go food shopping. There are ways to save money on vacation while still eating nutritiously. Sport dietician Laura Anderson from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) provides OnTheSnow visitors with some pointers to make food costs do less damage to the pocket book and more good to our bodies.
"Planning your shopping trip is the most important thing you can do to cut on costs," Anderson says. Make a list of meals for every day you're there. Ready-to-cook meals are more expensive than self-prepared meals. The more you eat in, the less cost your food bill will be. Figure out how many people you're feeding, and the amount of ingredients it will take. Once you're in the store apply the following tips from Anderson.
Buy items from bulk bins when possible. This includes oats, grains and cereals, pasta and rice, and dried fruit. Brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and quinoa are all significantly better for your body than white, enriched-flour options. Get produce like apples, oranges, grapefruit, onions, etc. by the bag instead of individually. They'll be less expensive, cover more meals, and go farther in lunch bags.
Check "use-by" dates on sale items. This is especially important for meat. Many times you can get great deals on protein if you plan on using it that night. Stick to low-fat protein like chicken, turkey burger, lean steak, fish, beans, and lentils. Day old-bread is the same. The more natural and fresh the ingredients are, the quicker it needs to sell. Buy and eat it soon, or freeze it.
Chose produce that's in season. The price is lower to move them, and they are better for you containing the most vitamins and minerals during their peak. Anderson warns to avoid the temptation of buying bagged/washed lettuce, carrots, etc. These cost way more for way less quantity.
Cut your own fruit and vegetables instead of buying them pre-cut. This is where major money is saved, Anderson says. "Pre-packaged salads, veggie platters, and fruit trays are marked up tremendously. Fresh is always better, so taking the time to prepare these yourself will cut down on cost and greatly increase the nutritional value you'll be getting."
Compare prices on produce between fresh, canned, and frozen. Many times a recipe may lend itself towards frozen or canned rather than fresh. Depending on the item it may be less expensive frozen yet still equally nutritious. Use canned fish and chicken for sandwiches and salads. Frozen vegetables are easy, healthy additions to any meal.
Buy generic. Read the labels to make sure the ingredients are the same. Most of the time the products are identical only the generic is much less costly. Cereals especially apply. Fancy packaging beefs up the price and skimps on quality. Bulk varieties stored in airtight containers last longer for a fraction of the cost.
Lastly, choose to eat a couple of meatless entrées. Soups, stews, chili, and spaghetti prepared with vegetables, potatoes, rice, beans, and lentils always can be made without meat and still provide ample protein, Anderson explains. Cooking extra portions are perfectly freezable for snacks and leftovers.
Stick to these guidelines from the professionals and your group; your bank account and your waistline will stay happy and healthy. Set aside your savings for your next ski adventure.