What is the number one reason complaint I receive about eating healthy? It is too expensive! I completely understand and it can certainly appear that way at first glance -- but after a bit of evaluating, you soon realize that eating healthy is absolutely possible on a budget. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it can be quite simple!
I'm going to share some of my tried-and-true tips on how to eat healthy without breaking the bank. Take these tips and make them habits in your life and you'll soon find you can successfully have a healthier kitchen without sacrificing a large chunk of your bank account.
Shop the perimeter of the store. Stay out of the inside isles. Think about it -- all of the healthy items are on the outside perimeter of the store. For the most part, the inside aisles are the pre-packaged, boxed foods that typically aren't ideal for a healthy lifestyle – and they’re more expensive per serving. There are certainly some items you'll need from the inside aisles, but the majority of the cart can be filled with items from the store perimeter. So always start by shopping the perimeter of the store before you dive into the inside aisles.
Skip the pre-cut items. Yes, it takes extra time and elbow grease, but buying pre-chopped onions or cut-up fruit costs a significant amount more than buying a full cantaloupe or butternut squash and cutting it yourself.
Shop and spend your hard earned money at different places. Wholesale stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club may be most beneficial to shop at for some healthy items, but probably not your entire grocery list. Scope out where you can get your staple items weekly. Are your veggies most affordable at the Farmers Market or Trader Joes? Is it most economical to get your grains and beans in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods? Shop around and find the best deals for what you need on a weekly basis.
I always buy local and recommend to everyone to buy local when you can.
Get your green thumb ready and start a garden. Are there some items you frequently eat that you can grow in your backyard or on your balcony? There are a tremendous amount of foods that you can easily grow at home, many of them you can even grow from scraps. Free is always great, right!? And when you grow it yourself, you know your food isn't laden with harmful chemicals. So, what can you look into growing yourself - leafy greens, strawberries, herbs, carrots, cucumbers…the list is endless.
Eat and buy in season. In season vegetables and fruits are far less expensive, more nutritious and easier to find. Fruits are almost always on sale at conventional grocery stores so check online to see where you can get berries half off or where you can stock up on fruit for the week.
Some produce costs more than others. Making the bulk of your produce the least expensive ones can keep your grocery bill down each week. Greens, carrots, apples, bananas, and celery are among a few very inexpensive options. Balance those out with some more expensive broccoli, brussels sprouts or berries, and you're well on your way to eating healthy on a budget.
Here is a big tip; the best way to get produce that is in season is through CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. Go to localharvest.org to find a CSA near you.
I personally buy what I need and do my best not to fill up my grocery cart with foods I don’t need to eat such as snacks, cookies or chips. These items add up quickly at the register and on your waistline.
Do you have a great way to save on your health and wellness producing grocery bill? Please leave a comment below and share.