By: Nicole Booz
You’ve finally made the resolution to get healthy, good for you! It all seems like a great idea until you walk into the grocery store to discover that those nutritious fruits and veggies are more expensive than ramen and cereal.
As a women who has conquered her finances, you know the importance of sticking to your budget, and now you’re ready to tackle the grocery store.
Here are 10 ways you can for shop healthy food and stick to your budget:
1. Buy frozen.
There is no difference between fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen ones. You can make plenty of meals with frozen veggies such as stir-frys and pasta. You can use frozen fruit to create the perfect smoothie for breakfast, a snack, or a post-workout drink.
When browsing in the freezer section, keep an eye on the ingredients list as some brands have a predilection to sneak unnecessary ingredients into your food. In the case of frozen fruit and vegetables, they should be the only ingredients listed.
2. Drink water.
It’s tempting to want to spend splurge on soda, fruit juices, or coconut water, but if you’re really on a tight budget, these things are not necessary at all. Try flavoring your water with a few slices of cucumber or lemon – your body and wallet will thank you.
3. Buy what’s on sale.
You may not have the time to compare prices at your local grocery stores, but you can save yourself a few dollars by purchasing the items and brands that are on sale versus the ones that are full price. There’s typically no (or very little) difference between name brand and generic.
4. Plan your meals to avoid waste (and stick to your list!).
Take a few minutes before you head to the grocery store to plan your meals for the next one to two weeks. Base your meals off of what you already have in your cabinets to avoid purchasing duplicates. Make a list of exactly what you need so you aren’t standing in the bread aisle trying to remember if you had a half a loaf or a full.
5. Never grocery shop on an empty stomach.
You’ve surely heard this before, but it is amazingly good advice. When you’re hungry, your mind is so focused on getting quick energy—usually in the form of sugar— that you overload your cart with things you don’t need. Eat something beforehand and you’ll make better choices when faced with temptation.
6. Shop local.
Stop by a farmer’s market to save a few extra dollars. If you aren’t sure where to find one in your area, a quick Google search for “farmers market (your location)” should do the trick.
By building a rapport with vendors and being a loyal customer, you’ll likely be able to get produce and other homemade goods at a discounted price.
7. Buy in-season.
Sometimes it’s hard when you’re craving watermelon in March, but you will save yourself a nice chunk of change if you only buy produce that is in season. To double check what fruits and vegetables are in season, a quick Google search is the easiest thing to do.
8. Buy whole fruit and cut it up yourself.
It is so tempting to buy pre-cut fruit. You don’t have to worry about bringing out your cutting board, chopping them up and storing them. But in long run, the pre-prepared fruit is more expensive than buying the whole fruit and doing the dirty work yourself.
9. Buy in bulk.
No, this doesn’t mean you need to head to Costco and sign up for a membership. It simply means that instead of buying a two pound bag of rice, buy a ten pound bag. Depending on how many people you are feeding regularly, you can easily make a large $10-15 bag of rice last six months or more.
Some stores, such as Whole Foods, sell foods like nuts and spices in bulk where you can get these items for a matter of cents versus buying them in a container which usually costs upwards of $5 each.
10. Spices are your best friend.
Many people complain that healthy food is “boring” and “flavorless” but this simply isn’t the case. Our taste-buds are overwhelmed by added sugar and fat on such a regular basis that our bodies have forgotten what real food tastes likes.
Enter the spice rack. With a well-stocked spice cabinet, you can create a myriad of delicious flavors. Don’t be afraid to experiment in order to find great combinations. Spices can be expensive, so stop into somewhere that sells spices in bulk and test a few out before you fill the biggest jar you can find.
Eating healthy on a budget is tricky, but manageable, even for those new to a healthy lifestyle. Good luck!
Image courtesy of phasinphoto/freedigitalphotos.net
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief at GenTwenty. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. in Psychology. In her free time she enjoys exploring local markets, planning her next vacation, and reading any book she can get her hands on. VisitNicoleBooz.com to meet Nicole. Or, follow her on Twitter: @NicoleBooz and Pinterest: NicoleBooz