Eating healthy is a task in itself; eating healthy on a budget can seem even more daunting. Which fruits and veggies to buy organic, and which to buy conventional? Where to save and where to splurge? How to eat clean and natural without spending a ton of money on fresh veggies that can quickly go bad if not eaten right away? I could go on, but instead I’ll break down my tips for how I eat healthy while saving a ton of money at the grocery store.
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- Map out a loose meal plan for the week. Choose about 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 snacks. Only buy the ingredients that you will need for these items.
- Make a shopping list using your meal plan before you go to the grocery store/farmer’s market and stick to it!
- Shop at a local farmer’s market for produce. I find that fruits and veggies are almost half the price at farmer’s markets than they are in a conventional grocery store. It’s better for your wallet and the environment.
- On the other hand, shop at a conventional grocery store or a big box store such as Target for packaged items such as Greek yogurt, egg whites, soy and almond milk, cheeses, bread, etc. When you buy these items at the farmer’s market there tends to be more of a markup as their specialty is local produce, not packaged goods. Conventional stores sell larger quantities of these items so they are able to offer larger discounts on them.
- Use coupons for packaged items. Find them on your local store’s website. And don’t forget that most stores accept competitor’s coupons.
- If an item that you eat often is on sale, such as raspberries, for example, buy extra and put them in the freezer for future use.
- Don’t be afraid to eat breakfast for dinner! One of my fave go-to’s is a protein pancake for dinner, which is super cheap, yet nutritious and filling.
- Have a food item that’s about to go bad? Find a recipe that includes it at SuperCook. You enter the items that you have in your kitchen, then highlight the food that you want to use in a recipe and voila! a slew of recipe options so you don’t have to let your expiring food go to waste.
- The debate over conventional vs. organic: there’s a ton of articles out there on which foods are worth buying organic. My short “buy organic” list is as follows: apples, grapes, cucumbers, celery, peppers, strawberries, grapes, spinach. What to definitely not buy organic? Processed foods such as crackers, granola, cereal. Fruits and vegetables are really the only items you need to buy organic, if you are on a budget. And even so, I still don’t always buy those organic. One day!
- Don’t go for pre-cut fruits and veggies. If you buy them in their whole form and take the time to cut/chop them yourself, you will save a ton of money. Plus, you burn extra calories preparing your own food!
- Make your own soup. It costs under $5 to buy vegetable or chicken stock, beans, and a multitude of veggies to throw together your own soup. Plus, it lasts all week. Try Beth’s white bean, spinach and pesto soup.
- My favorite super cheap, yet super nutritious foods: dry beans, steel cut oats, canned tuna, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, lentils, spinach, egg whites. There are a ton of recipes you can make with these items!
How do you save money on groceries? Share your best tips in the comments!