June 26, 2019 2 min read
By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
Adopting a healthier diet can be overwhelming for many reasons, including the potential increase in your grocery bill. However, it’s possible to have a healthy and varied diet without hurting your wallet. Here are a few of our best tips for eating healthy on a budget.
Buying and eating produce according to the seasons of the year is beneficial for many reasons. Produce eaten in season are more readily available, are more flavorful and are often less expensive than off-season purchases. A larger supply allows grocers and farmers markets to charge less per pound.
If you need help figuring out what foods are in season in your area at any time of the year, check out the Seasonal Food Guide.
Purchasing bulk or dry foods can be significantly cheaper per ounce than their ready-made or packaged counterparts. Many stores have sections dedicated to bulk foods where you can measure and purchase exactly what you need.
Common bulk foods include rice, grains, legumes, dry beans, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and pasta — all of which can find a place in a healthy diet. It’s also possible to purchase bulk herbs and spices if you want to reduce salt in your cooking. Bulk seasonings allow you to avoid hefty prices when buying infrequently used spices.
To store bulk purchased items, invest in reusable jars or storage containers to keep food fresh for longer.
Taking some time to plan meals for the week ahead can save you money and make healthy eating easier. Having a prepared grocery list when going to the store can cut down on buying unhealthy foods or extra purchases that raise your grocery bill.
When you plan meals, you can control how many fruits and vegetables are in your diet, choose low-cost protein sources and make the most out of your leftovers. As a bonus, it can help you cut down on eating out when you’re short on time.
Loyalty and reward cards can make a huge difference at the checkout line. Grocery stores often offer perks to cardholders, including sale prices, free items and extra coupons. The savings from buying your regular items may give you a little extra wiggle room for buying special items on your list.
You can also check out the store's weekly paper to find out what foods are on sale. Usually you will find at least a few fruits and vegetables on sale, and other healthy staples. If couponing is more your style, you can search for coupons online, access them via a grocery store phone app or clip them from your local newspaper.
Eating healthy on a budget isn’t impossible. A little planning can make a huge difference in making a healthy diet sustainable for you and your wallet. Cha-ching!
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