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Eat Healthy on a Budget – How to Shop for It

By Jiri Kaloc

Eating healthy doesn’t just mean buying overpriced superfoods in shiny packaging, exotic fruits, and grass-fed steaks. There are plenty of nutritious reasonably priced foods and if you know where to find them, when to shop for them and how to get the best deal, you can save a lot of money while eating healthy.

Write a shopping list

Having a plan is key when you want to be efficient while shopping. Think of all the meals and snacks you want for the following meal and make a list out of the necessary ingredients. Don’t deviate from that list when shopping and you will save a lot of unnecessary purchases. A pro tip – never go to the supermarket hungry, or with kids, both result in extra spending, no joke.

Pack your own lunch. Cook in bulk and use the leftovers as your lunch at work. You will be amazed how much this simple change saves in the long run. ©Profimedia, Depositphotos Inc.

Look for deals

The best way to shop healthy is to visit farmer’s markets. It pretty much a guarantee of seasonal, fresh, and quality produce. And it’s acceptable to haggle there! Try asking and you will be surprised that you can often get a small discount even without a heated argument. Regular supermarkets have their own way of haggling – they reduce prices of fresh foods themselves to sell out things that would spoil. For most supermarkets it’s around 7 PM, so be there the minute they change the price tags to get the good stuff.

Meat – buy cheaper cuts

A lot of the popular cuts of meat, fish, and sea food can be expensive. But you can do a lot with cheaper cuts and it turns out they are often more nutritious, too. For example, beef liver is a lot cheaper than any steak meat yet it carries substantially more minerals and vitamins. Get creative with casseroles, soups, or stir fries and you won’t even miss the expensive meats.

A pro tip – learn how to handle a whole chicken. It costs a lot less per weight than individual chicken cuts and you can get a lot of use out of it. Roast it whole, use the thighs and wings for dinners, breasts for sandwiches, and the carcass is a great base for soup.


Fresh fruits and vegetables – think seasonally

When it’s blueberry season (from June till September) they will be 5x cheaper, tastier, and more nutritious than the rest of the year. And this is true for most fruits and veggies. You can buy a bunch to make jam and freeze what you can’t use right away. Ask your local farmers at the market about what produce is in season or just observe the price changes and you will save a lot.

Dried goods – buy in bulk

You know how when you see a great deal on canned tuna, you buy one or two more cans extra? Buy 10 or 20 next time if it’s a really good deal. Foods that have a long shelf life can sit in your pantry instead of the store and when you need them, you will not only have them handy but always at a discounted price. Try and do the same with nuts, seeds, baking supplies, spices, dry lentils and beans, and even frozen produce if you have a large freezer.

Next up in Eat Healthy on a Budget series