{Thrive} 10 Tip for Saving Money on Healthy Eats

Last month, the Harvard School of Public Health unveiled new research stating that the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day when compared to less healthy diets.  By itself, $1.50 may not appear to be a lot of money; however this pocket change adds up quickly. This overage translates to an added cost of $550 per year for one person.

Why might this be? Researchers suggest that “unhealthy diets may cost less because food policies have focused on the production of ‘inexpensive, high volume’ commodities, which has led to a complex network of farming, storage, transportation, processing, manufacturing and marketing capabilities that favor sales of highly processed food products for maximal industry profit.”In other words, people have spent a lot of money to get us to buy cheap, unhealthy food.

If you’re starting to reconsider your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy, it’s important to consider the increased risk of developing a chronic disease associated with a diet high in processed, calorie-dense foods.  That $1.50 per day you may be saving now can translate into thousands of dollars later in medical procedures and treatments for conditions such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Wondering how you can save that $1.50  at the grocery store? Here are my 10 money-saving tips and tricks:

1)     Make a list…and stick to it. Planning is imperative in saving money.  Schedule your meals ahead of time so you can make a list, be aware of the ingredients you already haveat home, don’t over-buy, and always check ads for sales.

2)     Have a snack. Generally speaking, if we grocery shop and are hungry, we tend to give in to temptation and make impulsive food purchases. So to best tame that behavior, have a small, healthy snack before venturing out.

3)     Save on protein foods. Animal protein foods – poultry, beef, pork and seafood – can be a costly grocery expense.  A great way to save money is to try vegetarian protein foods, such as beans, tofu, eggs and legumes, which can cost significantly less (not to mention are a great, heart healthy choice!).

4)     Cart reduction. This is a favorite trick of mine!  Unless you’re buying for a large family, the next time you go grocery shopping, try using the smaller cart instead of the full size one.  Since you have less space to work with, you’re more inclined to only purchase the necessities.  If you opt for a basket you are limited by size and weight as the more you add to your basket the heavier it will become which means you have to lug it through the store.  The bonus of shopping with a basket is the bicep workout your sneak in.

5)     Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables – especially when they’re on sale! Frozen foods pack a big nutrient punch as they are picked at the peak of ripeness and quickly blanched than frozen.   They are often less expensive than their fresh counterparts and they last much longer!

6)     Buy produce in season. Produce will always be more expensive when purchased out of season, so look for what’s available now. If you’re unfamiliar with how to prepare seasonal favorites, the Healthy Bites blog is a great recipe resource!

7)     Grow your own herbs. The cost to start your own indoor herb garden is minimal and provides fresh herbs all year round – for free!

8)     Check unit prices. The unit price, which is usually listed on the grocery shelf, gives you the best deal for your money. So when comparing products, always compare their unit prices.

9)     Be flexible.Unless you’re loyal to specific brands, try the generic version, which nearly always costs less. ADDED TIP:  Look up and down. Big brands pay a lot of money to be on grocery shelves at eye-level.  So remind yourself to look to the top and bottom shelves for comparable items at a lower cost.

10)Don’t throw your money away! Finally, the biggest waste of money comes from the food we throw away.  To minimize food waste, stay mindful and  use the food you have on hand before going out to buy more.

How do YOU save money at the grocery store? Share your tips with me and Healthy Bites readers!

 

Erin DeMito, RD, LDN

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2 thoughts on “{Thrive} 10 Tip for Saving Money on Healthy Eats

  1. I prepare in family size portions, and then freeze the left overs. I use them for quick dinners, or they make great lunches to pack.

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