Save Money & Eat Healthy: Grocery Shopping Tips for FamiliesMar 22, 2023
While many of us might think of groceries as a secondary expense, on average, our monthly grocery bill is on par with our rent. At an average of $291 a week for a family of four, the grocery bill gives rent a run for its money as one of the highest monthly expenses.
While this isn’t always a fun fact to face (food is a very personal topic), grocery shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. And it can still be healthy too.
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How to Eat Healthy And Save Money 😋
Let’s dive right into some of the most practical ways to save money on your grocery bill each month. These might seem like steps that are too small to make a difference, but when we’re buying food every week, these savings can add up quickly.
Cut Back On “Indulgences” 🤔
It might not seem like a big deal to eat out a few nights a week, or always keep the freezer stocked with ice cream and the pantry stocked with desserts, but these weekly habits will make a dent in your wallet not only for that week, but for every week you allow them to continue. The key here is to be strategic about buying foods that are clearly extras. Focus on indulgences for special occasions and maybe a weekend here and there. Otherwise, find healthier, cheaper alternatives for the day to day.
The best way to do this is often direct replacement. Find something you like, but that is expensive or unhealthy, and replace it with something cheaper and healthier. For example, replace store bought cookies with protein balls made from oats, peanut butter and honey (with maybe a few chocolate chips sprinkled in). Instead of chips, try carrots and celery with dip, nut butter, or hummus. If you have a sweet tooth, try substituting fruit for desserts or candy.
If you can find these kinds of alternatives for the unhealthy or expensive food you crave, your body, wallet, and future self will thank you.
Familiarize Yourself With The Least Expensive Cuts Of Meat 🤓
Meat is a major expense in most diets. As a high source of protein, it can play a helpful role in your body getting some of the nutrients it needs in a day. However, the rarer, more tender cuts can add a lot to the food bill with few to no other tangible benefits.
Instead of buying prime steak cuts or chicken breast, experiment with stew cuts and boned or even whole chickens. You’ll find you get a lot more meat for the same price.
This doesn’t have to mean you can only buy the less healthy cuts of meat either. Grass fed or meat from animals not treated with hormones is still a goal to shoot for. But look for the cuts of meat that give you the most meat per dollar, and not just what sounds appealing. Save those more expensive cuts for truly special occasions.
Take Advantage Of Frozen Fruits And Vegetables 🥶
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as their fresh versions, with some added perks. First, they’re typically cheaper by weight than if they were unfrozen. Second, you’ll wind up throwing less away since you typically won’t find a bag of frozen peas hidden in the back of your fridge or buried under the lettuce in your fridge’s vegetable drawer (unlike fresh produce, which always seems to be hiding, and you only find it after it’s gone bad). And finally, they’re frozen at the peak of freshness, and you can buy a lot of it at a time without worrying about having to use it quickly.
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Go For Wholesome, High Nutrient Ingredients 👊
Most healthy foods cost more than their counterparts. While this might be frustrating when you’re shopping, keep in mind that processed foods are cheaper because they’re not real food. They’re a counterfeit version of what nature intended, and are therefore cheaper to produce. Instead of thinking of organic or more natural food as expensive, think of it as the real price, and the fake food as an undercutting counterfeit. It’s cheaper for a reason, and therefore not worth spending money on. To actually benefit from the food you eat and fuel your body in a meaningful, sustainable way, you’ll need to make the decision to invest in real food instead of the fake stuff.
That being said, keep your eyes open for workarounds to cut down on costs when you’re healthy grocery shopping. For example, thicker skinned fruits and vegetables like avocados, bananas, pineapple, and melons are less affected by the harmful chemicals used in non-organic fields, and can be almost as healthy to consume as their organic counterparts. Fun, right?
Know Your Go-to Meals And Buy Ingredients In Bulk
Buying in bulk is a fantastic way to save money. In order to do this well, and not just wind up buying more food than you actually need, have a monthly budget for buying things in bulk, and keep an eye open for sales on these items. If you need coconut oil, buy a larger canister every other month instead of the smaller, more expensive one every other week.
To be especially effective here, plan your meals ahead of time and buy the ingredients you need in bulk (you’ll find more about this in our meal prepping blog). Then you can freeze or store what you don’t need until the next time you make that meal. You’ll save a little every time you do this, and at the end of a year, you’ll be amazed at the savings you accrue. ✓
→What Exactly Is Eating Healthy? ←
Nutrient Dense Foods Vs. Fake Foods
In today’s world, there are three different forms food can take. It can either be nutrient and calorie rich, calorie rich and nutrient low, or calorie and nutrient low. This translates to helpful, somewhat neutral, and harmful.
When trying to eat healthy, focusing on nutrient rich foods, and eliminating the processed foods that have nothing going for them but their addictive taste, is the key.
If You Don’t Spend Money On Good Food Now, You’ll Spend It On Medications Later 💊
It’s often hard to justify paying a slightly higher price now for healthy food when food that tastes good and is cheaper is right there alongside it. But taking a longer view can help make those hard choices easier.
The difference between the effect of good and harmful food on your body is dramatic. When it really comes down to it, is it worth ruining your health for a few extra bucks a week? And the reality is, you’ll be saving money on health bills in the long-term, so it’s a small price to pay for longer-term savings.
The other thing to keep in mind is the options and mobility health gives you. Poor health is not only expensive, it is incredibly limiting. Hiking at fifty or sixty with your grandchildren might not be an option if you don’t take care of yourself right now. It’s worth the investment to buy quality food while you’re still in good health.
The Rise In Chronic Diseases Due To Lifestyle Choices
We’re facing more chronic diseases now than we ever have. And these diseases are a result of poor diet and lifestyle choices. In recent years, the rise of processed foods has contributed to chronic diseases. The good news? By changing our diets and making different lifestyle choices, we can drastically decrease our chances of dealing with chronic disease, and up our chances of a happy, healthy future with our families.
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR SIMPLE EATS PROGRAM HERE
Start Saving Money and Eating Healthy Today
➡︎Take pictures at different stores of the foods you normally buy, and compare the prices. Be sure to search for the price by weight or quantity, not just size
➡︎ Check out our Simple Eats Course
➡︎Think of one expensive or unhealthy snack you eat, and come up with a healthy/less expensive alternative
Do the healthy thing...
Eating healthy is important. Not overspending on your food budget is also important. The good thing is, the two don’t have to be at odds. With some foresight and creativity, you can enjoy productive grocery trips that provide nutritious meals without breaking the bank.
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