You may feel that eating healthy is more expensive, but it can be done economically with careful planning and preparation. It is far cheaper in the long run to make the effort now to take care of your health, rather than having to pay more medical bills and miss time from work and fun in the future.
- Bring a list and stick to it!
- Make a menu plan for the week and consult the store flyers and coupon offers to see what is on sale that week so you can incorporate it into your plan.
- Don`t make the grocery store a restaurant — beware of the “sample ladies”- just say no!
- Navigate the outer aisles of the store first and avoid the aisles that aren`t on your list. Most ‘real food’ is on the outer perimeter of the grocery store.
- Never, ever, eat in the store or in the car! Bring snack foods with you in case you are tempted.
- Make sure to have a variety of foods. Don’t get into a rut. Use spices and herbs to change flavors. Watch labels for hidden sugars and fats.
- Never go to the store hungry. An empty belly often results in impulse purchases that may not be the healthiest. Eat before you shop.
- Skip the specials. It`s not a deal if it`s not on the list. Conversely, stock up on staples like chicken breast that can be frozen or stored in the pantry and won`t tempt you to overindulge.
- Cut the junk food. Evaluate how much money you are spending on soda (diet and regular), chips, candy, cookies, crackers, processed foods, prepackaged meals etc.… Your body and your wallet will be healthier.
- Buy real food and the least prepared foods to save money. Processed and packaged foods are much higher in cost and frequently lower in nutritional value than those that you prepare yourself. Buy bulk sizes of items that you use often and that have a longer shelf life. Here are some examples of ways you can save money:
- Buy whole broccoli stalks rather than pre-cut broccoli florets to save money and increase vitamin content. That goes for most vegetables and lettuces. Cut your own.
- Marinate chicken breasts with your own healthy homemade marinades rather than buying pre-packed marinated chicken, which is more expensive and usually has added salt and sugar.
- Make your own healthy salad dressings with your favorite herbs, vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Steer clear of store bought dressings, which often contain added salt, sugar and damaged fats.
- Buy fresh vegetables or plain frozen vegetables rather than the vegetable medleys with sauces.
- Buy brown rice, whole grains and legumes in bulk bins or large sizes and store in sealed containers. That goes for nuts and seeds, as well.
- Buy the 36-count eggs. And, you can get egg whites in bulk, as well.
Grocery shopping does not have to be a dreadful experience once you figure out the best way to get the job done, it becomes just what you do; a no-brainer. The first few times at the store can take a long time, as you are reading the labels for hidden sugars and fats, but once you find the brands that work for your health goals, it goes much faster and is much more efficient.