Healthy food shopping! Can I get a hands up? Top ways you can eat organic, healthy and delicious food while not breaking the bank. The secret? You need to consider where you should prioritize.
Prioritize Your Healthy Food Budget
I would love it could shop at Whole Foods with reckless abandon. Exotic juices and kombucha, lucious fruits that call my name and super foods galore. It can be an Epcot Center (to quote Scott) of organic foods that seem to scream “eat me” from the shelves, aisles and what have you.
If you are going to eat healthy food in the real world then Whole Foods can only be an occasional stomping ground. You are going to have to make peace with the big commercial foods store. Even there it can be easy to drop a hefty chunk of change. Healthy food is important because it fuels us. However, I believe it can be possible to be mindful of your spending at the same time.
»»Where to Spend
This is where a lot of my spending will go at the food store. Although I tend to minimize cost by purchasing ground beef over any other kind since it is far less expensive. Steaks and such are really a special occasion food to enjoy here and there. I’ll save in other areas since I feel that quality grass-fed meat is important.
Poultry & Eggs
This is another larger expense. I will buy pasture-roaming or organic chicken and prefer chicken breasts. Of course this is the most expensive of all. If you don’t mind other things like thighs or wings then that can be a cost savings. I do not want to buy something I don’t like so I’ll allow a little extra here too.
Eggs are best as pasture-roaming as well. No doubt these can be pricey so I recommend substituting regular eggs if you are going to eat only eat the egg whites. It may sound a little strange, but if anything is going to contain a harmful substance it will be in the fat of the food.
There is some really troubling information out there about farmed fish. Fish can be an occasional food too. I pretty much only buy salmon and will buy it when it is on sale or if I make a special trip to Trader Joe’s where it is usually less expensive.
»»Where to Save
The general rule of thumb with dairy is to choose fat-free milk or yogurt if you are not buying an organic or Grass-fed variety. As we all know these items do add up so you have to look for small ways here and there. I totally get it.
Again, you are better off not eating animal fat if it isn’t grass-fed. I am not a fan of regular milk so I always buy almond milk. The only real purpose is to put it in protein shakes. So if I want to cut more I’ll just use water as a base.
Buying in season is a huge. You cannot be too attached to having one particular fruit such as berries or melon. Pre-cut fruit is also a bit of a money pit. I buy organic (where necessary), local and conventional where I can (bananas, oranges, and pineapple). Frozen is also a great way to cut cost depending on how you are using the fruit.
The same advice for fruit applies for vegetables. However, I have also found that buying smaller amounts is helpful. This is to prevent anything going bad before I can use it. Fresh vegetables often have a fairly short shelf life. I do like frozen vegetables at all. Personal choice! So I will buy a large package of spinach and that’s my “quick” to eat healthy food veggie when the need arises.
Bulk bins! That’s my advice of the day. When you do make that special trip to Whole Foods swing by the bulk area. You’ll find things like rice and quinoa there for the taking. Big savings rather than those tiny bags at the food store. Plus these types of items will last a while.
I am definitely guilty of buying a few pre-packaged snacks. Guilty in the sense that I know there could be cheaper alternatives if I made them myself. If you are buying items like snack or protein bars, hummus, rice cakes or nut butter look for a sale and stock up.
Nuts and such are also a great buy from bulk bins at a health food store.
The bigger the better! Buy larger quantities since they are usually less expensive. I will buy large cases of seltzer to save a little cash. However, I also switched to the store brand over the fancy bubbly. These habits add up! So if you want to save even more you may want to consider if you could be content drinking just regular water than the special stuff.
A little bit of a luxury we all enjoy, right? I save here by taking a little time to read reviews and even ask the store workers if they have a good recommendation. A lot of times you can find a good bottle for less than $10.
Cooking & Baking Items
Again, bulk is key. I buy my favorite coconut oil (affiliate link) on Amazon and it lasts for months. Online resources can be very helpful. Just watch out for high shipping costs!
I will usually also have olive oil on hand and it ends there. A lot of the exotic oils can get pretty pricey. I will price compare Trader Joe’s and sales when it comes to my baking items since they can add up in cost quickly.
These are ways I have found that work well for me to plan a healthy food budget that I can live with consistently. Small tweaks can have a big impact. Always evaluate and look for new ways to do it better.
How About You?
- Where do you save on healthy food?
- And, where do you splurge?