Food Holidays Calendar: When to Find Savings in 2017
From doughnuts to bagels and lox, the calendar is packed with national food days that can bring big savings on many favorites. With notice on which food holidays fall when, it's easy to keep an eye out for related deals and freebies. Mark your calendar with these commemorative days and months.
Raechel Conover contributed to this report.
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Drop by a bakery in search of National Croissant Day freebies. The restaurant chain La Madeleine has been known to offer free croissants for the day.
Valentine's Day shares Feb. 14 with a complementary holiday: National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day. While there may not be any big bargains on chocolate leading up to the holiday, the days following are prime time for stocking up on the sweet stuff, discounted for quick post-holiday sale.
March 14 is Potato Chip Day, and March 23 is Chip and Dip Day. Look for deals at food markets nationwide.
IHOP restaurants traditionally go all out for National Pancake Day, giving away free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes in exchange for an optional donation to charity. Other chains have been known to get in on the action.
Restaurants including Buca di Beppo and Brio Tuscan Grille have been known to offer coupons and discounts in honor of National Ravioli Day.
Look for pretzel deals for all of National Soft Pretzel Month but especially for National Pretzel Day on April 26. Several chains typically celebrate; Snyder's of Hanover has done giveaways and Auntie Anne's pretzel shops have offered free-pretzel coupons and the chance to win free pretzels for a year.
April is also National Grilled Cheese Month, and April 2 marks Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Keep an eye out for grocery discounts on the ingredients for these childhood favorites, as well as restaurant freebies on April 12, National Grilled Cheese Day.
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Mark National Shrimp Scampi Day by searching for recipes and hitting up the seafood shop in search of specials. The Red Lobster chain has been known to take the bait.
For frugal foodies, May can be summed up in three words: National Hamburger Month. Look for deals on ground meat during these weeks and to White Castle, which has offered 25-cent and even free sliders in past years.
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Orange juice needs some love this spring -- demand has been reported at the lowest in three decades as consumers worry about sugar and eat less breakfast. But oranges are still Americans' favorite fruit, and squeezing fresh OJ at home with a top juicer (starting at less than $20) is the cheapest, most delicious, and nutritious approach.
DoubleTree by Hilton is known for giving guests chocolate chip cookies and has even gone outside its hotels on at least one National Chocolate Chip Day. A more reliable way to mark the day is by indulging in a store-bought chocolate chip cookie or baking up a batch of the treats.
On a healthier note, May is National Salad Month. Watch for money-saving salad ideas to take a star turn on recipe sites this month to counteract those burgers and cookies.
Related: Is Homemade Salad Dressing Cheaper Than Store-Bought?
June, stuffed with food holidays, is both National Candy Month and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month -- but in deference to keeping a beach-ready body and the easy availability of fruit and veggies, best to stay focused on grocery store produce sections, where prices are plummeting. Don't forget to shop the farmers market too.
National Doughnut Day usually falls on the month's first Friday (June 2) -- or on Nov. 6, according to some calendars, but June is when Krispy Kreme has given away free doughnuts to customers, no purchase required, and Dunkin' Donuts has served up a freebie for customers who buy a drink. Tim Hortons has most recently gone the coupon route, offering a half-dozen for $3.
Related: 43 Crazy or Unique Doughnuts You Have to Try
July heat means there's no better time for National Ice Cream Month and a bunch of tag-alongs, including National Ice Cream Day, on the third Sunday (July 16 in 2017). Baskin-Robbins, Graeter's, Cold Stone Creamery, Marble Slab Creamery, Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery, Burger King, McDonald's, and even Uber have all had deals for the month.
Related: 50 Ice Cream Shops With Unique Treats Across the Country
National Fried Chicken Day has brought deals from Church's Chicken and other nationwide chains (although not KFC) as well as local restaurants.
Quick-service Italian-food chain Fazoli's has celebrated National Lasagna Day for the past four years, setting up customers for some free twice-baked lasagna with a drink purchase. Brio Tuscan Grill has been known to offer deals as well.
Compared with the first seven months of the year, August is slow for food holidays -- but high time for vacations. In the spirit of the laid-back, warm-weather season, A&W has offered a free float to each customer.
National Cheese Pizza Day on Sept. 5 has been marked with discounts at some Papa John's locations, Domino's, and Pizza Hut, so watch for deals. Sept. 15 does double duty as National Cheese Toast Day and National Double Cheeseburger Day. Sept. 18 ramps down to simply National Cheeseburger Day.
Sometimes pegged to the Saturday before Labor Day, International Bacon Day could be spent debating bacon vs. Canadian bacon or trying inventive recipes loaded with "meat candy." The online store Bacon Freak has a 20 percent off sale.
National Guacamole Day is a good time to look for recipes and coupons for pricey avocados and the popular dip.
For two years in a row, legislators have asked that Sept. 25 be recognized as National Lobster Day, a prelude to an entire month of enjoying October as National Seafood Month with special discounts at restaurants in Maine, New York, Boston, and elsewhere.
National Taco Day has inspired some restaurants to offer special ingredients and price breaks, although some just offer greeting cards (Taco Bell) and playlists (Qdoba).
November is a natural for celebrations of food, considering it's time for the traditional Thanksgiving feast. But the month also holds unrelated food commemorations such as National Peanut Butter Lovers Month.
National Candy Day is perfectly placed to pick up the last of the discounted Halloween candy and encourage new deals from businesses such as Dylan's Candy Bar and Hy-Vee, which has offered 10 candy bars for just $4 on the day.
National Nachos Day has brought deals from restaurants such as On The Border (half off popular versions) and Salsarita's ($5 nachos throughout the day).
National Cake Day is on Nov. 26, and National Chocolates Day is on Nov. 29, both offering opportunities to find deals, coupons, and discounts at grocery stores or restaurants.
December is somewhat predictable in terms of national food celebrations. It's Fruitcake Month, with National Fruitcake Day on Dec. 27, in addition to Pumpkin Pie Day (Dec. 25). The month also contains Lager Beer Week (the second week of December) Lager Day (Dec. 10), and Repeal of Prohibition Day (Dec. 5). Look for celebratory discounts at bars and liquor stores.
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National Eggnog Day arrives after most fans of this seasonal flavor have stocked up, but those in search of last-minute holiday refreshment may find bargains, and the entire month is National Eggnog Month.
By the time National Candy Cane Day rolls around after Christmas, those with a penchant for the perennial holiday favorite may be tired of it. But take advantage of after-Christmas sales and store wrapped canes in a cool, dry place and they'll easily last until next year, according to Eat By Date.