Most people believe that eating healthy whole foods costs a fortune and resign from even trying a wholesome diet. In reality, yes it’s true, fresh produce can be expensive, especially nowadays when ‘organic’ is deemed premium. However, if you’re smart about it, you can eat healthy without breaking the bank. As much as grabbing something pre-made like frozen ready meals or a takeaway may seem like a no brainer (it saves time and money, right?), there are many ways you can stay healthy and not entirely broke.
Try these tips for saving money at the grocery store.
- Make a list
Making a list will keep you from buying unnecessary stuff. Also, when you thoughtlessly shove whatever you happen to like, in your cart you don’t even notice the prices. A shopping list will keep you focused on what you actually need and how much you want to spend.
- Don’t ever go shopping hungry
Yes, this one may sound silly but it’s entirely true. When you are hungry you buy too much, less healthy and possibly more expensive food. Use your brain, not your rumbling tummy, while grocery shopping.
- Ditch the junk drinks
Get into a habit of drinking plain water or water with lemon/cucumber/mint leaves. You can infuse water with fresh fruit or herbs. If you invest into a tap filter or a special jug filter you won’t have to spend money on sodas, fruit juices (packed with sugar and preservatives) or bottled water ever again.
- Cook, cook, cook!
Get into a habit of cooking from scratch in larger batches. For example you can pre-prepare food and freeze for later or simply eat the same lunch for 2-3 days. Bulk cooking will save you time and money. Cook when you have time and keep the food handy for when you’re busy.
- Get creative
If you were ever a full time student you probably know the power of leftovers. If you don’t, it’s time to get familiar with this amazing concept. In this day and age you can easily find recipes and ways to use all your leftover groceries. Are you stuck with an old, darkened banana? Don’t throw it out! Mash it up with some flour and eggs and make muffins. Your spinach not looking too fresh? You don’t have to use it fresh. Sautee it with some garlic and cream cheese (or cream) and serve with pasta. Or freeze the bananas and spinach to use in smoothies later. You can literally apply this rule to everything. Stop wasting food!
- Stop eating out all the time
If you switch sugar packed whipped cream lattes from Starbucks for a relaxed afternoon with friends at your home over some iced black coffee, you will save tons of money and calories. Your body and bank account will thank you. You don’t always have to socialize over expensive and unhealthy cocktails or fancy dinners in restaurants. Invite people over and serve small but creative appetizers.
- Don’t be fussy
Many people turn their noses up to discount food or produce which looks ugly. Just because an apple has a brown spot doesn’t make it bad. Actually, uglier looking fruit and vegetables are probably more natural and have less chemicals than the perfect, polished ones. If you want to save some cash, check out evening sales at stores, when they try to get rid of products with a close sell-by date. This produce is also prime for freezing for later dishes.
- Learn to love frozen
Frozen vegetables or fruit are often half the price of the fresh ones. Can you still make them into a healthy meal, dessert or snack? Absolutely. There’s nothing wrong with switching fresh for frozen from time to time to help your budget out. Also, they don’t go bad! A total win-win, right?
- Forget instant
Do you love your instant oatmeal and fancy cereal? If you want to be healthier, slimmer and richer – get creative. Get the cheapest, most basic oats or corn flakes and mix them with dried fruit, fresh fruit, chocolate chips, nuts or peanut butter. Between us – homemade cereal tastes better, too!
- Be smart about snacks
Do you buy chips, beef jerky, candy or chocolate? These are usually full of additives and really expensive! Again, make them and preferably in bulk. Shove some sliced potatoes, yams, kohlrabi, kale or beef in the oven for a few hours and BOOM – you have a cheap, natural, preservative - free snack.
You may think to yourself that these are hard because they require extra thought and work. Believe me – it may take you a few grocery runs to get used to this new way of shopping but in the long run your budget and your body will thank you. It is the small changes that matter and developing such habits can make or break your health and your summer bikini body. Once you get used to it, making healthy food from scratch will be fun and rewarding!
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