Let’s face it, these days grocery prices are more mind-boggling than ever. On the one hand, the ominous winds of inflation are beginning to subside, as the Labor Department recently reported that consumer prices fell 0.1% in December, the most in three years. And on the other hand, we’re still not getting cheap eggs—prices are reportedly set to increase by 60% in 2022 alone. While many of us have yet to decide whether or not to get hopeful or start raising our chickens so we can lay eggs again, there’s also the post-holiday stress that can take away all our money from gifts and gifts. Comes from spending on travel. The month of December With all this talk about food prices this month, many of us are wondering if it’s possible to eat healthy while still on a budget.
Eating healthy is more expensive than technically “unhealthy” because fast and processed food usually costs less. Healthy diets cost about $1.50 more per day than unhealthy diets. Stats like these can seem discouraging, so we wanted to get to the bottom of how to eat a healthy, balanced diet that we love while saving as much money as possible.
To learn more about eating healthy on a budget, we talked to some expert dietitians about their favorite budget-friendly advice.
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables
Buying fresh fruits and vegetables can not only be a bit more expensive in some stores, but the fastest money waster is buying fresh produce that spoils before you even have time to use it. Solution? buy frozen
Frozen fruits and vegetables have a long shelf life and often cost less than their fresh counterparts. Many people prefer to avoid buying a lot of fresh produce because of its potential to spoil quickly. Still, frozen produce can usually last safely in your freezer for up to 6 months, allowing you to eat more fruits and vegetables and make more meals. It may help prevent it. Waste.
Many people avoid buying frozen because they think fresh is better regarding nutritional value, but this is false. I’m often asked if frozen produce is as healthy as new. The short answer is yes and many times, some frozen vegetables and fruits contain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts.
If you’re looking for specific products that work great frozen, especially as smoothie ingredients, stock up on frozen broccoli, blueberries and spinach for easy nutrient-dense meals that save some serious cash. I can do the same.
Shop in season
Usually, fruits and vegetables that are in season come at lower prices. And the bonus is that they usually taste better too. So buying in season is a great way to support local farmers, pay less for fresh produce, and eat various fruits and vegetables year-round.
It’s one thing to plan what’s in season, but how do you know which produce is in season? First, you can check out the USDA’s Seasonal Produce Guide, which gives you a general overview of what’s in season for spring, summer, fall, and winter. You can also try the Seasonal Food Guide website, where you can search by month, state, and specific type of produce. First, however, you choose to shop for your seasonal produce store or local farmer’s market to save some cash for yourself.
Buy in bulk where you can
If you’re not a Costco cult follower, you may want to become one soon. That way, you can start doing what our dietitians recommend to start eating healthy on a budget and buying in bulk.
Buying foods in bulk or large packages can help you save on costs. Foods such as nuts and seeds, string cheese, whole grain products, beans, frozen produce, and meat all have long shelf lives and can help keep healthy meals on hand for low prices.
And if you’re going to buy nuts or seeds in bulk, ditch the prepackaged stuff and go to the bulk bin. This will cut costs, and you can get organic items for a slight discount.
Make a meal plan
One of the best money savers in eating healthy is setting aside time to meal plan for the week ahead. We know this is no easy task, and your schedule may need more time and energy to take this step. If so, then this list has plenty of less time-consuming chores to try. But, if you have the time to work out, consider setting up a weekly meal plan for yourself.
The simple act of meal planning can help you avoid impulse purchases at the grocery store, which could save you some money. Planning your meals can also help you stick to your healthy diet.
Embrace Plant-Based Protein
Meat can be a healthy part of a balanced diet, primarily because of its higher protein content. However, buying fresh or frozen meat from the store can quickly spike your grocery bill. A simple tip for eating healthy on a budget is to cut some animal proteins with plant-based protein sources instead.
Plant-based protein options like beans and lentils can provide severe protein for little money. While you don’t have to forego meat entirely, including some plant-based economical options can help keep you on a healthy diet while saving money.
And, if you choose your plant protein wisely, you may even get a higher dose of protein than you would with certain meat products. For example, a cup of boiled lentils has around 18 grams of protein, whereas a serving of four chicken tenders has only around 9 grams of protein.
Buy canned seafood
Seafood is good for your brain, but fresh seafood can be pricey. However, you can buy wild, canned fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and anchovies at a fraction of the price, and it is just as nutritious.
One major thing to consider when choosing canned seafood over fresh is the sodium content. A regular can of Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna has 280 milligrams of sodium, but you can look for canned products that say low-sodium or no salt added. For example, StarKist No Salt Added White Albacore has only 65 milligrams of sodium. So, feel free to go canned when you need to pinch pennies on seafood, but make sure you’re reading the nutrition label and know the amount of salt you may be consuming in one sitting.
At the very least, we hope that one or two of these tips help you feel more confident in your grocery budgeting. It may feel like there’s no way to eat healthily and save money simultaneously, but with a bit of planning and some of these easy swaps, you can save cash in no time.