Eating well does not need to cost a lot of money.
Here are some ways to choose healthy foods and save along the way during your next grocery trip.
1. Plan your meals
Before you go to the grocery store, plan your meals (and snacks) for the week.
Also, make sure to check your fridge and cabinets to see what you already have. There are usually a lot of foods hidden in the back that can be used.
-> When you shop with a list, you will be less likely to buy extra items that are not on it.
2. Cook once, eat twice!
Cooking large meals can save you both time and money (and foods purchased in bulk are almost always cheaper).
-> Leftovers can be used for lunches, in other recipes or frozen in single-portion sizes to be enjoyed later on.
3. Determine where to shop
Check the local newspaper, online and at the store for sales and coupons.
If your local grocery store offers a savings card, be sure to sign up and check the weekly circular to see what's on sale.
-> Instead of shopping for groceries based on your weekly meal plan, consider planning your meals around what's on sale.
4. Shop for foods that are in season
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually easier to get and may be a lot less expensive. Your local farmer’s market is also a good source of seasonal produce.
-> Consider visiting the market at the end of the day, when you could very likely score some great deals.
5. Try frozen produce
At certain times of the year, frozen fruits and vegetables may be less expensive than fresh.
-> Frozen fruits and vegetables are actually just as nutritious as fresh ones.
6. Focus on nutritious, low-cost foods
Certain foods tend to be less expensive, so you can make the most of your food dollars by finding recipes that use the following ingredients: beans, peas, and lentils; sweet or white potatoes; eggs; peanut butter; grains such as oats, brown rice, barley or quinoa; and frozen fruits and vegetables.
-> Buying fresh fruits and vegetables is less expensive and healthier than buying pre-cut and bagged. You have to do more prep work, but you can save money.
7. Make your own healthy snacks
Make your own snacks by purchasing large tubs of plain yogurt or cottage cheese and dividing them into one-cup containers. For trail mix, combine nuts, dried fruit and whole grain pretzels or cereal; store small portions in airtight containers. Air-popped popcorn and whole fresh fruits in season also tend to cost less compared to pre-packaged items.
-> Convenience costs money, so many snacks, even healthy ones, usually cost more when sold individually.
8. Cook more, eat out less
Cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out.
Make it a habit to cook at home, rather than eating out at the last minute.
Generally, you can feed an entire family of 4 for the same price as buying food for one or two people at a restaurant. Some people find it best to cook for the entire week on the weekends, while others cook one meal at a time.
-> By cooking yourself, you also gain the benefit of knowing exactly what is in your food.
Have a great day.