13 easy ways to eat healthy on a budget, save time and make grocery shopping easy! These must-know tips will be a lifesaver for any #healthnut wanting to eat healthy while not breaking the bank.
“Eating healthy is so expensive.”
Sound familiar? I hear these words all the time and it’s one of the main reasons why people get discouraged to make healthier choices. Using these 13 tried and true tips, I’m going to show you how that doesn’t have to be the case! I love to eat as healthy and organic as possible, but I’m no different than the next person when it comes to wanting to save money while doing it. The trick is to just be smart about it and shop accordingly.
After many years of grocery shopping, recipe testing, and cookbook creating , I think it’s safe to say I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeves when it comes to eating healthy on a budget! So, if you want to eat healthier, shop smarter, and save money, here are my top 13 tips!
When you first arrive at the grocery store, make sure to take advantage of apps, flyers, and coupons that could save you money while you shop. Keep an eye out for any sales or deals that may be happening, and do your best to plan your meals accordingly!
Buying organic is always the better option in terms of nutritional value and reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals. But despite the benefits, it’s no secret that organic food often comes with a heftier price tag. Instead of letting this deter you from buying organic all-together, start to become familiar with the EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen List. This the dirty dozen list includes the top twelve veggies and fruits found to have the highest amount of pesticide residue, and therefore should always be purchased organic. Whereas the clean fifteen is a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that contain the fewest concentrations of pesticides and is safe to buy conventionally. An updated list is released every year and its one that I turn to frequently to see where I can afford to save while I grocery shop.
Shopping in season is not only going to be the freshest and best quality, but it’s also going to be most cost-effective too! For example, squashes are an amazing vegetable to stock up during the wintertime. They’re nice and hearty and can be used in pretty much any recipe! Whether you roast them or throw them into a soup, they will sure to keep you warm all season long at a great price!
Next time you’re in the meat section, keep an eye out for markdowns or sale items. Often times grocery stores will offer this for expiring products that they want to get off the shelves to make room for the fresh cuts! I’ll often stock up on the discounted items and then freeze them for a later date.
Another great way to save money is to try less expensive cuts of meat. They might not be as flavourful, but if you give them some extra TLC by slow cooking them or throw them into a delicious dish like my Golden Vegetable Curry you won’t even notice a difference!
Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, another great way to save money while you shop is to embrace alternative protein options. Staples such as eggs, tofu or even beans are going to be much more cost-effective and equally as healthy and delicious too!
Here are some of my most popular recipes using alternative protein options!
Similar to the discounted meat section that I mentioned above, grocery stores will often have a display for expiring grocery items at amazing prices as well. Next time you’re shopping, keep an eye out for some of your favorites that might be on sale. This is a great way to stock up on some of your faves at a more affordable price while reducing food waste too!
Don’t skip the bulk section! It’s there for a reason and serves as a great way to save some extra money while you shop. Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper per unit, and when you buy an item, you’re saving money on each use of that product. This could be pantry staples like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, flour, lentils, and even quinoa! If the bulk section at your grocery store is lacking in terms of quality and ingredients – no problem! Do your research and find a local bulk store that carries the essentials that you need. It may sound like an extra step right now, but when you see how much money you save, it’s worth it in the long run. Trust me!
Go an extra step further and swap out your plastic bags for reusable jars! All you have to do is weigh them at the cash and start filling them up with some of your pantry favorites! Then at check out, the cashier will subtract the weight of your jar from the total price of the item. Not will you save money by shopping in bulk, but you will be doing the environment a favour too!
Do you fall victim to name brand-products? Thanks to marketing and packing, this is something we’ve all been guilty of before. But trust me when I say that it’s also a quick way to rack up your grocery bill without even realizing it! Next time you’re shopping, keep an eye out for in-house brand products instead of reaching for their fancy counterpart. More often than not, you will be getting the exact same product for a fraction of the price!
Another great way to consciously save money while you shop is to know your prices! This simple tip will allow you to compare the prices of items that you buy frequently across different grocery stores. Once you know which store is most cost-effective, you can then plan and shop accordingly. A perfect example of this is Chosen Foods Avocado Oil. This oil is a staple that I use frequently in the HealthNut Kitchen. I am constantly replacing it, but a small bottle at my local health food store was costing me anywhere between $20-$30. After knowing and comparing my prices, I realized that I could get double the amount of the exact same product, but for cheaper by buying at Costco. Now every time I need to restock on Avocado Oil, I will now make the budget-conscious decision grab it at Costco instead.
As a consumer, it’s easy to get drawn to trendy food items. While they may be fun and delicious, they’re also going to cost you a premium price! Rather than reaching for the fancy hazelnut or macadamia nut milk that costs close to $8 for a small jug, try something like oat milk instead. It’s cheaper, more sustainable and equally as delicious!
Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free… We’ve all seen these trendy diet labels slapped on packaged foods with a giant price-tag to go with it. Not only does it work, but sadly our wallets are suffering because of it. While they may be the healthier option compared to some other packaged foods, the increased grocery bill price that comes with it is simply not necessary! My best advice is to avoid these packaged foods altogether. Instead, grab the ingredients and get inspired to make it yourself! It’s easier and healthier than you might think, and you also save money in the process.
A perfect example here would be “paleo” granola. This granola is essentially a blend of nuts, seeds, and shredded coconut, but a bag can cost you anywhere from $12-15 or even up to $20! At this point, it’s important to recognize that you’re paying for the packaging and the convenience. If you are looking for an easy way to cut costs and stick to your budget while grocery shopping, start making it at home. Grab a copy The HealthNut Cookbook and make my Salted Caramel Stovetop Granola! It’s cheap, easy, healthy and delicious!
Roaming the freezer section is a great way to save money while you shop. Did you know that organic produce is actually frozen at their peak freshness? So, not only will buying frozen foods last longer, but you are also getting maximum nutritional value for a fraction of the price.
How often have you bought a bunch of leafy greens, only to find them wilted and soggy in your fridge a few days later? This is such a common issue, that I even saw a meme swirling around Instagram about it haha. If you find you’re not using them up right away, pop them into a reusable bag and throw them in the freezer. Then when you’re ready to use them, you can add them into soups stews, smoothies, etc. and no food or money will be wasted!
When you’re tired and hungry, prepared and packaged meals always seem like the easier option. While there is a time and a place to buy them, it’s important to be mindful that you are paying for that convenience. When it comes to grocery shopping for your weekly staples and go-to meals, these convenience foods aren’t going to be the most budget-friendly and cost-effective solution. Instead, get inspired to meal prep at the beginning of the week. Taking a couple of hours to plan and prep your meals makes world of a difference when it comes to pulling together something healthy and delicious throughout the week! Plus, not only will this simple habit make you feel good, but it will save you so much time and money too.
There you have it! 13 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget! Of course, budgeting is going to look different for everyone depending on personal circumstances. Everyone has a different perception of what they consider less-expensive or overpriced, so it really just depends on where you are in your life and where your values lie. These are basic principles that can be applied wherever you choose to grocery shop!