There’s one thing scarier than monsters under the bed... our grocery bill. Try to feed a family healthy meals in today’s economy and you’ll have those monsters running for the hills.
But we’ve discovered the secret to healthy eating on a budget. With these 7 tips, you’ll be the smartest, savviest grocery shopper on the block!
Healthy Eating Myths
Before we dive into our healthy eating tips, there’s a few rumors we need to squash. They’ve led too many families astray on their quest to healthy eating.
1) Eating Healthy is Expensive
With one walk through a grocery store, you can see why this myth is easy to fall for. But alas, it’s not true! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. And soon, you’ll know why.
2) Only the Best-of-the-Best
There are MANY labels out there – organic, non-GMO, pasture-raised, grass-fed – we could go on and on.
But with so many labels, it can get confusing. . . and EXPENSIVE! But healthy eating isn’t all-or-nothing. Baby steps in the right direction go a long way towards your family’s health.
3) Always Buy Organic
Speaking of healthy labels, “ORGANIC” is the most common. It also comes with a heavier price tag than its conventional friends. But, here’s a little secret: not all food **must** to be organic. We’ll dive into what foods you should absolutely buy organic, and which ones are totally A-okay to buy conventional.
4) Only Shop at Pricey Grocery Stores
You don’t need to swing by Whole Foods to prepare a nutritious meal. Healthy ingredients from your local grocery store will do the trick.
7 Tips to Healthy Eating
1) Follow the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15
The Environmental Working Group (a non-profit that focuses on living a healthy life) publishes a yearly guide to buying organic produce. It’s called the “Dirty Dozen & Clean 15.”
- Foods with the most pesticides
- Always buy organic
- Foods with the least pesticides
- Okay to buy conventional
Follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to spend where it matters most while saving on the rest.
2) Plan Meals with Like Ingredients
We’ve all heard that meal planning is key to healthy eating. But meal planning the right way – with similar ingredients & cheaper cuts of meat – is how you stretch that dollar.
For example, does your recipe call for celery? Rather than using 2 celery sticks and allowing the rest wilt in your fridge, include another meal in the week that also uses celery.
This way you’re limiting the ingredients you buy and reducing food waste. Now that’s a happy wallet and a happy planet!
Also consider recipes that use cheaper cuts of meat such as:
- Whole chicken (& quarter it yourself!)
- Ground beef
- Flat Steak such as Flank & Skirt Steak
3) Buy Frozen or Canned
Fresh produce may seem like the better option, but often, frozen or canned are a happy alternative. For one, frozen and canned produce lasts longer. But they also cost less than buying fresh; especially if you constantly toss out moldy produce.
4) Always Shop with a List
There are 2 rules to grocery shopping:
- Never shop hungry
- Never shop without a list
Rules we’ve definitely learned the hard way!
It’s best to set time aside in advance to plan your meals and write your list – like a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee. Plus, if you order groceries online, you can knock it out all at once.
5) Try Meatless Mondays
Meat can get expensive when you’re feeding a family. So once a week, prepare a delicious vegetarian meal your kiddos will love. Here are a few ideas:
- Vegetarian Lasagna
- Spinach Pasta
- Special Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes
- Vegetable Stir Fry
- Eggplant Parmesan
6) Cook From Home
Take-out should be a bill all on its own! (And one we forget to budget for. . .) But rather than spending $60 on a last-minute pizza run, put your dollar to better use with a home cooked meal. Not only is cooking from home more affordable, but you control what goes in your food. This means healthier ingredients to fuel your kiddo’s growing bodies.
7) Grow Your Own Produce
Starting a garden may seem daunting, but there’s plenty of produce you can grow right in your backyard. For example:
- Herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme)
- Bell peppers
Hooray for Healthy (Budget-Friendly) Eating!
Feeding our kiddo’s nutritious, kid-friendly meals is already a challenge. Worrying about a pricey grocery bill shouldn’t top it!
That’s why this fall, we’re saying hip hip hooray for healthy, budget-friendly eating. Just follow the 7 Tips to Healthy Eating For Less and you’ll be the smartest, savviest super parent on the block!