How to save money on your healthy grocery bill

Summer is almost here, and that means shorts, tank tops and clothes we may not feel so comfortable in just yet.

Even with exercise, it's still important to eat well or those clothes you wore last summer won't fit no matter how hard we try.

For most of our healthy eating fat-loss rules, it's very important to try and pack as much good food into our grocery carts as possible. But, as we know, just like the price of gas, the price of good food is not inexpensive!

So, how do we do it? How do we afford a healthy fat-burning trip to the grocery store without breaking the bank?

Here is a great list to help you meet this goal and actually enjoy what you're buying too!


Read on!

1. One of the most important foods to fill your cart with are fresh vegetables and fruits.

Especially with vegetables, they're low in calories, high in nutrients and, as one of my weight loss success stories told me:


"You can eat as many vegetables as you can until you almost burst, and you'll still lose weight"

Items like spinach, romaine, kale, peppers, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, celery, corn, oranges, bananas, are important and help you feel full while losing weight.

But, there are certain veggies and fruits that you want to buy organic due to their high pesticide content (even washing and peeling doesn't help)

For other produce, you can buy conventional and save money.

The 12 fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic are: 
Celery
Peaches
Strawberries
Apples
Blueberries
Nectarines
Bell Peppers
Spinach
Cherries
Kale
Potatoes
Grapes


Thankfully, organic foods are not as expensive as they used to be, and not all fruits and veggies are high in pesticides.

You don't have to buy bananas, melons, or oranges organic for example, so you can get those at special price-reduced stores that may not always have the best quality items otherwise.


The rest you should try to get organic - like the ones listed above.

And, remember, even if you can't get it organic, it's still good to eat, so get it anyways.



2. Look for produce or other grocery items with a discount due to a "close to expiry" date.

For example, I just bought a large container of organic spinach with a $2 discount because it was close to expiry.

But, since I eat spinach like a rabbit, this wasn't an issue and only had to toss a few slightly slimy leaves. No biggie.

Saving $2 was huge and it helped me get in more of my favorite vegetable for a low price!



3. Buy seasonal produce rather than those not even close to season.

Maybe you don't think twice about this, but don't buy berries in the winter.... you'll pay almost double and you can be sure that it's been trucked 1000s of miles to get to the store.


So, not only are you paying more, but our planet pays for it with more carbon waste and pollutants.

Berry season is coming up soon and there are a lot of awesome local farms to purchase fresh berries from.


This is not only inexpensive, but has higher vitamin and mineral content. And, it tastes WAY better!

If you need ideas for local farm stands near you, check out  these sites:

http://www.pickyourown.org/

http://www.livinglocal.ca/

http://www.foodandfarmingcanada.com/category/local-food/

http://www.localharvest.org/

 

You can also use these sites to learn what items are in season when so you can avoid buying something out of season. Very cool!

In the winter, when most produce is not in season, choose frozen, untainted fruits and veggies (no butter, sugar, etc).

Frozen produce is very fresh and doesn't spoil.

AND - DO NOT MICROWAVE IN PLASTIC STEAMER BAGS!! (unless you want cancer...)

Cook it in a corning ware dish or on the stove in minimal water is best.



4. Buy pre-bunched items.

The other day, I bought 5 pre-packed cucumbers for just $2.88.

Normally, these sell for $0.75 to $1 each, so this was an awesome bargain.
Then, at another store I got 6 Kiwi's for just $2.50 versus $0.75-$1 each, and a bag of bananas for $0.42/lb versus $0.79 at a more expensive store


Bagged apples, oranges and grapefruit are like this too. Plus, it helps saves trips to the store!!


5. No matter how strapped you are for time, avoid pre-cut items, like cut apples, squash, and corn.

Not only is this more expensive, but it usually is preserved with something to prevent browning, and this "something" may not be great for you.



6. Use the shelf stickers that list the price of the item per weight.

This is a great way to price compare using the volume/weight of the food to get the best deal!

Most stores have this option - so use it when you can!




7. For meat, fish and poultry, dairy and eggs, try to buy free-range and organic whenever possible.

But, when this is really pricey, or not possible, choose natural items with as few added ingredients as possible.




8. Finally - make your grocery list based off recipes/meals you plan to eat for the week.

Decide what you're going to make for the week and then buy for those recipes or meals.

This is not only time efficient, but prevents you from buying things you MIGHT make, but don't get around to and end up throwing away.

But, don't hesitate to buy something that's on sale for an outstanding price and modify your plan for the week so you can save $$.

 

Eat well and save money too! Enjoy!

Posted May 13, 2011 by Cassandra Forsythe.
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Comments for This Entry

GravatarLauren12:21PM on May 13, 2011

all great info! i bought conventional bell pepper and spinach this week and i'm sure i already have cancer. but, you're right its better to eat veggies like that than none at all. i live in a town with hardly any organic produce at the store. however, i joined a CSA in the summer and that helps.
i always end up with almost expired spinach...i usually make spinach pies or saute it...that way one huge bag can really be condensed.
AND - DO NOT MICROWAVE IN PLASTIC STEAMER BAGS!! (unless you want cancer...) LOL :)

GravatarJoe02:07AM on May 15, 2011

What about coupons? I know it's fallen out of favor, but coupons really do go a long way towards cutting costs in the long run.

GravatarCharlotte03:04PM on May 15, 2011

I really appreciate the information about pesticide content. I was not aware of that. I will be buying more organic vegetables from now on.

GravatarMatthew07:34PM on May 15, 2011

I think the ideas are great.

Though the bagged stuff is hard to eat when you are single/buying for one. I tried the apples and end up throwing them out, an apple a day is decent, 2 or 3 a day is tough!

I also try to buy items in bulk when they go on sale: Almond milk for example.

GravatarTrishy07:36AM on May 30, 2011

Thanks Cassandra, very relevant discussion. It is also good to remember that organic food isn't just lower in pesticides, it is higher in nutrients for a variety of reasons (better soil, longer ripening times, deeper roots, etc.) When you factor in the fact that you are getting more nutrients per amount of fruit/vegetable by eating organic, the extra cost kinda equals out.

GravatarChef Todd Mohr07:18AM on June 10, 2011

These are all very good tips, thank you Cassandra. However, most money on food is wasted AFTER you get the food home. In a recent survey, 93% of people admitted to throwing away leftover food, or food that spoiled before they ever got a chance to cook it.

Along with your great tips, I'd add two. First, know your portions, don't over-buy. You can really save on food with a digital scale and know precisely that you'll prepare 4 ounces of chicken per person, 3 ounces of potatoes, etc. This way, you don't over-cook or over-eat.

Secondly, storing fresh ingredients is a challenge for many people. Lettuce and leafy vegetables need to breathe, and shouldn't be wrapped in plastic. Asparagus and broccoli can be stood-up in a glass of water to keep hydrated. Corn should never be refrigerated as the sugars turn to starch.

Buying fresh ingredients is senseless if they just spoil because they're not stored correctly.

Buy only what you'll eat. Eat only what you buy and you'll save on food.

Chef Todd Mohr

GravatarAllison07:38AM on June 26, 2011

I'm on a tight budget but I have to keep my diet as clean as possible for an upcoming fitness contest. Planning is huge - I decide what I'm going to eat for the week and ONLY buy what's on my list. I also try to limit grocery shopping to one day a week because every time I go to the store, I see something new I want to try. Buying things like oranges and onions works, even for one person, because they last for a long time. And when protein goes on sale, I STOCK UP. Last week chicken breasts were almost half their normal price, so I filled the freezer. The week before they had buy one, get one free cartons of eggs. Egg-white omelets for me! I get really excited about coupons, too, but I keep telling myself to only cut the ones for things I would be buying anyway. A dollar off a five-dollar product that I don't really need is still a net loss of four dollars...

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