Healthy food can be expensive. Very expensive. In fact, if you aren’t careful you can very easily end up spending more money on healthy food than you spend on your car payment, utilities or another major monthly expense. That said, there are ways to cut the cost of healthy food and still enjoy what you eat, and eat a variety of foods without having to get bored eating the same things over and over. Here are seven practical ways I have found to cut the high cost of healthy food without sacrificing flavor and good taste.
1. Create a menu with a shopping list and then stick to it. Check the store’s weekly ads and any available coupons before you go, so that you know what is on sale for that week. Be sure to also check out any buy one get one free offers, case lot sales, and items that do not go on sale on a regular basis and add these to your shopping list. Having a menu for what you will eat for each meal for that week makes it easier to avoid buying too much food or too little food. It also makes it easier for you to save time cooking and to avoid impulse buys.
2. Only buy fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season. This makes it so that you avoid buying fruits and vegetables when they are at a higher cost. If you aren’t sure what is in season and when, then trying tracking prices on a spreadsheet on your computer. You can also consider buying your fruits and vegetables at a discount grocery store or a farmers market type store where they only carry those fruits and vegetables that are in season. Sprouts are a good option if you live in a state that has those stores. If not, there are other options throughout the United States. The other option is to buy fruits and vegetables at a farmers’ market. While this can be the best in terms of quality, it isn’t always the best in terms of price. Farmers’ markets can have bargain buys, but the fruits and vegetables there can also be more expensive.
3. Grow your own garden for at least some of your fruits and vegetables. Depending on where you live, there may be certain things you can’t grow in a garden. For example, I live in Utah and it doesn’t matter what I do, I will never be able to grow avocados or pineapples. However, you can grow kale, green beans, broccoli, spinach, and raspberries if plan ahead and take the time to do it. If you don’t have space for a garden at your home, you can either share space in a community garden, or find a neighbor who will let you use part of their land, or there are indoor options for gardening with various containers that take up little to no space.
4. Buy some of your fruits and vegetables frozen or canned. While fresh is always better, frozen and canned aren’t necessarily bad and they aren’t always cheaper either. So you want to make sure to price comparison shop. You also need to double check for added sugars and other unhealthy additives. Whenever possible buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables that contain just the fruit or vegetable or water added in.
5. Limit meat to one meal per day. For people who are used to eating a lot of meat, this may be hard at first, but there are lots of vegetarian cookbooks that can give you ideas for great soups, casseroles and other dishes without meat. You don’t have to have meat with every meal and for most people you will be healthier without it. Good high-quality meat is expensive and by limiting your meat intake, you will save money.
6. Consider buying things that you eat a lot of in bulk. You can get extra cans during a case lot sale, or you can price shop online on sites like Amazon or Vitacost. Just make sure that you really will save money by buying in bulk.
7. Be flexible and willing to change what you eat based on the season of the year, store sales and other cost saving factors. If you are really committed to healthy eating and at lower prices, then you can’t be too picky about what you eat and when you eat it.