If you find healthy grocery shopping expensive, well, you’re not alone. In fact, the cost of putting food itself on the table is the highest it has been in the last 40 years! I have had many comments on my Costco haul videos complaining about the rising food costs. So today, I thought I would address this issue and share my 10 best tips to shop healthy on a budget! Are you ready, let’s go!
My top tips to shop healthy on a budget:
I have put fancy cuts of meat on hold.
My first tip to help to save money on groceries is to perhaps cut out expensive cuts of meats like steak and stick to more cheaper cuts like ground beef instead. Not only is it a more budget friendly option but you’ll usually have leftovers after. Plus ground beef can also be repurposed from one day to the next. In my home, I’ll make keema (spicy ground beef) to be eaten with daal and rice one day and the next day, that same keema is repurposed into tacos, quesadillas or even mixed into pasta. #mealprep
Food costs were up 9.4%, with prices for things like meats, poultry, fish and eggs up 14.3% while beef rose 16% from the previous year.
If you follow me on Youtube, you may remember the haul I did at Costco in which I featured the halal rack of lamb from New Zealand. I was buying it pretty much every trip I made to Costco last year. My whole family loves it. But then the price jumped from $9.99 per pound to $15.99 per pound so I decided to take it off of our regular Costco hauls and buy it less frequently as a treat.
Another thing you can try is to eat less meat altogether. Kind of like Meatless Monday or Week Day Vegetarian.This is definitely a tough one and something I struggle with since my family loves meat but meat contributes to a major chunk in most family grocery budgets so doing this will definitely help save some money.
I try to incorporate more plant based protein into my diet
Eating less meat does mean protein intake can decrease but lentils, beans and legumes are all also rich sources of protein. Lentils have 18 grams of protein per cooked cup and most beans contain 15 g of protein per cup. These are also a great source of fiber and feed the good bacteria in our gut and if you’ve been following me long enough you know I focus on GUT health. This is not only healthy but more economical as well.
Daal is a great option and often on the menu daily in many South Asian homes.
I shop for local and seasonal produce.
When trying to be economical at the grocery store, it also helps to shop local and seasonal. Shopping local means transport costs are lower hence lower cost for us, the consumer. Seasonal means lower cost as well since the produce is in abundance. Seasonal produce is usually on sale and displayed on kiosks on the produce floor. Here’s how I am implementing this in my own home.Take the example of strawberries. I love topping my chia pudding with strawberries but when the price of organic strawberries jumps from $2.99 per pound to $4.99 per pound, I stop buying them. Instead, I transition to fruits like peaches, nectarines and even grapes. And if I want to make a smoothie, I buy the strawberries frozen. They are just as good and cost way less than fresh ones.
I know what to buy organic versus conventional.
Ali and I decided long ago which products we want to buy organic. We always get non-negotiable items like bread, milk, most fruits, leafy greens and cheese organic because we eat them most often.
So my best advice would be to get the things you eat most often organic and non GMO and the rest, if you’re on a tight budget, get conventional. I truly believe that every family needs to figure this out on their own.
I purchase in store brands when I can.
In store brands can be a great alternative to national or name brands. These are cheaper without compromising on quality. In fact, most are identical products manufactured by the name brands themselves. While shopping at HEB once, my aunt was told by an associate that the organic milk at HEB is made by Horizon Organic. A little research brought me to this article so it does seem plausible.
I buy many of the Simple Truth Organic line of products at my local Kroger store or the Good and Gather products at Target. I often find them to be cheaper without compromising on quality. Costco’s Kirkland brand is also very competitive in quality and pricing. I love using their almond butter, almond milk and almond flour. Yup, I love me my almonds! But jokes aside, these are the cleanest almond based products I have found on the market.
I cook most meals at home.
And this is the perfect segue to my next point. Most often we spend so much money on prepackaged foods (think snacks) and eating out, we don’t realize how much we would save by simply cooking at home. According to data from the Labor Department, food away from home was up 7.4 percent.
And before you say, oh but it is so hard cooking every day, well, that’s why you need to learn to plan and prep your meals, my friends. Check out my site for lots of quick, easy and meal prep friendly recipes and if you’d like a done for you meal plan complete with grocery list, here’s one you can start using today!
I buy bulk items from a wholesale club.
Although this may mean you could be walking out of the club with impulse buys, so it is really important to be laser focused when you head in there. I buy my almond flour from Costco. A 3 pound bag costs $11.99 whereas Target sells a 1 pound bag for $6.39. That’s a difference of $2.39 per pound. Because I bake with almond flour often, this bulk purchase is totally worth it for me. I get other bulk items from Costco that more than make up for the $60 annual membership fee.
Other tips to shop healthy on a budget:
I constantly check in with and edit my expenses.
Shopping healthy on a budget may need some sacrifice elsewhere. I recently did away with my Amazon Prime membership. I know, that may shock some because who doesn’t have Prime, but I felt like we weren’t really using it. We’ve never been big online shoppers. And because we subscribe to Netflix, never really got around to watching any of the Prime videos.
Look over your expenses from time to time to see where you may be spending money you don’t need to. Are there areas from where you can take the money and allocate towards healthy groceries or higher quality foods instead? These may be subscriptions you don’t want or need any more. Some other places to look at would be entertainment and big ticket purchases.
I plan my meals and make a grocery list before I head to the store.
When you plan out your meals you know exactly how much you will need. I do a check of my pantry, fridge and freezer. I make a list and always, always go to the store with it! This ensures that I don’t buy more food than I need because food wastage also costs money!
Okay let me know if these tips helped you to re-strategize your grocery shopping and help you budget your food. What else would you add to the list? Let me know down in the comments!