Many individuals find it difficult to eat the right foods on a budget. Rising pricing, impulsive buying, and grocery store layouts push many of us to fill our carts with quick meals high in salt, sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals that aren’t always the healthiest choices. So, how do you go about shopping for better food on a budget?
You can eat healthful meals while staying on a budget with a little know-how and preparing ahead of time.
How to Buy Healthy Groceries on a Budget?
To address that question, here are ten practical grocery-shopping tips that maintain healthy eating habits at the top of your priority list.
1. Grocery Budget
What is the first and most important step to eating well on a budget? You must set aside
money for food. Each and every month. Here’s how to do it: Take a look at your most recent bank statements. Each month, how much did you spend on groceries? This will provide you with a starting point for determining how much money you’ll spend this month. The longer you budget, the easier it will become. It can take you three months to get it properly, but don’t give up!
There isn’t a predetermined amount that you should spend on this budget line. If you’re interested, the typical household of four spends $920–1,100 on groceries every month. 1
2. Plan Ahead
Meal planning is one of the most effective strategies to eat healthy while also saving money. After all, there’s nothing worse than putting goods in your shopping basket only to learn when you get home that they don’t add up to genuine recipes.
Make note of what you currently have at home and what you need to purchase as you plan meals. Consider things that may be used in several dishes as you make your shopping list to keep expenses down and food waste to a minimum. If you’re preparing something that asks for half a bag of spinach, you can use the remainder later in the week.
3. Processed Foods Must be Avoided
The expense of processing and packing is passed on to the customer. Furthermore, processed meals have higher levels of salt and preservatives.
One technique for reducing processed food consumption is to shop the perimeter of the store, where the fresh goods are kept.
The more processed a meal is, the more expensive it will be; sticking to whole foods in their original state is always cheap and healthier.
4. Use Bulk Bins To Your Advantage
Purchasing things in bulk containers helps to reduce waste and save money. Depending on where you buy, this area may also include the majority of the ingredients you’ll need to prepare a nutritious dinner at a lesser cost. You may also purchase items in any quantity you like.
Most grocery shops also provide organic and non-GMO alternatives in their bulk section, making it a fantastic place to shop for clean foods at a reasonable price. Among the most popular bulk foods are:
- Coffee and tea, both organic and non-organic
- Wild rice, cereal, quinoa, and oatmeal are examples of whole grains.
- Fruits, beans, lentils, and vegetables that have been dried
- Spices and herbs
- Popcorn, chocolate-covered nuts, dried fruit, and a variety of other nutritious snacks
5. Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables Should be Purchased
You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also eat the healthiest meals available. Print out a handy produce list and keep it on your refrigerator. When you go to the grocery shop, you’ll always be aware of what’s in season.
Who doesn’t like to help out their small businesses? Purchasing locally grown vegetables supports your community’s economy, and you may freeze it for later use.
6. Prepare Meals at Home
Are you gearing up for a hectic week? You’re tempted to stop for greasy fast food on your way home at this point. This is a fact. Take responsibility for your actions. Also, this must be defeated.
Consider those busy nights in advance when planning your meals, and include fast, nutritious dinners on your shopping list. Also, have a stash of healthful nonperishable snacks in your car to keep the cravings (and your shopping bill) in check.
7. Coupons And Apps Might be Helpful
Don’t underestimate the value of coupons, whether you clip or click them. The majority of supermarkets provide coupon-filled smartphone applications that can help you save money. Install the apps on your phone and use them to generate your grocery list.
8. Be a Savvy Consumer
Stick to your food list to keep your budget from ballooning. Use those weekly mailings to plan out your grocery shopping for the week, and compare pricing for your favorite foods among retailers. This helps you avoid impulsive purchases, which may quickly deplete your food budget.
Avoid ‘buy one, get one free’ deals as well, Either you’ll purchase goods you won’t eat, or you’ll overpay for the ‘buy’ item to make up for the expense of the free one.
9. Reduce Your Meat Consumption
The most costly element of a meal is usually the meat. We also know that consuming a majority of your diet from plant-based sources lowers your risk of chronic illness. As a result, limiting meat intake – particularly red meat – by eating it less frequently and in smaller amounts can help you save money while also lowering your cancer risk.
Tofu and beans, which are plant-based proteins, are a wonderful meat substitutes. You can add more vegetables to your diet without compromising your protein consumption by making these healthy changes.
If you must consume red meat, limit yourself to 18 ounces per week. Choose lean chicken, fish, or plant-based protein instead. Avoid processed meats, even if they appear to be cost-effective. Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, and any meat found at the deli counter, contain chemicals that are harmful to your health.
10. Increase Your Water Consumption
It’s amazing how easy it is to consume your calories (and deplete your bank account) simply by drinking soda. Sugar may be found in even “healthy” fruit juices.
Switch to water and straight-up black coffee as your beverages of choice to save money (and calories). It may appear to be torturous at first, but you’ll be amazed by the long-term effects it may have on your health and your wallet.
More Ways to Save Money on Food Without Losing Nutrition
- Before you head to the supermarket, have a nutritious snack or dinner. When you’re hungry, you’re more inclined to make spontaneous purchases.
- So you don’t waste anything, look for recipes that employ the same or comparable components.
- Focus on healthy carbs instead of bad carbs (white bread, cakes, cookies, bakery goods, white rice, and certain cereals) (whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables). Healthy carbohydrates are processed slowly by your body, giving long-lasting energy and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels steady.
- When it comes to the same quality goods, store and generic brands are frequently less expensive than name brands.
- On your mobile device, download a free unit price comparison app to see which product delivers the best value while you’re shopping.
- Store coupons and discounts on highlighted goods are offered by grocery shops that have loyalty cards,
- Visit a farmers’ market in your area. Local farmers’ markets serve fresh food that is typically less expensive than what you can get at the supermarket.
- Cook large dinners early in the week so you’ll have leftovers when you don’t feel like cooking later.
- Make coffee at home instead of stopping for coffee on your way to work.
Food Cost Assistance Resources Across the U.S.
There are various methods to find out more about programmes that provide meal or food cost assistance. Make use of one of the following services:
- Call 1-800-677-1116 or use the Eldercare Locator (toll-free)
- Call 1-800-333-4636 for Federal and state benefit information (toll-free)
- Call the National Council on Aging at 1-571-527-3900.
Food costs may suck up a large portion of your money no matter how careful you are. There might be more assistance available. Visit NIA’s healthy eating resources for more information on shopping and food expenditures.
Best Places to Buy Low-Cost Food
What’s more, guess what? To eat healthily, you don’t have to buy solely at grocery stores that promote themselves as healthy. Here are a few places that are recognized for their low pricing and also provide healthy goods!
- Fareway Stores
- Grocery Outlet
- Market Basket
- Military Commissaries
- Trader Joe’s
It is feasible to eat healthily on a budget. All you have to do is be deliberate, plan ahead, and stay strong—both financially and physically.