How to grocery shop on a budget
It’s a common argument in the health industry that eating well equals being wealthy and spending a lot of money on weekly groceries. This couldn’t be more untrue. Sure sometimes buying better quality or organic groceries can weigh heavily on your weekly budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars per week to eat healthy.
It’s possible to be on a food budget and still eat really well — you just have to be smart and efficient about where and how you spend your hard-earned cash, or in my case, support payments. Here are six suggestions on where you can start…
- Don’t shop hungry
Follow your list of grocery shopping rather than your cravings. You don’t want to find yourself in the bakery section where every cookie and brownie looks good and you end up having a momentary lapse in good decision-making. This wont just blow the budget, but you end up with food you never even wanted in the first place. Nobody likes grocery shopping guilt!
- Plan your attack
Before you head to the grocery store, plan a few meals for the week. I do this on Sunday and shop Monday morning after the gym. Include meals like stews, soups, stir-fries or healthy pasta and rice dishes, for which you can plan out how to buy the more expensive items such as fish, poultry, and beef, and portion control. Plan a menu and attack it smartly at the grocery store. Need more help with this?
- Choose animal products wisely
While buying sustainably and organically farmed animal products is always the best way to go, especially if you’re feeding the entire family, it does cost more. A simple solution: buy quality meats that cost more, but eat less of them. This is an excellent way to balance the costs and be mindful of the environment. When it comes to animal products, think quality over quantity, always.
- Buy essentials in bulk
For all your spices, dried fruit, nuts, frozen berries and peas, legumes, grains, beans, rice – think buying bulk! These things have longer shelf life and the quality is not that important (compared to fresh produce or animal and dairy products). Buy what you need in bulk and remember you are not paying for packaging, labeling and advertising on canned or pre-bagged foods.
- Cook once a week in bulk
I say this a lot — prepare a large batch of a favorite recipes on a Sunday afternoon and freeze portions in a glass container. Tupperware is OK. I’m extremely anal about plastics at my house- I don’t freeze or heat in any plastic (that’s for another post.) When you come home tired on a Tuesday night from tons of after school sports or work and have zero desire to cook, there’s something delicious waiting in the freezer for you. You can also use the leftovers over the next couple of days to save money usually spent on take-out meals for lunch.
- Freeze things
When you see some of your favorite items on sale, stock up and freeze. This is a great way to save on local or organic fish, poultry and meat. And don’t let leftovers go to waste; freeze leftover soups, stews, sauces and casseroles.
Do you have any tips on eating well on a budget? Share them below.