Use fresh foods first. Loaded up on fresh peaches, plums, Swiss chard, squash, apples and zucchini at the store? Excellent! But beware that fresh foods – especially delicate produce like leafy greens – will be the first to spoil. So plan your meals accordingly: Prepare meals with fresh produce the first few days after shopping, and as they're used up, start turning to your canned and frozen foods.
Stock your pantry. Save money by keeping your cupboards full of canned plant-based foods like tomatoes and dried foods, such as those oats and lentils you bought in bulk. Not only are these options typically more affordable, but they have longer shelf lives than fresh foods. So when you run out of fresh produce or don't want to spend time cooking, you can look to the pantry, instead of ordering an expensive veggie pizza.
Cook in big batches. Kudos if you've largely avoided those pricey convenience foods, but for busy after-work scrambles and eating-over-the-keyboard lunches, you could probably still use some convenience. Try making foods in bulk when you have time so you can enjoy them when you're swamped. For example, make a double batch of Cindy Silver's lentil soup, and you can enjoy it Sunday, and then reheat Monday and change up the sides for a super-fast dinner. Make your own individual breakfast bars with all that granola you bought in bulk, and pack one for lunch each day of the week to save money at the vending machine. Make Dreena Burton's hummus, and store it in a few airtight containers, so you have a quick and easy snack or appetizer ready to serve.