By: Brittany Berlin
Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, you can eat healthy and well, all while staying within your own budget! To do so, we’ve rounded up a few of our best tips for keeping well while saving money. Not listed below, however, is a few of our favorite stores to shop at that often have great savings. This includes Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Costco, and the biggest kept secret, your local farmer’s market. Now, Whole Foods can be done if you’re shopping the sale- and using an Amazon Prime membership for the extra discount. But we find it’s best to save Whole Foods for specialty items that you can’t get anywhere else!
Take a look at the tips below, and implement whichever you see fit!
Plan your meals
You’ve heard it before, but it still rings true: meal planning and prepping is a big key to healthy eating, especially when on a budget (let’s be real, we all are on a budget!). Whichever day is the one that you like to plan the meals ahead and/or grocery shop (we like Sunday, but sometimes people prefer Saturday!), take some time to pick out a few bulk meals you can make and what everyday items you need for the week.
Then when you get home, you can start to meal prep! Throw a few different veggies onto a sheet pan and roast with a little healthy cooking oil and sea salt. During the week, all you’ll need to do is reheat them and add whatever spices you desire to keep the prepared meals from feeling monotonous!
Stick to your grocery list
Raise your hand if you’ve ever written down a grocery list, only to be leaving the grocery store with wayyyyy more than you intended? Yep, that’s every hand in the air for us! One of the simplest, yet sometimes hardest tricks for keeping healthy eating in budget is to make a list and stick to it. Once you’ve planned out your meals for the week and decided what you’ll prep, if anything, write down exactly what you need, and then only shop for those items.
We get it, the checkout last-minute items are always so tempting! But stick to your list! You’ll thank us later!
Cook at home
Sometimes, cooking at home isn’t the most glamorous, but what would be glamorous is all that money you save from spending time in your own kitchen! You’re basically making money 😉 But in all seriousness, cooking at home does help to not only eat healthy, but also to save money. It’s definitely easier to just pop outside the office to grab a bite to eat, but when you take the time to prep a little something for when hunger strikes, you and your wallet will be much happier!
Now of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t eat out, and that you can’t eat healthy out as well (which you totally can!). It just means that the bulk of your meals are at home or homemade, and you save eating out for special occasions. When you cook at home, not only are you able to save money, but you’re also able to watch your portions as well. Restaurants tend to go heavy on two things: oils and salt. Making your own lunches and dinners at home can ensure that you have more control over what goes into your meal!
Buy whole foods in bulk
Though more expensive than the smaller version, it’s always more cost effective in the long run. You may have to spend more money than you normally would at first, but you’ll actually be saving more money long term. A few items that are great to stock up on in bulk include: nuts, oats, grains, and dried beans and fruit (of course, no sugar added to the dried fruit!).
Go for generic
Food marketing is just so clever! It easily gets us to spend more money just based on the box alone. Most of the time, the food or product inside the box or behind the label is actually the same as the generic version. This is called white-labelling. A grocery store chain will take the branded item and place their own “generic” grocery store label on it (psst! This is how Trader Joe’s does it!). This keeps the cost down for the consumer, but marketers bank on the consumer wanting the look and feel of a product vs what the product actually is. Don’t be fooled! The generic version is just as good!
Stock up on sales
One of our favorite things to do when there is a sale is stock up! Often times, grocery stores will have flash sales on bulk or shelf stable items, such as nuts, grains, oats, and canned beans. Make sure you take advantage of these when you can- it will be much cheaper in the long run, and definitely cut down your weekly grocery bill!
Consider the nutritional value for how much your paying
A great way to determine whether a food is worth your dollar or not is to determine how much nutritional value you’re getting for what you’re paying. Consider the following:
You can build a pretty protein-dense meal from these protein sources, all the while keeping costs down. All of these sources of protein are considerably cheaper than purchasing meat. This doesn’t mean that you can’t purchase meat, but consider your budget and where it fits in.
Shop in season
It’s not a surprise that purchasing fruits and vegetables in season is cheaper than purchasing them out of season. When the fruits and vegetables are grown out of season, less farms supply them and it takes a lot more to grow them. Not to mention, you’ll get more nutritional value when you’re eating in season. This is because the in season fruits and vegetables provide the necessary nutrients for whichever season your body (you) are in. To check out which fruits and veggies are in season when, check out this guide.
Not only will you save money by purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables, but you’ll actually get more nutritional value from them! This is because these fruits and vegetables are flash frozen right after being picked to ensure that they stay fresh and consumable when they get to the grocery store freezer section. Purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables also makes it more affordable to buy organic!
Invest in a coffee maker
Trust us, we get it. It’s always more enjoyable to purchase coffee or tea out! But it is considerably cheaper when we make coffee at home. Make your coffee or tea runs a special treat and only have them on the weekend or occasionally. Another great tip is for every day you have a cup of coffee at home, put aside whatever money you’d have spent on your coffee out. Check that jar or safe after a year, and you’ll have a nice savings!
And there ya have it! These are our ten best tips for saving money while eating healthy. Give them a go, and see how they work for you!