6 tips for healthy food shopping on a budget
May 26, 2022—Have you changed your grocery shopping habits in the face of rising food prices? You might find that it's not always easy to eat healthy on a limited budget.
By making strategic changes to how you approach this household chore, however, you can stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and still save money while doing it. Start by following these six tips, based on information from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
1. Plan ahead. This first step is perhaps the most important. Take stock of what you have at home so your produce doesn't wilt and your pantry items don't expire before you use them. Look at the upcoming week and think about how much time and energy you'll have to cook. Then plot out menus, factoring in days for leftovers. Bonus: You'll waste less food and help the environment!
2. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Always have your grocery list on hand, either on paper or on an app. That way you can add items as you go about your day. When you go to the grocery store, only buy what's on the list. Don't go to the store when you're hungry, so it's easier to avoid pricey impulse buys like junk food.
3. Look for sales and coupons. Talk to friends and neighbors about where they shop to scout the best deals. Then join the free store loyalty programs and stay updated on sales and coupons. Keep in mind that it may be most cost-efficient to stock up on certain items, such as paper products or meat, at different stores.
4. Keep in mind that your freezer is your secret weapon. It's wonderful to buy fresh produce in season. But frozen fruits and veggies are usually at least as nutrient-dense as their fresh counterparts—and typically cheaper. Prepare large batches of nutritious meals and freeze them for nights when you're too busy or tired to cook.
5. Go meatless. Reducing or eliminating your meat intake is great for your wallet, your body and the planet. If giving up meat entirely seems too daunting, start with one dinner a week. Research amazing vegetarian recipes to make it fun!
6. Drink more water. Not only does water have zero calories, it's essential for optimal physical performance and costs much less than sugary drinks. So drink up!
Put savings on your grocery list
Strategic shopping can make food more affordable—and that's good for your health and your wallet. Looking for more smart shopping tips? Try our infographic.