25 Oct Food Shopping on a Budget
How many times have you gone to the grocery store to pick up 1 or 2 things and left with much more? It is so easy to overspend. We all know that eating healthy has many great benefits. Unfortunately, eating well can be costly. Here are some tips to make the most of your food dollars while staying on track with your health goals.
Meal Planning. Not only is meal planning a great way to stay on track with your health goals, but it can also save you time and money. Set aside a few hours, once a week, and plan out your meals so you know what you need from the grocery store. You can plan your meals around seasonal food items that are on sale. Planning your meals will streamline your grocery list and make for fewer grocery store trips. No more impulse purchases!
Budget Organic. I wish I could afford organic 100% of the time. I can’t, so I pick and choose which foods I buy organic. I prioritize eggs, milk, greens and thin-skinned fruits like berries and apples. Produce that has a thicker skin or needs to be peeled means less pesticide exposure and absorption, so I opt for conventional. Examples include avocados, bananas, and oranges.
Check out the ‘Reduced to Clear Rack’. It’s always a great idea to give this area of the grocery store a quick look, you may be surprised to find that many fruits and veggies are still in great condition and have been reduced to clear to make space for a new shipment. You can easily stock up on ripe bananas for baking along with other veggies to make a soup or stock.
Prioritize. Try to not get so caught up on the buzzwords that you hear and see when it comes to food. Labels such as non-GMO, organic, fair trade, sustainable, and local are a few that come to mind. Look at the bigger picture; remember it is our overall eating patterns that matter. Do you have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and lean protein sources? Do whole foods outnumber packaged foods in your cart? If so, you are on the right track!
Price Match. Apps such as Rebee and Flip are my absolute favourite! It takes just a few minutes to look up items that are on sale elsewhere and add them to your digital shopping cart. I do this every week on fresh produce, dairy, and snacks. Not all grocery stores price match so shop at the ones that do (such as Walmart, No-frills, and Freshco). You will be surprised at how much you can save by doing this. Save money and time to get the best deals during your grocery store hauls.
Buy Frozen: You get more for your dollar than you do with fresh produce, and more nutrition than if you buy canned. Mix in some frozen veggies to any meal to stretch it a little further. Frozen produce can sometimes be better than fresh because they’re picked at harvest time and flash-frozen (so all the nutrients are intact) as opposed to fresh veggies and fruit that have traveled from long distances. Frozen berries are always stocked in my home; they are great in baked goods, yogurt parfaits, smoothies, and oatmeal. Save time prepping and making healthier meals in less time with frozen spiralized zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, and cubed butternut squash.
Beans and lentils: Plant-based proteins, cheaper than animal proteins, provide budget-friendly quality nutrition. Canned beans and lentils are fine and at great price point but buying dried beans and lentils and prepping them yourself is a huge money saver. Swap out the meat and add beans and lentils to soups, pasta, tacos, and salads. Your wallet, health, and the environment will all benefit!
Buy in Bulk: Make use of your Costco membership by buying grains like quinoa, oatmeal, and rice, in bulk. Dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, and meat bought in larger quantities are also cheaper and an easy way to save. I typically make 2 trips a month to Costco. The Costco Kirkland brand is a high-quality label offered at a great price point. Bonus: shopping in bulk means less packaging!
Check out the Bottom Shelf: Usually the lower prices and store brand items are stocked on the lower shelves. So take a look next time you are at the store and compare prices. Even though the brands are different the quality is comparable to the name brands especially when it comes to grains, and dried beans and lentils.
I would love to hear what tips you have to save money at the grocery store? Let me know in the comments below. Happy shopping!