By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney
Eating healthy doesn’t always need to be expensive – with some guidance and a little bit of planning, you can be eating healthfully while saving money! Here are the top 10 ways you can reduce your grocery bill without sacrificing your health:
1. Shop in the Bulk Section
Nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruits, beans, lentils, flours – these are some of the wonderful whole foods that you can find in the bulk section at many health food stores. Because these goodies come without fancy packaging and attractive labels, they are typically cheaper than the pre-packaged versions you can find on the shelves. And as an added bonus, by bagging your own food, you get to decide how much (or how little) you take home with you!
2. Pack Your Own Lunch
If you’re eating out for lunch everyday it’s likely adding up, and there’s a good chance you aren’t getting the nutritious meal you deserve. Eat healthier AND save money by packing your own lunch! Getting your meal together the night before can be a great way to save time in the morning. Try our Vegetable Stir Fry, which travels great!
3. Buy Local and In Season
Locally grown produce and high quality meat doesn’t have to travel far to reach the consumer, which usually means it’s available for a lower price . Shopping at a farmers market or joining a CSA, a farm collection or a food cooperative are great ways to get fresh, local produce and good quality animal protein with a reduced price tag. Use Local Harvest to find what is available in your area.
4. Cook Once, Eat Twice!
What better way to stretch your dollar then by cooking once and enjoying a meal 2 or 3 times!? When planning for a meal, prepare extra and set it aside for lunch or dinner the next day. If you prefer more variety in your diet, use spices and herbs to create a different flavor. Check out some of our favorite pantry staples to spice up your meals!
5. Learn the “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen”
The Environmental Working Guide created The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to help consumers shop smart and save money when buying organic produce. As you might already know, organic foods are usually more expensive, and although the extra money is going towards a good cause (and preventing you from ingesting toxic chemicals and fertilizers), you can reduce your grocery bill by knowing which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic, and which are ok to buy conventionally grown. Check out Dr Lipman’s post on Choosing Fruits and Vegetables to learn more.
6. Make a Shopping List
Before heading out for your weekly grocery shop, take some time to get clear on what you will need for the week and make a detailed shopping list. This list will help keep you focused while shopping, reducing impulse purchases and preventing you from buying more then you can use.
7. Use Your Freezer
Whether you are buying frozen fruits, veggies and meats or freezing them yourself, your freezer is the perfect way to extend the shelf-life (and nutritional value) of your food! Stocking your freezer with berries, leafy greens, fish, and already prepared meals (like our Kabocha Squash Soup) are great ways to surround yourself with healthy options while reducing the chance of food waste, which saves you money.
8. Skip Convenience Foods
Instead of buying foods that are prepared and ready to eat, save your extra dollars and do the work yourself! This will cut down on your grocery bill without sacrificing the healthy food your body needs! If you don’t cook at home but want to start, check out How To Make Home Cooking Easy, Quick and Fun.
9. Less Meat and More Plants
Good quality meat might be a great addition to your diet, but when meat becomes the centerpiece of every meal, eating can get expensive. By reducing the serving size of the meat you are eating and increasing the amount of fresh veggies and healthy fats on your plate, you will still feel satisfied while saving big.
10. BYOB – Bring Your Own Beverages
There is no need to spend countless dollars on coffee, tea, water, smoothies, and other beverages when you can invest in the necessary travel essentials and bring your beverages along for the ride. Drinks are important, but they can add up quickly, so instead of skipping the liquids altogether, simply pack your own! Make sure to check the blog for our favorite smoothie, green juice, and bulletproof coffee recipes!