All too often I hear people say that they cannot afford to eat healthy. There is no doubt that healthier options can be a bit more expensive than the processed options. However, this shouldn’t detour you from eating healthy! There are ways you can make healthy eating affordable, and finding ways to get more bang for your buck can be easier than you thought! When it comes to diet-friendly foods, check out these tips to keep both your weight and wallet in check.
1. Frozen veggies
People think that fresh is better than frozen. However, did you know that frozen has the same nutritional content? In actuality, frozen can actually have more nutritional value because it is frozen until cooked— unlike fresh, which can sit for days before consumption. Not only is frozen much less expensive, it is also so easy to prepare, often not needing any chopping or prepping. As a busy mom, this is a total win-win for me. You can use frozen in so many ways. I will either pan-fry, grill or place in the oven with a touch of olive oil and seasoning, and they come out fantastic!
2. Frozen seafood
Similar to frozen veggies, people think the fresh is better than frozen when it comes to seafood, but did you know that the fresh you buy is often just thawed out frozen? Frozen tends to be the same in terms of quality but NOT the same in terms of price. Load up on frozen and simply set out the night before to thaw and prepare as you would fresh seafood. This is a great way to save dollars but not skimp on freshness!
3. Ditch pre-cut veggies
Pre-washed and cut vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, zucchini, onions, etc. may be much more convenient but are also much more expensive! I tend to fall victim to these prepared veggies since they are huge time saver. However, they really aren’t the most economical way to shop. A big head of cabbage can be less than $0.30/pound, while a ready-to-go chopped bag is about $1.30 or more for a pound. That is a dollar savings to get the whole head and do your own chopping. When you go through veggies like I do, those pounds and dollars sure do add up. Ditch the prepared veggies and go whole for great savings!
4. Buy what’s on sale
There is always a sale going on. Rather than going to the grocery store with a list of things you want, go with the idea that you are going to buy what is on sale. I never start with a recipe and then gather my goods; I start with my goods then create my recipes. This will be a huge dollar saver. Create your recipes after you have your items that you bought on sale. Most people do the opposite. I have found this has been HUGE in helping me save big time on healthy foods! If you go to the store and egg plant is on sale, looks like you may be creating a healthy egg plant Parmesan or having grilled egg plant to complement your lean protein for dinner. Another tip is when you do find one of your non-perishable essentials on sale, stock up—mustards, cereals, nuts, chicken broth, etc. When they go on sale, load up. Try this approach and see how much you will save!
5. Buy generic
Generic doesn’t mean “less quality.” If you compare the ingredients, you will see that often the generic is the exact same, just without the recognizable brand. By buying the store version of the same item, you will save an incredible amount!
6. Buy in bulk
Head to the bin section of the grocery store and buy in bulk. You will save so much by bagging your own bulk items. A few items I always buy in bulk and save big on are oatmeal, oat bran, beans, seeds and nuts. I even buy my seasonings in bulk. You would be amazed all the things you can buy in bulk! You get charged for convenience and packaging, so when an item is prepackaged and doesn’t require you to “serve yourself” there will be an added expense. Save bug and buy in bulk.
I hope these six tips help you save dollars and show you how you, too, can make healthy eating affordable and realistic for you and your family!