Gluten-free, organic, Keto, low-carb. No matter how you choose to feed your family, eating healthy on a budget isn't always easy. But good news, Freebs, it IS possible! We'll show you how.
Freebs worldwide wonder how they can possibly afford to feed their family REAL, healthy food while maintaining a tight grocery budget. We hear you, Freebs, and we want to help! Whether you're wondering where to get cheap organic food or affordable gluten-free food, we've got your back.
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Today we're going to share some practical tips and tricks you can use to feed a family of any size, on any budget, healthier foods! Ready to learn how to eat healthy on a budget? This will be fun! Promise.
EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET? BUY IN-SEASON!
This may seem trivial, but buying produce in-season can add up big time! When you buy those fruits and veggies out of season, you end up paying the markup for shipping costs. So, it's worth it to study up! We've got a whole guide to buying seasonal produce on our Shelf Cooking blog.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Buy In-Season, Freeze for Later – Buy extra fruit and veggies when they're in-season, and chop, dice, and freeze some for later.
- Shop Your Farmer's Market – Buying direct from your local farmers is often cheaper than getting produce at the grocery store.
- Grow Your Own Herbs – Actually, grow your own veggies, too, if you have a green thumb. It will save you SO much money.
Knowing when to buy what will go a long way in cutting that grocery budget! And so will buying off-brands, which bring us to our next bit of advice.
Pro Tip: Want to know which foods freeze well? Check out our tips and tricks for freezing food at our sister site ShelfCooking.com!
BUY WHOLE & SKIP CONVENIENCE FOODS
We know, we know. Yes, buying whole foods requires more prep work, but the payoff is so worth it! If eating healthy on a budget is important to your family, cutting out convenience foods is one of the easiest ways to do it.
If you eat a lot of meat, buy a whole dang cow! Instead of buying boneless chicken breasts, buy an entire chicken. You'll get way more meals out of it, and the price per pound is so much lower.
And don't even get us started on those pre-chopped vegetables and fruits. The markup is a rip-off. Plain and simple. Take a few minutes to chop that produce yourself, and you will literally save hundreds of dollars each year.
SHOP FOR GENERIC & STORE BRANDS
Buying organic used to cost an arm and a leg because it meant buying name-brand. That's no longer the case! So many grocery stores offer their own line of healthy foods. Even budget-stores like Aldi, Food Lion, and King Sooper offer tons of options for just about any dietary need.
If you opt for the off-brands, you can easily slash your weekly grocery budget by 20% or more. And when you're buying pantry staples, there's really no need to spring for the pricier brands. Canned goods, sauces, condiments, and more are just as good no matter what's on the label.
Pro Tip: Buying generic isn't always cheaper, so read up to save even more money!
IF YOU'RE EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET, SHOP THESE STORES
We get SO many questions about what to buy at Costco, when to find the best deals, and what to buy where, so let's break it down really quick! If you're eating healthy on a budget, these stores are a great place to shop, and here are some of the best items to pick up while you're there.
WHAT TO BUY AT SPROUTS
Sprouts Farmer's Market is pretty much a healthy eater's dream! They carry all sorts of specialty items, and their prices are pretty reasonable. If you're shopping at Sprouts, be sure to go on Wednesdays! Their deals start and end on that day, meaning you can take advantage of BOTH sales cycles. Here area few items worth buying there:
- Organic Produce – In many cases, their organic produce costs the same as regular produce at other stores.
- Bulk Grains and Nuts – Don't sleep on their bulk bins near the produce section! You can buy rolled oats and nuts by the pound at crazy low prices. Like, even lower than Costco.
- Cash in on the Deals of the Month – Keep an eye on the Sprouts monthly deals because they are usually CRAZY good. When you see something you use a lot on sale, snag it! And download their app and check out the digital coupons because sometimes you can double up on the savings. No clipping required. It's all on your phone!
- Spices – If you're trying out a new recipe that calls for an obscure spice, head to Sprouts! You can buy spices by the teaspoon, so nothing goes to waste.
Pro Tip: Be wary of the meat deals. Some of the deals are awesome; others, not so much! Check out our guide to buying meat on the Shelf Cooking blog, and calculate the price per pound to gauge which deals are the best.
WHAT TO BUY AT COSTCO
Oh, Costco. How do we love you? Let us count the ways! If you've been around here for a while, then you probably know we're kind of obsessed with Costco, so we'll try to keep this brief. If you're looking for affordable organic food, Costco has some of the best buys. Here's what you should buy at Costco if you're eating healthy on a budget:
- Avocados – Buy them in bulk and freeze some for later! Yes, you can freeze avocados. We've got the deets on our Shelf Cooking blog.
- Milk & Dairy – Their milk and dairy deals are incredible, so go ahead and buy in bulk! We like to buy the big bags of cheese, portion it out into smaller bags, and freeze it. It saves us a TON! Their almond milk is a steal, too, so if you have lactose-intolerant family members, stock up here.
- Rotisserie Chicken – Chicken is the holy grail of healthy eating, and you won't find a better deal than their $5 rotisserie chickens! Shred them up and make that meat last.
- Deli Meat – Whether we're making sandwiches or snacks, it's always good to have deli meat on hand, but that stuff is expensive. Buying in bulk definitely pays off! Check out the organic turkey meat.
For more guidance on shopping Costco like a pro, be sure to read all about our grocery haul for a big family!
WHAT TO BUY AT WHOLE FOODS
Okay, we know Whole Foods gets a bad rap in the budget-friendly circles. Some people lovingly refer to them as “Whole Paycheck,” but hear us out! There are good deals to be had. Especially now that Amazon's taken over. Aside from their affordable gluten-free food, here's what to buy from Whole Foods:
- Chicken Broth – Their store brand organic broth costs less than the non-organic store brand at most other grocers!
- Store-Brand Frozen Veggies – Their 365 Everyday veggies are a pretty dang good deal. Buy the largest bag they offer to save even more. And for the love of all that's good, never buy the steamable bags. They're a HUGE waste of money.
- Coconut Oil – If you cook with coconut oil, buy it here! Their brand goes for almost $3 less than Safeway's.
- Beans – Head to the dry goods section and stock up on beans by the pound. Their prices are great, and it's SO much cheaper than buying canned beans.
And don't forget you can use your Amazon Prime account to score special deals at Whole Foods now! Show them your app at checkout so you can rack up the savings.
WHAT TO BUY AT TRADER JOE'S
Trader Joe's is famous for the super-low prices, and they carry a ton of healthy foods! If you're on the Whole30 diet, Trader Joe's might be your best bet. You'll just have to resist the temptation of those peanut butter cups. So good! Here's what to buy at Trader Joe's if you're eating healthy on a budget:
- Cauliflower Gnocchi – Their cauliflower gnocchi is ridiculously delicious. Find it in the frozen foods section. You can even use it to make our uh-mazing Olive Garden knockoff gnocchi soup recipe!
- Riced Cauliflower – And speaking of cauliflower, check out their riced version. We don't usually condone convenience buys, but their frozen bags of cauliflower rice are so affordable, it's worth it.
- Seltzer Water – If you're trying to up your water intake, don't sleep on Trader Joe's flavored seltzer water. It's way cheaper than the competition and super delicious, too. Try the cranberry and lime flavor!
- Frozen Fruit – Their frozen fruit is crazy cheap. Like cheaper than buying fresh, and so much easier! We stock up for smoothies, desserts, and more.
A lot of the nut butter at Trader Joe's is a great deal, too, so check those out if PB&J is your jam!
WHAT'S YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET?
As you can see, with a little planning, it's not that difficult to eat healthy on a budget. Read those labels and pay attention to the price per pound to find the best deals. And one last bit of advice: limit your grocery shopping to one trip per week. It's the best way to cut out impulse buys.
We hope these tips help your family save some money! What advice would you add to the mix? Share your best healthy eating tips in the comments below, and let us know how you save money.
Looking for more grocery shopping tips?
- Check out our Grocery Shopping 101 post. It's got tons of tips about setting a budget, sticking to it, and more.
- Find out how Jordan sticks to her grocery budget for a family of 10!
- Save up to half on your grocery bill with these tips and tricks.
Now go get those deals! You've got this!