How to Shop for Healthy Groceries on a Budget
By: Melissa Scoggin, Community Health Leader
Americans spent over $1 trillion on eating out in 2019. It is much cheaper, and often healthier, to prepare and eat food at home. However, if buying healthy food seems too expensive, look at this easy guide on how to shop for healthy groceries on a budget.
Making healthy home cooked meals is easy if you plan ahead. Decide what meals you want to make and keep a grocery list before shopping. You can even download an app to share grocery lists with your family or roommates.
If you feel like you don’t have time to cook, try prepping as much as possible in advance. Simply washing and cutting produce can save a lot of time. Try cooking rice and beans and marinating meat when you have the time so that a quick meal can be put together.
Nonperishable and Frozen Food
Don’t forget about your freezer. In addition to shelf-stable dry goods like pasta and canned vegetables, your freezer can help you save time and money. There is no significant difference in nutritional value between fresh and frozen produce, so try cutting and freezing your own too.
Avoid processed foods as often as possible. Ready-made frozen meals usually have higher calories and sodium and less nutrients. What seems like an easy dinner solution could be preventing you from meeting your health goals.
Coupons, Sales, and Buying in Bulk
Whenever possible, take advantage of coupons and sales, especially for nonperishable items found in the middle aisles of the grocery store. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of buying the less expensive store-brand items, as well as fresh produce when it is in season. If you and your family consume much of certain foods, canned beans for example, it might be advantageous to buy in bulk.
Did you know that price stickers show how much an item costs per unit, ounce, or pound? What looks like a great deal at first might not always be the case. Become familiar with reading price labels and start making smarter decisions. Speaking of labels, get in the habit of reading the nutrition facts labels on food. ChooseMyPlate.org has plenty of excellent resources like recipes, planning materials, and a guide on how to read food labels. Be sure to read the serving size too- companies can get clever with how they label things.
Shop for Healthy Groceries on a Budget
It’s not difficult to shop for healthy groceries on a budget if you plan, make smart buys, and know what to look for. Overly processed food can often cost more money and be less nutritious than fresh homemade meals. Follow the Healthy St. Pete blog and Facebook group for wholesome tips, affordable, healthy, and easy recipes.
To learn more about healthy food habits, join the Healthy St. Pete Facebook group.