Eating healthy can be expensive. I use the cost as an excuse to avoid it all the time.
But I really do hate when I do that because eating healthy can also be really affordable. You just have to be a little creative with your grocery shopping.
I'm not going to pretend to be a coupon-clipping expert (in fact, I rarely utilize coupons), but I thought I'd just share a few of the ways I penny pinch and still eat healthy. There are probably other ways out there, but this is just what works for me.
1. Farmer's Markets
First things first, farmer's markets! We have a pretty good local farmer's market where I live (and in the summer we have one where different farmers actually gather downtown and sell their goods!). I always love going to them because the produce is local and therefore cheaper and healthier. If your produce is local, there's a much greater chance its not covered in preservatives…I mean it doesn't have to travel far, so it doesn't need an abnormal shelf life.
2. Make lists
This is something that was really hard for me to make a habit. I like to plan, but when it comes to my food I kind of like to wing it. So I used to just go to a grocery store and put things that looked nice in the cart. Bad move. I'd spend way too much money and come home with way too few meals. Now, I at least have a couple meal ideas for the coming weeks and the necessities I'm out of (like bread or something!).
3. Break the lists
Hang on, I haven't completely lost my mind with this contradiction. What I'm saying is not that you should just walk in the store, see those fabulous Doritos and throw your list out the window. This is what I mean. When you walk in the grocery store, they have those ads at the front. I always read them first before I continue on. Say I had planned on making some kind of chicken dish but ground turkey was super on sale…I would change my route. It's good to have a plan, but it's just as important to be flexible and to let the good sales sometimes dictate your meals.
4. Buy only what you need
There are perks to buying some things in bulk, but when I shop I avoid that for the most part. I typically go to the grocery store around every two weeks. I might buy some things (like paper products or rice) in large quantities if it makes it cheaper, but when I'm shopping for my meals, I definitely avoid it. Especially when it comes to fresh foods that aren't made to last long. I buy what I need, eat it and then just go back for more. If my tomatoes are surviving on my shelf too long, it's time to throw those jokers out. They are packed with preservatives that I just don't need!
Anyway, these are just some ways I save when eating healthy. Obviously buying Ramen noodles and hotdogs are cheaper, but it's really not too much of a sacrifice to buy that fresh produce instead. (I have been shopping the unhealthy way for the last few trips and I only spent $10 more yesterday with all my healthy goods!) Here's some farmer's market trip pictures to inspire you!
Have you found any good ways to eat healthy on a budget? Comment with your tips.