5 tips for buying healthy food on a budget
“That costs how much?”
“I can’t afford healthy food.”
When it comes to healthy eating, one of the biggest challenges is the cost at the till. It all seems so nice when the items are stacking up in the cart- Best choices, skipping the sugar, etc etc..
Then you arrive at the till and your happy bubble is popped when it adds up to way more than you wanted to spend. I’ve been there. I’ve been working on making this happen less often (read: hopefully never again!) and it’s been one of my goals for the past year to get my grocery budget and healthy eating goals to find common ground.
Here are 5 basic tips that will be a great foundation to buying healthy foods while sticking to a budget.
1. Remember the basics
It can be tempting to want to stock up on #allthehealthythings that grocery stores offer. And they offer a LOT! Healthy eating is becoming something that people are very interested in, and there’s no shortage of companies wanting to get their healthy products out there.
Remember this basic principle. Plain fruits and veggies = healthy.
This is my base when I’m looking to add more nutrition to our meals & keeping this as the foundation gives me the best return on investment.
Skip over the packages of very expensive granola with quinoa and hemp hearts. Skip the pre-mixed trail-mix with organic chocolate nibs and pumpkin seeds. Skip the fancy pre-made fruit trays with dip that are several times the price as what you could make the same thing at home.
Just stick with basic fruits and veggies if you’ve been going over budget, and since there’s a huge array of options in the produce department, it’s a good bet that you’ll find some plain old fruits and veggies that you can afford!
2. Shop seasonal
Buying produce in season will not only give you the tastiest fruits and veggies, they will also be freshest (meaning more nutrition), and cheapest!
Stocking up on oranges in the winter and strawberries in the summer, rather than the other way around, will be a huge benefit to your budget!
Don’t feel like the overpriced carton of blueberries has to be in your cart just because they are a nutritious ‘superfood’ and the recipe you want to make calls for them.
If they’re not in season, either sub them out for (more reasonably priced) frozen blueberries or hitch up your big girl pants and make the executive decision to change the recipe, opting instead for an in season fruit! #allrecipesarechangable
3. Skip the pre-made snacks
Not only do pre-made snacks (think fruit snacks, “healthy” bites, packages of veggies & dip, fruit and nut or granola bars, etc.) add a lot of cost due to the packaging, they are rarely as healthy as keeping it simple and chopping up some fruits & veggies or pulling a muffin out of the freezer.
With a little prepping ahead, your freezer can be stocked with grab and go items, and a banana and handful of almonds is just as quick as pulling out a package of fruit snacks.
A few quick snack ideas:
- Banana + handful almonds
- Apple slices with nut or seed butter dip
- Plain yogurt with frozen berries +drizzle of honey
- Homemade trail mix
- Fresh veggies & hummus
- Berries + cheese
4. Plan a weekly menu
This can be as involved or as easy as you make it, and having a plan to follow will without a doubt save your money. Not only will you know what to buy when you’re grocery shopping, you’ll also throw away less forgotten food.
5. Freeze produce about to go bad
Even the best meal plans sometimes go awry, unexpected events happen, or for whatever reason, you don’t end up using all the food you purchased.
Rather than tossing limp spinach or sad looking broccoli out after it has gone bad, put it into the freezer when you see that it’s past its best. Most fruits and veggies will freeze well enough to use for soups, casseroles or smoothies.
For more regarding the topic of healthy food on a budget, check out this free resource: 5 days to a fresh start, which is an email series put together by Tiffany over at ‘Don’t waste the crumbs’.
It’s a 5 day challenge with some great grocery saving tips. You’ll get 5 emails from Tiffany where she’ll give you a challenge or something to think about in how you budget and spend your grocery dollars.
Tiffany knows her stuff. Her entire website is about eating healthy food on a budget, and she has an 8- week program JUST about getting your grocery budget into line called Grocery budget bootcamp program.
I’ve been through her grocery budget bootcamp program, and can tell you that she is absolutely worth the time invested if you’re seriously wanting to get your budget into shape. Her free series is full of great little nuggets!
So there you have 5 tips from me, and a little bonus nudge to go learn more 🙂
Add your suggestions in the comments section below. What money saving tips have helped your budget?