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If you want to avoid crowds, buy healthy, fresh foods, and save money, you may be looking for alternatives to your local grocery store. We all want to provide our families with fresh, healthy foods, but without having to plan shopping trips at less popular shopping times, finding the store packed with shoppers or dealing with limited stock and mediocre produce.
The good news is that grocery stores aren’t your only option. In fact, there are several smart alternatives to bring healthy and delicious foods to your table.
1. Buy from Farmers
There are several ways to purchase from local farmers. You can go to a farmers’ market (provided there are some in your area and they’re open), find community-supported agriculture groups (CSAs), or contact farmers yourself. All these options can provide you with fresh produce while supporting your local economy.
2. Use Grocery Delivery
There are numerous grocery delivery services to choose from, but some aren’t much better than going to the grocery store when it comes to the quality of the foods. It’s important to search for a service that’s committed to delivering fresh and ideally natural and/or organic food.
Look for a delivery service that works with many different farms and are able to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables. With this type of service, you receive all the benefits of having a diet rich in fresh produce without having to leave home. This is a great option if you like variety and prefer to avoid other shoppers entirely.
Plus, it’s often possible to set up a schedule of regular deliveries – and then you can just forget about grocery shopping all together! At the same time each week, you’ll receive a food delivery straight to your door. Some companies, like Farmbox Direct, will even select a variety of seasonal produce for you, and allow you to make substitutions so you will always enjoy what’s in your delivery.
3. Visit Specialty Stores
If you’re looking for unique ingredients, head to specialty stores like Asian groceries, Mexican markets, and Mediterranean shops. You’ll be able to find a variety of foodstuffs to try along with many necessities – typically at lower prices than at a big grocery chain.
To take full advantage of specialty stores, buy some items you’ve never tried before. It’s easy to find multiple recipes for just about any ingredient, which gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment with new flavors.
4. Grow a Garden
If you have the time, grow your own produce. Just like meals tend to taste better when you make them from scratch, fruits and vegetables can be that much more enjoyable when you’ve grown them yourself. This is also a great project for families to do together. Plus, kids are more likely to try a new food if they had a hand in growing it.
Whereas you will be limited as to what you can grow depending on the climate, there will always be several things suitable for your location. Plus, there’s no need to have a large yard: even the smallest homes have enough room for a few pots of herbs. If you live in an apartment with a balcony, start a container garden. You can grow things like beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and chilies.
Of course, if you do have a large yard, you have a lot more options – including fruit trees. If local regulations allow, you could even have a few chickens for eggs or a beehive for honey.
5. Go Foraging
Just like the satisfaction you get from growing your own food, foraging and finding yummy foods to eat is a fun and satisfying adventure for the weekends. You’ll be surprised by how much you can find – it’s just about knowing where to look! Forests and fields are packed with fruits, vegetables, and plants like berries, dandelions, pawpaw, nuts, and mushrooms. If you live on the coast, you may also be able to forage for shellfish.
Some things you’ll find may be impossible to find at the grocery store, but they’re hugely useful – not to mention nutritious! Just be careful to pick only things that are safe to eat (as some poisonous plants do resemble safe ones), avoid damaging the environment, and make sure you are allowed to forage. It’s worthwhile going with a guide first to learn the ropes.
You can find a wide variety of food without every stepping foot inside a grocery store. Better still, you will have access to a wider range of fresh, delicious and wholesome foods. Even if you’re unable to avoid going to grocery stores entirely, you can definitely reduce how often you go, and it’s always a good time to start eating a healthier, wider variety of foods. Start exploring your options today!