How to Eat Healthy and Still Save Money on Groceries!
07 August 2015
Many people are under the common impression that healthy eating is too costly to afford in the long-term. That a diet made up of real, whole foods is a privilege rather than a necessity.
Of course there are many “fancy” health foods out there that can without a doubt can result in a sky high grocery bill, but the truth is you don’t NEED all of these items. Eating healthy is totally attainable, no matter what your monthly income is.
These are some of my favourite ways to keep grocery bills low while still eating healthy and actually saving money on meals:
Hold a Monthly Kitchen Cleanout
You will be surprised at how much you end up buying unnecessarily. This is usually because life gets so busy that we forget to do a check in with what we actually have in the kitchen already. As a result we end up buying items that we think we may need just to save ourselves the hassle of having to come back to the store again that week. A very effective way to save on grocery costs is to hold a kitchen cleanout week once a month – use up whatever you have left in your kitchen. Use up any frozen meals or vegetables, cook bulk whole grains and beans, clean out the fridge and raid the cupboards. This requires a little creativity on your part, but it's definitely worth it to save that grocery money for the week. It also ensures that you make use of everything you buy in a timely manner so that nothing goes to waste.
Explore your local farmer's market or find smaller independent stores to buy from( see some of my favourite local markets). Organic foods tend to be less expensive when bought locally. Foods that are in season are also cheaper (and usually of better quality) than out-of-season produce. Take advantage of stores known to be less expensive and keep in mind that you don't have to shop all in one place. If meat is cheaper at one store but fresh vegetables are cheaper elsewhere, go to both places and stock up on what you need.
Embrace your Veggies
Organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat is always your healthiest option when it comes to animal protein. But we all know that this is pricey. To cut back on costs, make two meals a day meatless. Experiment with a "meatless Monday" if you're up for it, instead focusing on alternative sources of protein like beans, tofu, whole grains and eggs.
Bulk is Best
Stores often have great deals on buying foods like grains, nuts, legumes and spices in bulk. They're typically healthier and usually have no added ingredients or preservatives. These are all foods with a long shelf life, so stock up when you can and keep them stored for a quick, easy, cheap meal.
Take Advantage of Sales
Pay attention to sales, local deals and coupons, and take advantage when you're able. Stock up when non-perishables are cheaper so you have them on hand for later use. Meats, herbs, fruits and vegetables often freeze well. Grains, nuts, beans and spices will last a long time in your cupboards. Sales are also a great time to stock up on packaged items such as almond butter, canned pumpkin and vegetable stock.
Visit the Frozen Section
Don't be afraid of the frozen food aisle. For some reason, we typically associate frozen produce with less nutrition but this is simply untrue. Not only is frozen produce often less expensive than fresh, it's often flash frozen to retain more nutrients than fresh fruit or veggies would. Because these foods are frozen, they often don’t require preservatives to keep their shelf life, so frozen produce can even be better than fresh.
Get Creative with Leftovers
Never throw food away! Spice up day-old meals to make a brand new dish you're bound to save money. Turn last night's healthy dinner into today's lunch. Not only will this cost you less money, but it'll also save you time and keep you healthy. If you made chicken breasts the night before, simply cut up the left-over chicken and add it to stir-fries vegetables for a whole new dish. You can also use leftover meats to make pies, add to egg to create a delicious quiche or cut up and toss into a salad for lunch. Get creative…you will be surprised at what you manage to come up with! If you are lost for ideas check out some of my healthy recipes for a little inspiration!
Do a Stock Take and Plan your Meals.
Before you do your weekly grocery shopping, make a plan for the week. By thinking ahead to what you're going to cook for each meal, you're way more likely to stick to only the ingredients you need and not spend money on unnecessary items and impulse buys. Take stock of what you already have on hand so you're only buying the pantry essentials that you need.
Curb your Spending on Restaurants and Take-outs.
Eating out can seriously add up. It may seem like a no-brainer, but the less you order food, the more money you will save. This means dinner, snacks, lunch ... even your morning coffee. Start bringing lunch from home and make coffee in a to-go mug every morning. Store snacks in your desk and invest in a reusable water bottle. Additionally, preparing your own meals guarantees that you know EXACTLY what ingredients are being used and how they are prepared, making it that much easier to follow a healthy eating plan.
Give these tips a test run by trying out the following exercise: Monitor your weekly grocery spend over the next two weeks. Then implement the tips above for two weeks and compare your current spending to what your costs were before. Let’s see how much you save…
Yours in Health Always,