Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 5 tips that will help make a trip to the grocery store healthier and less costly!
1. Plan your meal(s) and make a grocery list
Whether you are planning for one meal or meals for the entire week, having a plan and making a grocery list based on the meals you are going to make will be crucial. Another trick is to try to use each ingredient in multiple recipes (especially if it is something that goes bad fast or you don’t usually use all of). I used to think this was too structured and time consuming, but once I gave it a shot I found that I spent less money on groceries, was cooking a larger variety of foods, and actually looked forward to finding new recipes each week.
2. Shop the perimeter
Fun fact: the perimeter of the grocery store is where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish are located. The center aisles are generally filled with more processed and junk foods, with some exceptions like dry and canned items (such as beans, whole grains, spices and cooking supplies). Having a list that is broken down into categories will make it easier to shop and allow you to stay more focused on getting only what you need.
3. Buy in season and/or frozen (fruits & vegetables)
Load up on vegetables and buy fruits and veggies that are in season! When produce is in season, it is usually less expensive and also at its peak nutrition and flavor. Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables are usually only in season for a few months and can be rather expensive the rest of the year. A good way to supplement this is to buy frozen produce, which will help make fruits and vegetables last longer and is great for stir-fry and smoothies!
USDA Seasonal Produce Info: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide
4. Bulk up your meals with legumes and plant protein
Try creating a meal without using a meat protein source one or two days per week. Beans, plant protein (like quinoa, flax/hemp/chia seeds) and whole grains like oatmeal are inexpensive and tasty ways to bulk up meals. Don’t be afraid to broaden your culinary horizon by using these foods to create new, flavorful meals for you and your family.
5. Repurpose your leftovers
Soups, stir-fry, and salads are great ways to use leftovers because you can throw just about anything into them! Soups can also be frozen to enjoy later on. Another great way to make sure leftovers don’t go to waste is to eat them for lunch or dinner the next day. Repurposing leftovers lowers the number of meals you have to make or buy and cuts down on waste.