Practical ways to live better on less.
We all know the many different reasons why we should eat healthy. Excuses typically include the cost of healthy foods and the time it takes to prepare healthy dishes. Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy does not have to be super expensive. Using a few simple strategies, you can easily afford all your favorite healthy foods. As for the time issue, as you become more healthy you will naturally want to prepare your own meals and experiment with new recipes. Below, I have listed 15 great tips for reducing your health foods expenses. Enjoy the list and feel free to share some of your own tips.
1. Buy produce in bulk – If you are eating at least one large salad a day, you will easily be able to finish off a large container in less than a week. Thus, it makes sense to buy the largest portion available. Organic Girl, which comes in a fantastic huge container, is a great brand which tends to stay fresh all week long, sometimes longer. As for other produce: carrots, onions, and potatoes usually keep well for a while, so they are also good bulk buys.
2. Purchase your nuts, seeds, and beans from bulk bins– Nuts are a great health food choice. They are high in fiber and vitamins and tend to fill you up with just a small serving. Buying nuts from the bulk bins at stores like Whole Foods and co-ops allow you to get the best deal. Buying these in pre-packaged bags is going to be much more pricey. Plus, you can fill up your own container to your desired amount. As soon as you get home, be sure to store them in the fridge for the maximum freshness.
3. Buy frozen fruits – Fruits such as berries, plums, bananas, and kiwi tend to go bad much earlier than hardy options like apples. I like to buy bags of frozen fruit to use in smoothies or to thaw them out and eat by themselves. Berries contain the most antioxidants and supposedly retain their nutrients more when they are frozen. Save money by buying freezable fruits and use as desired as opposed to cramming them all in before the expiration date.
4. Look online for coupons – Check each company’s website for special discount coupons and email clubs. Many health brands will give you a discount in exchange for a like on Facebook, email list sign up, etc. Usually, this coupon is only good one time, however, every little bit helps!
5. Shop generic brands – Stores like Whole Foods typically offer a generic version of many of the main products. For example, Whole Foods 365 brand is available as a more budget friendly alternative. Buying 365 products has saved me tons of money over the years.
6. Concentrate on healthier options – Limit your shopping to mainly fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and nuts/seeds. The more pre-packaged, deli, and frozen foods you buy, the higher your grocery bill will be.
7. Write out a list in advance – Making a grocery list in advance will help you stick to your intended selections. You will be less tempted to turn to the junk foods when you come prepared with list in hand.
8. Make soups your main meal – Doing a quick search online, you will easily find dozens of healthy soup recipes. Soups are great because you can make large batches and freeze what you do not eat, leading to an easy meal at some later date. The ingredients are reasonably cheap and the workload for you is minimal.
9. Eat more vegetarian protein – Vegetarian sources of protein like beans and nuts and seeds are much more wallet friendly than seafood and meat.
10. Shop at local farmers market – Oftentimes you can find better deals at your local farmers markets, especially near closing time when they are packing up to leave.
11. Check your local co-op for special deals – Instead of always running over to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, you may also want to add your local co-op to your list of healthy grocer options. Many offer special deals and sales, and oftentimes, even an email list where you can receive members only coupons.
12. Reduce your dining out budget – When you forgo a few restaurant trips each month, you put more money in your pocket for healthy choices. Yes, cooking at home is a lot more time consuming, however, the benefits in terms of your health are tremendous. Restaurants use mostly cheap ingredients; at home you can customize dishes using fresh organic produce. The money you save from skipping restaurants will allow you to easily buy mostly organic grocery store items.
13. Skip the pre-made juices and smoothies – A Vitamix blender/juicier is a wise investment. A Ninja food processor/blender combo is a fantastic budget friendly option. These pre- made juices and smoothies sold in health food stores are incredibly overpriced and not as fresh as the ones you make at home. Consider purchasing a great blender/juicier and find free recipes online or be creative with your own great health drink innovations. If you are the type of person who picks up a pre-made juice each time you shop, you will be easily make up your money after the first year.
14. Check weekly sales flyers – Although it is rare for organic fruits and veggies to go on sale, it does happen occasionally. Take advantage of sales for your desired items and freeze whatever you cannot eat before the expiration date.
15. Make your own snacks at home – Buying pre made hummus, guacamole, salsa, and other snack dips all the time is going to cost you. Take down some of your grocery bill expenses by preparing these items at home with a simple food processor. You can find hundreds of recipes online, allowing you to experiment with a wide range of flavors.