1. Buy In Bulk
Foods in bulk are often offered at a discounted price. "While it may cost more upfront when buying certain items, you can easily buy many in bulk that last a long time in the pantry and/or can be frozen, prepped for later use, or proportioned after buying and then stored," says Keri Glassman, MS RD CDN over email.
2. Only Buy Organic When Necessary
Choosing to buy organic is a great way to avoid pesticides and GMOs, but not all foods are worth the organic price tag. "If you can’t buy everything organic, focus on buying organic foods which are most likely to contain high amounts of pesticides," says Glassman. "Check out the dirty dozen and clean fifteen to be informed and make the best choices."
3. Meal Prep
There's a reason why meal prep is big in the fitness community right now — it's cheap and ensures you eat most of your meals at home. "Eating healthy can be less expensive when you plan ahead," says Glassman. "By meal prepping and packing meals you’ll save money and use up your fresh produce before it has a chance to go bad. For example, making chicken and broccoli rabe for dinner? Use the leftover 3 ounces of chicken and broccoli rabe and mix with canned chickpeas and frozen mixed veggies to make a complete lunch."
4. Buy Frozen
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be significantly cheaper than fresh produce — and they surprisingly can contain more nutrients. "Foods are frozen at their peak ripeness, so they actually can be healthier than their fresh counterparts," says Glassman.
5. Shop In Season
"The real, whole foods that are in season will be most abundant, and therefore cheaper in the checkout line," says Glassman. Use a seasonal produce guide to see what fruits and vegetables are being grown right now, and better yet, find out what is produced locally.
6. Participate In Meatless Monday
"Eating meatless meals can save money on the grocery bill, plus they can help your health too," says Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD over email. "Try egg-based dishes, grain-and-veggie-based dishes, vegetable stir fry, etc." If you need more ideas, you can check out MeatlessMonday.org for recipe ideas.
7. Buy Foods Whole, Not Pre-Chopped
It's tempting to buy the pre-chopped vegetables or fruit out of convenience, but this extra service comes at a price. "Buying whole carrots and then peeling and slicing or chopping them is more cost effective than buying baby carrots, which are often $0.80 - $1 more per pound compared to 'regular' carrots," says Morgan.
8. Use In-Store Coupons
There's no need to do any extreme couponing, but pay attention to what deals are being offered. "Use in-store coupons and compare the unit price," says Danielle Omar, MS, RD for Cal-EZ over email. "Sometimes two smaller sized items are cheaper than one big one. Use in-store coupons to catch 2 for 1 deals!
9. Pick The Right Packaged Products
"Just because a food is canned or boxed doesn’t automatically make it unhealthy, if you take a little extra time to read labels," says Omar. "Inexpensive options include whole beans, canned tomatoes, oatmeal, rice and other grains, yogurt, salsa, etc. Canned fish like tuna and salmon can seem a little on the pricey side, but compared to fresh, they cost less and they’re super versatile."
10. Grow A Garden
"You’d be surprised how much money you can save in the summer growing your own food," says Omar. "From fresh herbs to tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and potatoes, you can feed yourself well from your very own backyard" Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow some small plants like fresh herbs in your own home.
The more you spend time preparing your own food at home, the cheaper and healthier your meals will be.
Images: Pexels; Pixabay (11)