Eight simple tips on how to shop healthy on a budget, so you protect your wallet and waistline!
1. Plan meals/recipes
Before you go shopping, pick out two or three meals for the week and then grocery shop accordingly. Planning your meals for the week saves time and ensures you use up perishable items.
2. Buy in bulk
Scope out the bulk bins at your local grocery store! Many stores carry more than dried beans and grains in their bulk bins now. You can save on snacks like trail mix, nuts, granola and whole grains, like oats. Shopping in the bulk section allows control over how much you buy and saves money on packaging.
3. Freezer items
Frozen fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients and perfect for off-season produce dishes. They are picked at the peak of ripeness and convenient to have on hand for soups, smoothies, overnight oats, quesadillas, pasta dishes and more.
4. Buy in-season
Buying what is local and in season saves money. Seasonal produce is high in nutrients and rich in flavor because it is picked at the peak of ripeness rather than prematurely to last a long trip. Seasonal produce is also more abundant so prices are lower.
5. Freeze leftover herbs in ice cube trays with olive oil
Skip the waste by making herbed olive oil cubes for use in soups, stews, omelets and more! Simply chop your herbs, set them in an ice cube tray with olive oil and store until ready to use.
6. Avoid pre-chopped fruits/veggies
Pre-chopped fruits and vegetables can be tempting to throw into your cart. Pre-chopped are great if you’ll be on the road or are stressed for time but you do pay for the convenience. They can cost upwards of two to three dollars more for a small portion. Buying whole carrots, pineapple, watermelon, garlic, celery, etc. will save you money every time. If you are busy during the week, prep produce on Sundays so it is ready to use
7. Utilize social media and coupons
Many companies offer coupons and offers through their social media accounts. Check Facebook, Twitter or the company website for coupons of your favorite brand’s products.
8. Discounts for cases
If you find yourself buying multiple bottles of Hint water, coffee pods, or even wine, ask the store if they offer a case discount, or look online for special offers. Some places may offer 10% off so you can have a supply on hand and buy less often. And online, like for Hint water, you may see that you can subscribe, saving some extra dollars!
Do you have any tips for shopping healthy on a budget? We’d love to hear in the comments below!
Courtney McGowan is a freelance writer who recently moved from Boston to San Diego. She is a graduate of Boston University’s Master of Science in Health Communication program and currently works at the University of California San Diego as the Research Ethics Program Coordinator. She enjoys writing, cooking, NPR, reading and running. She strives to educate others about various topics in health and wellness. Twitter: @courtasee // Instagram: @courtneym913 // www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-mcgowan/33/3ba/262/