One of the biggest complaints many people have about trying to eat healthier is the price tag attached to better quality foods. While your grocery bill may jump some, it is possible to eat well, eat healthy, and not have to fork up a fortune every time you go to the store.
• Ground beef: From spaghetti to meatloaf to taco salad, ground beef is very versatile and often one of the cheapest proteins you can find.
• Eggs: With around 6-7 grams of protein per egg, making dishes starring this ingredient as the protein can be very cost-effective. Recent studies have disproven the myth that eggs raise cholesterol. Using half whole eggs and half egg whites will lower the fat content if that’s something you need to be worried about. Frittatas, scrambles, and quiches are all delicious options you shouldn’t limit to breakfast!
• Tuna: While a little more spendy, keep an eye out for sales on canned tuna – or salmon! – at your local store. Fish is healthy, full of protein, and an easy way to save on dinner. Tuna patties are a great make-ahead lunch that reheats well.
• Lean steaks: You don’t always have to get a New York Strip when you cook steak. While lean cuts might not be as flavorful by themselves, paired with a tasty marinade and side dish, you can make any petite sirloin or top round steak taste great. Aside from that, keep in mind that your local grocery store will almost always have at least one beef cut on sale.
• Beans and lentils: Don’t underestimate these vegetarian sources of protein! Using beans and lentils to supplement your animal protein means using less meat in the recipe while still creating a hearty meal.
• Apples: Of course, the variety you choose will impact the price, but Gala and Braeburn are usually pretty affordable. Use these fiber-filled treats instead of dessert.
• Winter squash: Healthy for many reasons, squashes like butternut or acorn are very reasonably priced and will add interest to your recipe rotation.
• Bananas: 100 calories, chock-full of fiber and potassium, you can’t go wrong keeping these inexpensive fruits on hand.
• Cheaper greens: If you’re looking for green veggies on a budget, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and spinach are great options to look for. Many other leafy greens (like collard greens or mustard greens) can also be quite affordable.
Other Tips and Tricks
• Buy frozen: While fresh fruits and vegetables are nice, you can often save tons of money by buying them frozen. You aren’t losing any nutrition, but you are losing dollars off the bill.
• Buy canned: Tomatoes and pumpkin are two things you will save money buying canned. Watch out for added salt (or sugar), but buying either canned will not only save you time prepping but will save you dollars.
• Buy in bulk: If you have the fridge/freezer space, buying in bulk will often help you save money. Whatever you aren’t going to use right away, package and freeze for later use. Putting individual portions of snacks into baggies from the big “family size” bag stretches your dollar while also helping with portion control.
• Buy whole foods: One example is cheese: a block of cheese is almost always cheaper than buying it pre-shredded.
• Look for the generic option: Many large retail grocers have house brands comparable to popular brands, and the ingredient list is almost always identical. Why pay more for a logo? Filling your shopping cart using these strategies may help lower your grocery bill, at least some. But at the end of the day, remember that this is your health at stake here, and your health is ultimately worth investing in!