Healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, superfoods, healthy grains, etc. can cost more than the less nutritious options, especially if you only buy organic foods all the time.
That’s why some people resort to buying less expensive foods that are loaded with refined grains, added sugars, processed meat, and all kinds of unhealthy things.
But if you want to make better food choices and eat healthy foods, without spending way too much money when grocery shopping, don’t worry, it’s possible.
Being prepared and knowing what to buy can actually help save you money when purchasing healthy foods.
As I mentioned, it’s possible to eat healthy, nutritious food without ruining your budget, so in this post, I’m sharing practical strategies on how you can save money and still enjoy eating delicious and nutritious meals every day.
How To Save Money On Healthy Food
Planning your meals ahead can help you save money on healthy food in many ways.
It can help you have a clear grocery list, so you know what you need to buy and where to buy it (so you can plan on going to the places where certain foods are more affordable).
It can also help you know exactly what meals you’ll be making and what things you need for them, so you don’t waste any ingredients by buying them and not being able to put them into any meals you make, because they don’t go well with the other foods you have.
Make A Shopping List
Making a shopping list is very important when it comes to saving money on healthy foods.
When you have a list, you know what to buy, and you won’t end up buying random (and expensive) stuff you don’t need, just because you saw it. It can also help you budget everything before you go shopping.
Stick To The Shopping List
Since having a shopping list is so important, we need to actually stick to the list when grocery shopping as well.
If you don’t stick to it, there’s no point in having it.
I know it may be tempting to buy junk food, more expensive fancy things you don’t need, and things that aren’t on your list, but it truly won’t be beneficial to you.
You’ll spend more than you should, AND you won’t be eating healthy food.
If you didn’t plan on getting something, don’t buy it (unless it’s something you truly need and you just forgot to put it on the list, but you know you’ll use it).
Eat Your Leftovers
Never waste leftovers!
Having leftovers is great for saving money on food.
You can eat your leftovers tomorrow, and that will save you money for one meals’ worth of ingredients.
You can eat your leftovers the same way you ate them the previous day, or you can repurpose them.
For example, you can use the leftover stir-fries (both the veggies and the meat) to make a burrito. Or, you can use leftover pasta to make a pasta salad.
Another important thing to mention, don’t just save leftovers from full dishes. Save leftovers from parts of dishes as well.
When you’re making a dish, and you see you won’t use all the pasta you cooked (for example), save something on the side before you mix it in with the sauce (unless you have more sauce as well), and use it the next day. The same goes for veggies and meat – you can repurpose parts of meals, as well as whole meals.
Buy Frozen Fruits And Vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are less expensive than fresh ones, but they can even be better for you as well.
When fruits and vegetables are frozen, all of the good things in them are saved, whereas when you just leave them fresh, the good things and nutrients in them can disappear as time goes by.
So, definitely take advantage of frozen fruits and veggies.
There are even some meals that work better with frozen vs fresh fruits & veggies, such as smoothies (you get a smoother texture, and you have a cold drink without putting additional ice).
Check Out Cheaper Brands
For all ingredients on your grocery list, there are multiple brands that make them.
Some brands are more expensive, some are less expensive, like store brands.
So, when you’re buying each ingredient, make sure you check all of the prices for different brands, so you can find the most affordable ones.
Eat More Vegetables
Veggies are not only great for you, but they’re more affordable than meat as well. So, if you want to save money on healthy food, definitely include more veggies in your meals and your meal plans.
Cook From Scratch
Cooking from scratch can save you so much money when you’re trying to make better food choices and eat healthier.
Pre-made sauces, dressings, and similar things are always more expensive than the ingredients you need to make them, and they’re never as healthy as homemade stuff because they usually add bad stuff in them to keep them from going bad. Real food always tastes better, and is more affordable and healthier.
Eat Smaller Portions
Portion control is very important when you’re trying to save money.
Oftentimes we will eat everything on the plate, even if we get full halfway through, just because it’s on the plate.
But don’t do that. When you get full, leave the food for tomorrow.
You can always eat it later, or repurpose it, and it will help you save money.
Don’t Waste Food
Wasting food is definitely something you don’t want to do, even if you’re not trying to save money, but especially if you are.
Don’t throw away anything, leave it for tomorrow, or repurpose it.
If you see an expiration date is coming, use that ingredient the same day, and leave something with a longer expiration date for tomorrow.
Wasting food is wasting money.
Buy Seasonal Produce
Seasonal produce should definitely be on your shopping list.
Seasonal produce is always more affordable than the ingredients that aren’t in-season, AND they’re
more nutritious (because in-season fruits and veggies are usually naturally grown and have all of the nutrients, and the produce that isn’t in-season was grown with added things).
So, by buying food that’s in-seasonal you’re saving money and eating healthier.
Grow Your Own Produce
If you have a garden, you can grow your own produce!
That is definitely the cheapest option, plus it’s healthy since you know that nothing has been put on the produce.
It can be a fun hobby if you have the space and the time to do it.
Use Coupons And Discounts
Taking advantage of coupons and discounts can save you a lot of money.
Shop At Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ market is great for fresh produce and for saving money!
They’re cheaper than the grocery store, everything is fresh and naturally grown, and there’s more of the good stuff there.
Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk some ingredients that have a long expiration date and shelf life and that you know you’ll use can definitely save you money. Healthy grains (brown rice, white rice, quinoa, etc.) and similar things can be expensive sometimes, so it pays off to get them in bulk if it will save you some money and you know you’ll use them.
Do Meal Prep
Doing meal prep can help you save money as well. By doing meal prep, you’ll use all of the ingredients you got, so you’re not wasting anything, and it will save you from ordering food when you’re hungry just because you don’t have time to cook (since you’ll have a delicious healthy & affordable meal ready for you to eat).
Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
Shopping when you’re hungry can make it harder for you to stick to your shopping list. When you’re hungry, everything looks good, you’re craving everything, and you’ll end up buying food you don’t need, unhealthy things, and expensive things, just because they look good to you at the moment.
Cook At Home
Cooking at home and not eating out or ordering in can help you save SO MUCH money.
When you order food or go out to eat, you’ll either get some cheap fast food that’s not healthy, or if you decide to order a healthy meal, you’ll spend waaay more than you would if you cooked it yourself, since restaurants always charge a lot for healthy meals.
So, cooking yourself will help you eat healthy foods, and save money at the same time.
Healthy eating is much easier when you’re in charge of the cooking.