In one of my very first posts I discussed how I shop for groceries for just $20 a week! I figured it’s about time I go into some more detail with additional tips for frugal, healthy eating for those of us on tight budgets.
1.) Only buy organic when it matters. Honestly, for a lot of food it doesn’t make much difference, including bananas, avocados, asparagus, peas, eggplant, etc. Click here for the full list of foods that should always be bought organic and those that don’t matter as much.
2.) Re-prioritize. Focus on getting the most quality (aka nutrients) for your buck instead of the most quantity. We often think a deal is getting a ton of food for a few bucks. But wouldn’t that money be better spent getting a smaller amount of nutrient-dense food? This post from Nerd Fitness discusses how to reevaluate your way of thinking about deals.
3.) Come up with interesting combinations and ways to use cheap, healthy foods in your cooking. “Good and Cheap” author Leanne Brown says that using popcorn in salads is a tradition in Peru for those who are gluten-free. Likewise, baked potatoes can be a substitute for breads. Creativity is especially helpful when you’re on a low-FODMAP diet.
4.) Buy fruits/veggies when they’re in season. Want them all year round? Freeze them and you’ll always have them in stock.
5.) Buy brown or basmati rice in bulk. They may not be as in vogue as quinoa, but they’re still high in nutrients and much cheaper!
6.) Befriend your local produce sellers. I buy my produce from the same guy down the street all the time and he’ll often give me awesome discounts! A smile and a little loyalty goes a long way.
7.) Check out some local ethnic markets. Asian markets, for example, often have a good (and unique) variety of produce, meats, and fish for very reasonable prices. I’ve seen many vegetables that I’ve never even heard of before at these shops (and they were delicious)!
8.) Compare unit price rather than overall price in order to find the best deals. $2 isn’t always a better deal than $3!
9.) Avoid pre-cut and pre-washed produce. It will take less than three extra minutes to do it yourself and you’ll easily save up to 30%!
10.) Potatoes are your friend. They may get a bad rep since they’re a bit higher in carbs and calories than most other veggies, but they’re still healthier than most things you put in your mouth and they’re only a fraction of the cost!
11.) Consider a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You basically buy a share of a farm and get fresh, local produce every month at a reduced price.
12.) Protein powder can actually be pretty cheap when you buy a big tub and it’ll last a heck of a long time. It shouldn’t make up the bulk of your protein, but it can be a great supplement.
What are your tips for healthy eating on a budget?