1. Eat cheap foods- Certain foods are typically lower in price than others. Base your meals around these foods to save money; however do not sacrifice on nutrition in order to do so. See below for inexpensive, healthy food ideas to include in your meal planning. Eating healthy does not have to be expensive! Limit pricier foods to once per week or for special occasions.
Protein: Lentils, Dried Beans, Peanut Butter, Nuts, Seeds, Edamame, Tofu, Yogurt, Eggs.
Grains: Oats, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Pasta, Whole Grain Bread.
Produce: Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Broccoli, Carrots, Spinach
2. Plan ahead- Okay, this one sounds like a no-brainer, but many people still don’t do it. If you plan meals out in advance and prepare a shopping list prior to heading to the store you are less likely to buy unnecessary items. By creating a list, you are more likely to only buy items you actually need. Plan healthy meals and try to incorporate of variety of different foods into each week or months meal plan. For a sample menu visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/sites/default/files/budget/2WeekMenusAndFoodGroupContent.pdf. Utilize coupons, sales, and special offers as much as possible, but be sure not to buy things you do not need just because its on sale or you have a coupon.
3. Eat less meat- Choosing only high quality cuts of meat that utilize sustainable farming practices can get very expensive. Limit your families meat-based meals to 1-2 per week. Do not sacrifice quality of meat in order to save a few dollars. Instead, lay off the meat and focus on cheaper protein options (see above).
4. Utilize frozen or in-season produce- Frozen produce is a great alternative to canned and even fresh produce and is typically fairly inexpensive. Frozen produce may actually be nutritionally superior to fresh as it’s frozen shortly after harvest which lessens the nutrient loss caused by sitting in the grocery store or at home before consumption. Shop your local farmers market to find in-season produce that often tastes better, retains more of its nutrients, and is cheaper than other options.
5. Re-evaluate your beverage choices- Choose milk and non-dairy milk alternatives such as soy milk, almond milks and other nut milks only. Avoid buying fruit juices, energy drinks, sodas, and all other calorie and sugar latent beverages as they offer little nutrients and can add significant cost to your grocery bill.