Since starting the 10-Pound Challenge this month I've really tried to focus on making conscious choices about my food. I tend to run around my day popping whatever's within reach into my mouth without thinking twice about it. Thanks wholly to my genetics, my weight and size hasn't fluctuated much throughout the years, so I figured I didn't NEED to think much about it.
Well…
It's really a lot like money – just because you're THIN, that doesn't necessarily mean you're HEALTHY. With finances, just because you make ok money or don't have lots of debt doesn't mean you're making great financial choices.
By not making conscious healthy decisions in my life, I'm ultimately cutting myself short and will lose out on the benefits that being healthy brings – youthfulness, confidence, long life, energy, passing good habits down to my posterity, and overall happiness.
Interestingly enough…it's the same with frugality!! You shouldn't be frugal only when you're tight on cash, and you shouldn't make healthy choices in life only when you need to lose weight. It's about an overall, balanced lifestyle! 
With weight, it's learning to live with food and balance eating well with enjoying what you love, and finding time for regular, moderate exercise.
With finances, it's learning to stretch every dollar you have so you can buy what you want and need in a strategic, balanced way.
Ding!
Did anyone else have an aha moment here?
So whether we're talking about health, or whether we're talking about finances, it's the same…you need to make CONSCIOUS decisions about your groceries:
Health: Don't put anything at arms length in your mouth without reading the nutrition label. 
Frugality: Don't toss anything within reach into your cart without looking at the price tag.
 Same idea here, kids!

I have mentioned to you all many times about how I grocery shop without coupons and still save nearly half on my groceries each month. Here is a perfect example of how I was able to make conscious decisions with health AND with finances…at the same time!

  • I spent 5-7 minutes before I left on Deals to Meals‘ site, quickly scanning through this week's deals at my local grocery stores, and adding the items I wanted to add to my grocery list for the week (don't worry, they flag the week's best deals in red for you).
  • I printed out my shopping list (through the feature on their website) and headed to my nearest Neighborhood Walmart (the Super Walmarts are harder to price-match at).
  • I spent about 1 hour shopping (granted, it takes me longer because I'm snapping pictures, and making tons of notes on my paper for posts like this…but I'm pretty seasoned at this point and you might be slower starting out, so I guess it all balances out in the end).
Here are some of the great deals on healthy food I found:
(look at the photo to see the regular price, and the price I got from using my price-matching method:)
 Yellow peaches and nectarines:
Green seedless grapes:
Zucchini:
Whole carrots:
White onions:
Red apples:
Cilantro:
Baby carrots:
Tillamook yogurt:
(I'm from Oregon, not too far from Tillamook. It's not only the best yogurt and cheese ever, but it holds a special place in my heart :))
Applejuice:
(Which we still water down at home)
Cottage cheese:
And remember, you can freeze this and use it in recipes. You can even substitute thawed cottage cheese for ricotta in recipes – it's much cheaper!
Mayo:
Milk:
Green chilies:
Tuna:
Lean pockets:
I normally try to avoid frozen “meals” because they are typically much more expensive than home-made. BUT…when I have days like THIS and need a quick meal that won't break my calorie bank, these are nice to have on-hand.
Along with good food deals, I scored some great clearance baby gear. I keep it on-hand in my “gift closet” for quick gifts for people.

Remember, it's about the VALUE of a gift, and not the PRICE of a gift. So these blankets will only cost you $4, but their VALUE is almost $9! The $3 onesies? Worth $7!
In this case you can take the money you save and put it toward debt, your slush fund, something else you need, or can use it toward even more gifts for that special person.

So there you go! Here's my haul for the night:

It was over $111 worth of groceries, for just $76.59! Well under my $125 grocery budget.

Moral of the story? You CAN buy healthy groceries on a budget. It just takes some conscious, calculated choices and a little effort. BUT…the best things in life take a little extra time sometimes, don't you think?
When it comes to organic food, that's a tough one; America hasn't quite figured out how to make organic food affordable for folks. Costco is offering more and more choices. But ultimately, you need to pick and choose. Have you heard of the dirty dozen? Maybe don't do EVERYTHING organic; just pick your top choices. Also, keep in mind that just because something is generic vs. store brand, it doesn't make it less healthy (as discussed HERE).
In terms of eating gluten-free? Ugh. Good luck. Once again, it's SUPER expensive. Just try to only buy gluten-free for those in your family who absolutely need it (rather than ALL of you switching over), and once again, Costco is offering more and more options which would be cheaper than the specialty stores. But ultimately, read the labels, do your research.

Good luck to you all!

Happy Monday!

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