Save Money on Healthy Food If you think eating healthy is expensive? Try these 10 ways to save money and eat healthily.
Have you ever experienced a shockingly high grocery bill when trying to eat healthier? If so, you’re not alone. Eating a healthful diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts costs about $1.50 per day more than eating a less-healthy diet packed with refined grains and processed meats. For a family of four, this could mean spending over $2,000 more annually on groceries alone.
But with some careful planning and thrifty choices, you don’t need to choose between spending less money and fueling yourself with a healthy diet.
Below are 10 ways you can cut down on spending without sacrificing nutrition
Go Meat-Free Once a Week
Meat is expensive. You can save money, expand your cooking repertoire and lighten your environmental footprint by opting to eat vegetarian or vegan once a week or more often. Russet potatoes cost a mere $0.99 per pound and are easy to stuff or roast, while a 16-ounce block of firm tofu comes in at around $2. Enjoy eggs for breakfast (you can easily find them for around $2 a dozen) and, next thing you know, you’ll be swimming in savings.
Review prices online to find the best bargains. Using supermarket budget ranges for items such as tinned and fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta and rice is a real help too.
Get the Most out of Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs are pricy. But as with spices, we would never say to skip them-they’re key to making your food taste great. Look for combination packages of fresh herbs; they may be labeled “poultry mix” and typically contain a couple of different herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. That way you get a bit of a few different herbs and you’ll likely have less waste. Growing your fresh herbs is another great option and easy to do even if you live in a smaller space. Many herbs need just a small pot and a bright windowsill to grow. And, though the flavors will be slightly different, you can replace fresh herbs in a recipe with dried. The rule of thumb to follow is a three-to-one fresh-to-dried ratio. So if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon (i.e., 3 teaspoons) of fresh thyme, use 1 teaspoon of dried. Rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme are good bets when going from fresh to dry.
Keep Food Waste to a Minimum with Proper Food Storage
Buying food at the grocery store is only half the battle. To get the most bang for your buck, you have to know how to store it once you get it through the door. If you’re a fruit lover, you should know that some fruits (apples for example) emit ethylene gas that can ripen (or over-ripen) the neighboring fruits in the fruit basket. Being on top of how quickly your fruit is ripening and moving it to the fridge or away from its hyper-ripening neighbors can help cut down on food waste.
Opt for Store Brands
Although it may feel like you have to stick with well-known, trusted brands to eat more healthily, that’s not always the case. “The store brand is often made by the same manufacturer as the name brand competitors but at a lower price,”
It used to be that store-brand products were at the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality (and price), but luckily times have changed and store brands are meeting the standards of big-name brands while still keeping their prices low. Entire grocery store chains have dedicated themselves to their store brands and have become hugely popular with consumers wanting savings on their grocery bills. If you don’t have a specialty store in your area, most large-chain grocers have their store brands for less too.
Look Out for Sales on Pantry Staples You Know You’ll Always Need
In any given week, grocery stores run promotions and sales on a variety of items. Tracking these sales and working them into your meal plan can be a great way to cut down on your weekly grocery bill. One of the best ways to find sales and special coupon offers is to review the weekly circular, but do it before you go shopping.
“Plan your weekly menu and grocery list around the produce, meats, and pantry staples that are on special, and then buy extra of items like meats, veggies, and fruits to freeze for later use,”
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Use seasonal fruit and vegetables
Prices come down when there is a glut of any kind of food and, when it comes to fruit and veg, a bonus is that produce tastes much better when it’s in season.
Don’t underestimate the humble shopping list, based on a meal plan for the week. This ensures you have everything you need and also helps you to avoid temptation in the supermarket.
These offers aren’t a great deal if you end up with a mountain of food that you can’t eat before it goes off. Think before you go for multiple offers such as ‘two for one or ‘buy two get one free.
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Claim your benefits
Make sure that you are receiving any benefits that you are eligible for and, if you find yourself in an emergency, look for food banks in your local area and find out how you can access them.
With these tips, you’ll be eating healthy and delicious meals and saving money too. It’s a win-win-win.