Hey Friends! How’s it goin?
Back when I was first starting out in healthy eating one of my biggest concerns was cost. I’d always equated healthy foods with a higher price tag because of what I’d seen around the grocery.
You know what I mean: brand name foods with sugar free, low carb, gluten free or natural claims that sell for 5 times the regular price. Once I figured out that eating healthy was more about whole, fresh foods than the number of calories or the sugar content, things got a little easier…and cheaper.
I ditched most of the processed ‘healthy’ foods and watched my grocery bill drop while the amount of food I actually got increased. Probably one of the best feelings ever.
It isn’t always easy and I do occasionally slip up. But there are five things I always do when grocery shopping to ensure I get the biggest nutritional bang for my buck.
There’s nothing worse than getting home from the grocery only to realise you already have everything you bought. Or getiing home with a lot of good stuff that could never come together to form a meal.
This happened to me at least 3 times before I wisened up and started carrying a grocery list with me. I know there are different apps and task managers to help keep track but paper and pen generally work best for me.
2. Avoid the Aisles
When I first started grocery shopping on my own I’d spend all my time (and money!) in the cereal and cookie aisles. It took me a while to realise that not only were those foods bad for my body, but they were probably the biggest financial drains.
Now if I feel for something like cookies or granola I get the ingredients to make my own instead of buying the ready made stuff. Even buying healthy things like pre-made salads, pre-washed veggies and pre-cut fruit can get expensive, so I avoid those too and just do the extra prep myself. I still venture into the aisles for things like oats and flour but my best advice is: Don’t browse when you’re in the aisles.
3. Buy in Bulk
Since I started buying whole food instead of processed foods Bulk Barn and the bulk baking supplies store in my neighbourhood have become my wallet’s best friends. I’ve shared a list of 10 things you should always buy in bulk on the blog before, so I won’t get into that now. But, I will say that I stock up on them every so often and generally don’t have to think about them for about a month. Plus, my bill is usually under $20 and I end up with a lot of food.
4. Shop Around
I mentioned this in my post on mistakes all students make when grocery shopping, but really, a lot of people do this. We go to only one place and try to get everything from fruit to bread to meat there. But, although it may be a little inconvenient, it’s usually a lot cheaper to buy different things in different places.
Farmers’ Markets, for example, are a great place to get reasonably priced fruits and veggies. I even get my maple syrup and honey there because it’s cheaper. And, like I said before, a lot of things are cheaper if you buy them in bulk food stores. Even different groceries can have different prices on different days. Don’t be afraid to look around for the best price.
5. Stay in Season
Fruits and vegetables that are not in season tend to be a lot more expensive. You should familiarise yourself with what’s in season when so that you can make more informed decisions.
Unfortunately this is easier said than done since there are so many different fruits and vegetables. I generally use this site to figure out what’s in season in Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and year-round. Then I just plan my meals and grocery lists accordingly.
What about you?
What tips and tricks do you have for healthy food shopping on a budget? Do you use a meal plan/grocery list? Or buy in bulk?
Share in the comments below!
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