Organize Your Food Shopping: How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Posted Jul 14 2011 2:00am
Whether you’re watching your pennies because of food prices, or you just want to save money and use it for other reasons, it’s important to learn how to eat healthy on a strict budget.
Many people believe that eating healthy costs a fortune and that there’s no way they can do it on a shoestring budget. Well, that is simply not true!
Once you get in the habit of planning out your meals and making a thorough grocery list, you will find that it is possible to eat real food on a budget. The side benefit? . . . you get healthier with each bite!
10 Ways To Help You Eat Well Without Busting the Bank
1. Plan ahead – Make a detailed list of all of the ingredients you need BEFORE you step foot in a market or grocery store.
2. Don’t shop on an empty stomach – If you are hungry while you’re at the store, you will overspend on food that might not be the best for you. Eat a light snack before you leave home.
3. Clip coupons and watch the sales.
4. Stay on the outer edges of the grocery store – The center aisles of the grocery store are where you’ll find the processed foods. The outer edges of a grocery store are where you’ll typically find the real food – the deli, meat department, produce, and dairy products.
5. Use cash – We are much more conscious of what we put in our carts when we know exactly how much money we have to spend.
6. Pay attention to portion sizes – “Buying and eating ‘bulk’ creates hulk!” Biggie sizing is not funny anymore. Not only will watching portion sizes help your grocery budget, it will help you lose or maintain your weight. Go see this fun tool that WebMD has created to help people understand portion sizes.
7. Assess “leaks” in your budget – Do you stop at Starbucks every day? Do you grab a bagel on the way to work in the morning? Do you and your co-workers go to lunch several times a week? These activities can add up to a substantial amount of money over a week’s, month’s, and year’s time - you could easily spend upwards of $20 – $25 a week just on coffee! (Crazy in my book!) That is a massive chunk of change when you’re on a budget (and even when you’re not!) Plugging these leaks will not only give you more breathing room in your grocery budget, it will greatly benefit your health.
8. Shop locally – Not only will you be getting higher quality food, more nutrition, AND be supporting the local economy, many times, farmers markets have better prices on produce, bread, and certain gourmet products than your local grocery store will.
9. Taking cooking classes - Many communities education systems, health food stores and online sites have free classes to learn how to eat healthy and what you’ll need for each dish and menu. This is very helpful so that you don’t buy lots of things that don’t go with anything else, but also to give you new ideas on what’s healthier than old default foods and how to fix them for great meals.
10. Be a healthier food eating groupie! - Find others in your community or in online communities who are learning how to do this too. Learn from the veterans who know how to plan menus, buy, cook and enjoy their food without breaking the bank! Meeting new people adds to stress relief by creating social connections. Friends are a good thing!