Food for Thought — May

Maintaining a Nutrient-rich Diet Amid Skyrocketing Grocery Prices
Supermarket cart in aisle.

This monthly feature was written by Nutrition Sciences Services Practice Manager Kaitlin Poillon and Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of the Center for Nutrition & Performance Nyree Dardarian from Drexel’s nutrition counseling and the Department of Nutrition Services in the College of Nursing & Health Professions.

The USDA predicts that grocery store food prices will increase between 5 to 6 percent this year. Maintaining a nutrient-dense diet is already challenging enough without having to deal with the stressors of inflation. Try these RD-approved tips to keep your diet balanced and your wallet full:

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Buy “in-season” produce which is less expensive and at peak flavor.
  • Produce that is in-season during the springtime months include apples, apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, garlic, kale, kiwi, lemons, lettuce, limes, mushrooms, onions, peas, pineapples, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, and turnips.
  • Choose canned fruit in 100 percent fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. Canned fruits and vegetables contain just as much nutrition as fresh produce, and they often cost less.
  • Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables without added sauces or butter. Just like canned, frozen fruits and vegetables are equally as nutritious and usually cost less.
  • Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables also keep for much longer than fresh produce. They are quick and easy to add to any meal.


  • Grains can be found in many areas of the store, including the bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and snack aisles.
  • Pasta and rice are budget-friendly grain options.
  • Aim to incorporate whole grains 50 percent of the time. Whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, bulgur, quinoa, farro, buckwheat, and oatmeal are a few examples of whole grains. Store-brand products are frequently less expensive.

Protein Foods

  • Great low-cost protein foods include beans, peas, and lentils, such as kidney beans, lima beans, split peas, and garbanzo beans. These plant-based protein foods provide similar amounts of protein but cost way less.
  • Purchase value packs or family-sized meat products, and freeze what is not used to be cooked later.
  • Canned tuna, salmon, and sardines are great options for seafood, as they store well and are a lower-cost option.
  • Eggs are another option containing protein that are easy to prepare and typically less expensive.


  • Buy the larger tub of yogurt as opposed to individual yogurt cups. Add flavor by mixing in fruits of your own.

Yogurt parfait recipe:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup low-fat, vanilla Greek yogurt
    • 1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
    • 2/3 cup granola
  • Directions:
    • Scoop ½ c. of Greek yogurt into a bowl or cup
    • Add ½ c. mixed berries on top of Greek yogurt
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of granola on top of mixed berries
    • Resume steps 1–3, creating layers
    • Enjoy!

Other Tips

  • Stick to water consumption to prevent spending extra money on soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Store-brand herbs, spices, and paper products are typically less expensive options.
  • Skip the chip, candy, and cookie aisles to save money, time, and calories.
  • Check out your favorite grocery store’s website or app for weekly deals, electronic coupons, and free rewards.

Are you a Drexel employee? Learn more by signing up for FREE Nutrition Counseling sessions today at