Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy on a budget

Eating nutritious, healthy foods doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little planning and some mindful shopping you can easily save money while enjoying your favorite nourishing foods. Use the following tips to be a savvy shopper.

Plan Meals for the Week

Make a Grocery List

Once you’ve planned out your meals, it’s time to make your grocery list! Creating a list not only ensures you won’t forget anything, but it also makes you more likely to avoid adding extras to your cart that you probably don’t need. Bonus, going in with a plan can also cut down the time you spend at the grocery store!

Look for Coupons

Many grocery stores have apps these days where you can find digital coupons. If there are specific products or brands you buy frequently consider searching for coupons online as well.

Shop the Store’s Perimeter

The produce area, deli counter and dairy section are always located around the perimeter of the grocery store. The foods found in these areas are usually fresh, making them good for you and your wallet. The center aisles of the grocery store are where we find most of the packaged foods. Not only are these processed foods but they are also typically more expensive.

Buy Whole Foods

Pre-chopped fruits and vegetables may add to the convenience of food prep, however the prices are usually marked up dramatically. Instead, purchased whole fruits and vegetables and chop them at home yourself.

Choose Plant-Based Proteins

Dried beans and legumes are inexpensive, have a long shelf life, are full of healthy vitamins and minerals, and are a filling addition to any meal!

Shop for Local, Seasonal Produce

Buying local produce is a great way to offset the cost of organic foods. In-season produce is often often abundant, which means it will cost less.

Prioritize the Dirty Dozen

Organic produce typically costs more, so choosing organic when it matters most is a great way to save money. Foods on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list contain the most pesticides. Foods on their Clean Fifteen list contain the fewest pesticides, so you can opt for conventional versions of these if cost is a factor. Keep an updated version of the lists for reference if it’s helpful.

Visit the Frozen Food Section

For less expensive fruit and vegetable options (especially organic), don’t rule out the frozen foods section! Fruits and vegetables are typically flash-frozen right after harvest, which means they’ll still pack a nutritional punch. Frozen produce also keeps much longer than fresh produce, so it’s a great option if your fruits and veggies often go bad before you have a chance to eat them.

Buy in Bulk

Dry goods in the bulk food section tend to cost less than the same amount of the same food in a package. Rather than paying for the package, opt to buy foods like rice, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and spices from the bulk foods section. Consider bringing your own containers for an even more sustainable option!

Compare Prices

Being flexible with grocery store brand and location can help save money on your grocery bill. Review the online sale ads before heading to the store to see who has the most items that you are going to purchase on sale. Also, don’t get hung up on specific brands. What’s important is what they put in the product, not what fancy packaging or brand name they have on the outside. Read the ingredient list, and review the unit price to get the best deal.

Source: Institute for Integrative Nutrition

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