Working as a dietitian, two of the most common complaints I hear are that “eating healthy is too expensive” and “it’s too hard to find healthy options”. This does not have to be the case. In fact, my goal is to prove that eating healthy can actually be cheaper than and just as easy as buying highly processed, poor quality “convenience foods”.
We have some helpful tips and resources that can make eating healthy on a budget much more feasible and pain-free. Hopefully these tips will help you to continue on your path to a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Super Market Strategies
- Gather circulars from various local markets and compare prices of poultry, fish, dairy and produce; shop where the prices are lowest and the deals are biggest.
- You can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking a few minutes each week to clip coupons. Remember, manufacturers coupons can be used in any major retailer.
Make a List:
- Avoid “winging it” in the store. Make a list and stick with it. When you go into a situation prepared you are more likely to achieve success, and that is true with grocery shopping.
Fresh does not always mean best:
- Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh and last much longer, preventing waste; just be sure to choose vegetables frozen without additional seasonings or sauces, it’s always best to season vegetables yourself.
- Frozen proteins can also be a healthful, long-lasting option, but be sure you avoid fish or poultry that is breaded, fried or heavily sauced or seasoned, as additives and breading can pack on the fat, sodium and calories.
- Foods with long ingredient lists may often be cheaper than less processed options, but they will not help you meet your weight loss goals. Choose minimally processed foods, low in calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates; whenever possible choose fresh or frozen produce and proteins. These foods will give you more nutrition for your buck, while helping reduce your waistline.
Work the Perimeter:
- The healthiest, freshest, and least processed options will line the outer walls of the store. This is where you will find fresh and frozen produce, fresh poultry and seafood, and a variety of low fat/fat free dairy options.
Buy In Season Produce:
- With each season comes a variety of fruits and vegetables that are fresh, local and by far cheaper than their out of season counterparts. Supermarkets can purchase in season produce from local vendors, which cut the price by eliminating the shipping and storage fees. Plus, you get foods fresh from the earth instead of old from the storage room. Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that are currently in season.
- Vegetables: green beans, beets, beet greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots cauliflower, collard greens, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, leeks, onions, peppers, radishes, spinach, summer squash, winter squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips.
- Fruit: apples, blueberry, cantaloupe, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, raspberries, watermelon.
For more information on how to eat locally and save check out the Eat Local and Locavore apps available for iOS and Android.
Hopefully these tips and resources will help you continue on your path towards a healthy lifestyle.