There is a common myth that eating healthfully is automatically super pricey and will blow through your weekly food budget in a matter of days. But guess what? It’s possible to eat healthier and stick to a budget! Here are ten ways to trim your food spending without sacrificing good nutrition.
Make a List and Stick to It
Plan your meals for the week. Look in your pantry and refrigerator to see what items you already have. Make a list of what you need to buy before you head to the store. While you shop, don’t add items not on your shopping list. The longer you’re at the grocery store, the more money you will spend.
Pay Attention to the Price Per Unit
Locate the unit price on the shelf directly below the product. If it is not listed on the shelf, simply divide the price by the number of ounces or pounds. Use this to determine which product is the most economical.
Get the Best Price
Check the newspaper, online and at the store for sales and coupons. Look for sales on meat and seafood since these are often the most expensive items on your list. Sometimes coupons and sales promote pricier items that you don’t usually buy.
Be Smart about Produce
Buying fruit and vegetables in season can lower costs. Compare fresh, frozen and canned products in order to select the best option. Check out the local farmers market; fresh produce may be less expensive there.
Choose the Store or Generic Brands
Brand-name items are often more expensive than the store or generic brands and usually have the same ingredients at a fraction of the price.
Buy in Bulk
It is usually cheaper to buy in bulk. Family packs of meals, chicken, frozen vegetables and potatoes are smart choices. Check your freezer space before you shop to be sure you have room to store everything.
Pre-packaged meals like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables and instant items will cost more to purchase than if you cook them yourself.
Try Cheaper Choices
Buy items like beans for an inexpensive protein option. Try adding a bean-based meal twice a week to save money. For cheaper vegetable options, try carrots, greens or potatoes. For cheaper fruit options, try apples and bananas.
Cook Once or Twice for the Whole Week
Prepare large batches and freeze in individual containers. Use them throughout the week and you won’t need to eat out as often.
Eat Before you Shop
If you go to the store hungry, you are more likely to buy unhealthy items you do not need. Be sure to eat a healthy snack before you shop.
For additional guidance and support, schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians by calling our nutrition department at 225-924-8313.