It may appear that it costs more to buy healthy food than to buy junk food. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of relying on processed foods because they’re easier than fresh fruits and vegetables. Take a closer look… many times we are really paying a lot for packaging and not getting much food at all. It doesn’t have to be that way: Here are five tips to help you save money and still eat healthy.
Scan the ads. Before you make your grocery list, scan weekly grocery ads to see what’s on special for the week. Planning your menu in advance will not only help you save money, but also save time. A meal plan helps keep you focused at the store, instead of aimlessly walking up and down the aisles in search for whatever looks good. This often leads to purchasing foods that provide less nutritive value and increases your grocery bill.
Shop the border. This can be a great way to save a little extra cash and shop healthier, too. The perimeter of the store often provides fresh produce, meat, seafood and dairy products. Ready-to-eat, processed foods often are located in the middle aisles. These processed foods typically contain more saturated fat, are less nutrient dense and higher in calories. If you avoid those aisles, you will be less tempted to buy “treats” that are not on your shopping list.
Stock up. When items go on sale don’t be afraid to buy more than you need, especially if it’s easy to freeze or preserve. Not only will you save money, but if you have extra frozen or preserved fruits and vegetables on hand you are more likely to eat them. Fruits and vegetables provide great snacking options.
Choose in-season. Do you ever notice the price of your favorite fruits or vegetables seem to skyrocket? When produce is out-of-season, prices increase. Instead of paying more, shop for in-season produce and save a little extra money. Don’t be afraid to try new types of produce, and add variety to your meals. Variety is key to consuming more essential nutrients.
Substitute when you can. Fresh foods are always preferred, but sometimes buying fresh is not possible, either because they’re not available, or they are cost-prohibitive. It’s OK to use frozen or canned foods. For those who say, “It’s too expensive to eat healthy,” it is much better to opt for frozen or canned fruits and veggies than no produce at all. Just be sure to choose low-sodium canned goods or rinse canned goods to reduce the sodium by about 40 percent. Also, look for food items packed in water or 100-percent fruit juice.