I’ve had Part 2 of my Healthy Eating on a Budget series scheduled for a while…..a while as in a year! It just kept getting pushed back and pushed back and before I knew it, exactly a year had gone by. oops 🙂
Here’s the link to Healthy Eating on a Budget Part 1 where I give you some planning and shopping basics. Let’s go a little more in depth now about the various foods at the supermarket.
Fruits and Veggies
- Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh and often cheaper.
- When buying canned produce, look for low sodium and packed in juice options.
- Buy fresh produce when it’s in season. That’s when it will be ON SALE!!
- Whole veggies are cheaper than pre-cut. Plus, there’s less packaging waste.
- Dried beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils have 6-10grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving of beans Lots of recipes here .
- Eggs have 6 grams protein per egg (Bonus: the yolk is one of the few foods that contains vitamin D!) If you’re dozen of eggs costs $1.99, that’s only $0.17 per egg!
- Tofu is super cheap at less than $2.00 for a 1 lb block! Firm tofu at $1.69 is $0.42 per serving! Score!! When it’s on sale, stock up and keep in the freezer. (8 grams protein per 3 ounce serving)
- Edamame, found in the freezer section, has 11 grams of protein per 1/2 cup!
- Peanut butter (7 grams protein 2 Tablespoon serving). Look at the ingredients. You want the ingredients to only say “peanuts”. I LOVE almond butter, but it’s usually twice as expensive.
- Plain greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt, but buy it in large containers instead of individual cups to save money and packaging waste. Look at the price per unit shelf tags to compare brands.
Here’s an example from my Ralphs store:
~Krogers Plain Greek 24 oz container = $.90 per 6 oz serving (16 grams protein)
~Chobani 6 oz container = $1.39 per 6 oz serving (18g grams protein)
- Canned light tuna: Canned at $.30/oz vs Pouch at $.96/ounce. 16 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving.
- Beef: Inexpensive and lean cuts include sirloin, top round, bottom round and lean ground beef (approx $5.50-$6.50 per pound).
- Chicken: Thighs are always cheaper than breasts (approx $2.79/lb vs $6.99 /lb).
~Buying chicken breasts with the skin is cheaper, so just remove the skin yourself (approx $3.49 vs $6.99 per lb for breasts).
~Try cooking a whole chicken ($1.95 per lb !)
~Lean ground turkey is cheaper than extra lean! Stock up when on sale and freeze. I found it for $2.99/lb at my store this week (usually $5.99/lb) ! Stocked up!
- Just remember…..whole protein foods are cheaper than protein powder AND you get to chew!
Grains & Starch
- Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are fantastic, but don’t ignore the common russet potato packed with potassium and vitamin C. Roast, bake and steam them instead of frying. Oven baked garlic fries anyone?
- Oats – Don’t buy single serve packets!
~Ralphs 42oz container (30 servings) for $3.49 vs Quaker Packets 8 servings for $4.49. That’s over 4-1/2 times the price per serving! If you’re taking oats to work, just portion them out in your own container or baggie.
- Choose plain brown rice instead of boxed pilafs
~Store brand 32oz bag (20 servings) for $2.69 vs Near East Pilaf 3.5 servings for $3.29
- Whole grain pasta – private label store brandalways on sale! Often $1/box!
- Whole wheat pita bread & english muffins – use not only for sandwiches, but for pita chips and pizza crust
- Shop from the bulk bins for grains like bulgur and quinoa.
Keep the kitchen stocked with key flavor ingredients
It’s so much easier and more enjoyable to throw a meal together when you have staples on hand. When it’s easy, you’re probably less likely to give in and go out to eat.
- Pantry items: canned tomatoes, garlic powder, herbs like oregano, spices like cinnamon, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, salsa, tahini
- Herbs and spices are often much cheaper at ethnic markets and the Latin aisle at traditional grocery stores.
- Olive Oil is my pick for a heart healthy oil at the grocery store, but you don’t need a super duper expensive extra virgin oil to cook with. Store brand will work just fine!
- Hydrate with water instead of sugary beverages.
- Buy a water filter pitcher and fill a reusable water bottle instead of individual plastic water bottles.
- Make your own spa water. Just throw some citrus, sliced fruit or herbs into the water and allow to steep.
- Brew your own iced tea.
- Make your own coffee instead of going to the coffee shop everyday.
- Bring your own snacks to work/school. You’ll be less likely to buy expensive snacks or junk food.
- Stay away from pre-portioned snacks. Portion out your own
- Make your own popcorn instead of buying microwave popcorn.
Do you have any favorite money saving tips at the grocery store or quality healthy products that are always a bargain? Let me know in the comments section! Cheers to eating healthy on a budget!