By: Joni Rampolla, MBA, RDN, LDN / Founder, Nutrition Coaching 4U/ and retail dietitian
Edited and updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD
Budget-Friendly Grocery Tips for Healthier Living
Healthy eating is often associated with big grocery bills. This does not have to be true. As a grocery store dietitian, I help people find the right foods that the family will love and keep them nourished with the best possible nutrition.
Here are six supermarket strategies to help listeners eat better while sticking to a tight budget.
Plan Ahead and Create a Budget
Creating a shopping list for future meals, then shopping for those items can save you up to 40% compared to shopping without a list. When I have a budget to stick to, I think differently. While shopping, I am thinking of the nutrition I am putting in my cart. How much nutrition can I get for my dollar? Planning ahead and creating a list can avoid those impulse buys which can help your wallet.
Embrace Whole Foods
Buying whole foods can be less expensive than their processed, flavored counterparts. Some examples of budget-friendly pantry staples are whole grains including oatmeal, wild rice, popcorn, or whole wheat pasta.
Here are some savings suggestions: clip digital coupons, use savings apps, sign up for a store loyalty cards as they often give discounts, and shop the weekly sales by viewing the store circular or flyer. You can plan your meals based on what’s on sale this week. Consider store brands as they often are similar quality but at a discounted price.
Frozen and Canned Foods Fit
Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables offer a wide array of nutrients, convenience, and cost savings. It is so important for our health to include fruits and vegetables in any form. They also allow you to enjoy your favorites even when they aren’t in season. Canned and frozen can be just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts.
Think Differently About Meat
Since meat is typically the most expensive item on our plate, consider using it as a garnish to a meal instead of it taking center stage. Some suggestions are to add meat to a stew or soup filled with a bounty of in-season vegetables. Or add your meat to a stir fry with a large color variety of vegetables, and serve over a bed of rice.
Get Enough Protein
Protein comes in many foods that aren’t in the meat section of the store. Some budget-friendly protein foods to add to your shopping cart are pouch tuna or salmon, beans, eggs, quinoa, nuts and nut butters, and seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, or sunflower). If you include dairy, don’t forget the cottage cheese and yogurt.