In an ideal world, it would be fabulous to visit the aspirational organic supermarket and fill our carts with organic-only produce, artisanal nut butters, free-range cage-free eggs and sustainably sourced meats and fish.
For many of us, dropping an entire paycheck on the kinds of foods that fancy labels indicate is probably better for us is impractical. Additionally, there is a misconception that spending a lot of money is the only way to ensure a healthy, balanced plate meal after meal. This is not true.
Below, we tapped our resident nutritionist Danielle Omar for her top practical and time-saving tips for shopping for well-balanced, nourishing foods on a budget. Some of these tips do require a bit of prep work upfront, however if you’re looking to stretch your dollar it may well be worth it.
On a similar note, the Cal-EZ team agrees with something Danielle said in a recent interview regarding our approach to food as nourishment,
“Feeding ourselves is one of the most important personal responsibilities we have. Doing it in an intentional way can mean the difference between sickness and health – today and in the future.”
With that said, weekly meals full of nutrient-dense foods can be had with some preparation and creativity. Looking to get started? Try these seven strategies from Danielle today.
- Shop local & in-season: In season, local produce is less expensive than produce that’s traveled across the country to get to your grocery store. Eating with the seasons will save you money (and it tastes better, too!).
- Think outside the produce aisle: Just because a food is canned or boxed doesn’t automatically make it unhealthy if you take a little extra time to read labels. Inexpensive options include: whole beans, canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and veggies, oatmeal, rice and other grains, yogurt, salsa, etc. Canned fish like tuna and salmon can seem a little on the pricey side, but compared to fresh, they cost less and they’re super versatile.
- DIY, whenever possible: Having the grocery store clerk slice your onions, chop and bag your broccoli, clean and chop your Romaine lettuce or spinach is super convenient, but it’s going to cost you. Save yourself a ton of money by doing the chopping, dicing and slicing yourself!
- Buy whole and in bulk: Buy your veggies, greens, meat and poultry whole, by the pound. Buying a whole chicken can save you a ton of money and time in the kitchen.
- Use in-store coupons and compare the unit price: Check the unit price when comparing brands and packaging. Sometimes two smaller sized items are cheaper than one big one. Use in-store coupons to catch 2 for 1 deals!
- Supplement smart: If milk, cheese and yogurt are breaking the bank, consider a supplement to get your calcium, like Cal-EZ. It’s cheaper, has a longer shelf life and may even be better absorbed.
- Grow a garden: You’d be surprised how much money you can save in the summer growing your own food. From fresh herbs to tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and potatoes, you can feed yourself well from your very own backyard!
“Feeding ourselves is one of the most important personal responsibilities we have. Doing it in an intentional way can mean the difference between sickness and health – today and in the future.” – Danielle Omar, Cal-EZ nutritionist
Still sound overwhelming? Try picking one or two tips and incorporating them into your grocery shopping routine for a few weeks before adding the others in.
Have you used Danielle’s healthy eating on a budget tips? Let us know how it’s going in the comments below.