Healthy Eating on a Budget IS Possible!
Are you drawn to the convenience foods in the grocery aisles? The bright packaging and the quick preparation time makes them all seem so appealing. The problem is, those foods are high in fat, added sugar, and sodium. All things that lead to health problems and excess weight on our bodies. The good news is – healthy eating on a budget IS possible. Now that you’ve learned about meal planning you’re ready to plan your shopping trip.
Tips to make your trips to the store healthier, easier, and more economical:
- Have a healthy snack before shopping. When we are hungry, we tend to buy more to satisfy that hunger and those choices are not always healthy choices.
- Stick to your list. Using the list from the meal plan you developed will help you stay on budget and maintain those healthy choices. Avoid impulse purchases.
- Take advantage of store sales and coupons. Utilize the shopping apps for those stores you frequent which will alert you to sales.
- Check unit pricing. The largest container is not always the best buy.
- Buy in bulk WHEN it is the best buy. Make sure you will use it up before it spoils.
- A sale is not always a sale. Just because something is on sale does not mean it is a good buy if you are not sure you will use it.
- Shop the outer aisles of the store for healthier choices. Aisles in the center of the store tend to have mostly processed foods, which are not necessarily the healthiest. Shopping the perimeter of the store will give you the healthiest options.
- Shop alone if possible. Children and others can influence you to purchase more than you need.
- Become familiar with the stores you shop most frequently. Shop at different times of the day and days of the week to determine when they put things on sale and try to make that your shopping times.
- Meats which are reaching their sell-by date will still be good for tonight’s dinner or can be frozen for use next week and can be very economical.
- Shop when the store is not so busy. This will give you time to compare prices and really look for the bust buys.
- Read the nutrition fact labels. Learn what terms like low fat, fat free, sugar free, and whole grain or multi grain are actually telling you. Don’t be fooled by the pretty packaging and fancy wording on the front of the box or bag.
- Read the ingredient list. If it has a long list of ingredients with words you cannot pronounce it may not be the healthiest choice. The ingredients will help you find hidden sugar sources in the food and determine if it really is a whole grain product.
- Choose items that are packed in their own juices or water and with no added sugar or sodium.
- Organize your shopping list by department, such as dairy, meats, frozen, canned goods, fresh produce, etc.