Expert Alert

Navigating inflation and holiday meals

Alt Text: An image of a shopping bag standing on a table with a shopping receipt hanging down from the bag next to a headshot image of Extension Educator Susie West.
Credit: Getty Images

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (12/05/2023) —  Families may be worried about the impact of inflation on their holiday plans with increased prices for festivities, gifts and especially meals. 

Extension Health and Nutrition Educator Susie West provides expert commentary about how to share comforting and nutritious meals with your loved ones without breaking the bank. 

Susie West, MPH

“Plan your menu in advance and split up your holiday grocery purchases across several visits so you don’t end up with a huge grocery bill for special purchases on top of your usual shopping. Grabbing some canned, frozen or shelf-stable ingredients well in advance of your holiday meals can also help you make the most of sales. 

Reassess your traditions and reconsider what food items we make each year but don’t get eaten or those we just don’t enjoy. One of my favorite holiday meal traditions that my family changed was opting for each family to bring a soup to the gathering instead of doing the typical holiday spread. It was so fun to try a bunch of different soups and it distributes the meal cost more evenly since everyone brings something comparable.

I’d like to acknowledge that sometimes holiday traditions become so customary that it is very difficult to adjust, change or reconsider meals because of cost. The reality is that some holiday traditions and foods are too important to alter. I would encourage folks to seek out
food assistance for their families if they need it. Most food shelves offer traditional holiday staples this time of year.”

Susie West, MPH, is a member of the Health and Nutrition team in Extension’s Department of Family, Health and Wellbeing. Her areas of focus are food access and mental wellbeing, with an emphasis on the experiences of those utilizing the emergency food access system. She serves on several teams researching and implementing strategies to make food access more equitable and dignified.

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Media Contacts

Allison Sandve

University of Minnesota Extension, Twin Cities