Eating Healthy on A Budget

Let’s be honest, eating healthy on a budget can often be a challenge. From choosing organic produce to supplementing already healthy lifestyles with herbs and vitamins, the costs add up, don’t they?

Here are a few tips to keeping your body a temple without breaking the bank:

Shop Online for Herbs & Supplements
With sites like iherb.com, vitacost.com, vitaminshoppe.com and amazon.com, there are multiple options for saving on supplements. By using retailmenot.com for additional coupon codes, you can further save! If you’re an avid Amazon shopper, consider the Amazon Prime account that for $79/year allows you free shipping on all Prime-eligible purchases (which for me, have been 80% of the herbs and powders I’ve bought)!

Buy in Bulk
Whether it’s chia seeds or carrots, buy in bulk! Check out the bulk sections at the grocery store for grains, seeds, beans, and nuts, and consider buying produce, like apples, carrots or onions, in larger quantities (like 2-5 pound bags), which have lower costs per ounce and will save you money in the long run. This trick is particularly helpful for buying produce for juicing.

Know Your Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen
Check out the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen lists before buying organic produce. Buying organic is not always necessary! These lists break out which fruits and veggies are high and low in pesticides, so that you can spend smart when selecting which ones to buy organic.

Sign Up for Customer Loyalty Programs
I don’t know about you, but I tend to shop at the same grocery store every week. For me, it’s Kroger. Not only do I get in-store discounts because I signed up for their Kroger Plus rewards program, but I also receive personalized coupons in the mail that let me save on items I already buy, like baby carrots and organic leafy greens. Every month, I get a packet of coupons that include FREE items and big savings on groceries I buy regularly. It’s easy peasy to save where I already shop!

Avoid Prepackaged Items
In this day and age, we hardly have time to get to the grocery store, let alone prepare a meal, so it’s very alluring to buy premade meals and precut veggies; however, these alternatives often cost more than their need-a-little-preparation brethren. To save your cents and avoid feeling overwhelmed, think through your weekly meal plan prior to hitting up your local grocer. For instance, if you’re thinking of making a pasta dish or a rice dish, make enough pasta or brown rice to last you a few days. You can turn what was leftovers into a new dish, like a yummy soup later in the week simply by just adding it to some broth and chicken in the crock pot. (PS. Buying the broth already made is definitely the way to go! Unless you have time to simmer and stir for a few hours, get it in the carton!) Or, you can toss the extra rice or spaghetti noodles into a pan with fresh veggies, tofu, and beans (or leftover meat, for you omnivores) and you’ve got an easy stir fry!

Grow Your Own!
As we approach spring, it’s time to start thinking about your garden! I started getting itchy to get to work on mine last week when we were given a glimpse of sunshine and warmer temps in Atlanta. Even if your available gardening space (fire escape/balcony) makes a shoebox look spacious, you can still plant a few herbs or lettuces in bright-colored pots or planters for extra oomph. Not only is it good to your wallet, but it’s also good for YOU! Getting creative and exploring your green thumb while getting your hands dirty will give you a sense of both peace and accomplishment! For you newbies, try out a few novice-friendly crops, such as basil, mint and rosemary; these were my “gateway herbs” into lettuces and strawberries. Just do a little research, such as visiting www.urbanorganicgardener.com, and let your garden grow!

For some other tips, check out this list, too! Though some tips are duplicates, these quick and easy helpful hints will allow you to eat smart without spending a fortune.

How do you shop smart? Share your comments below!

Peace, love and homegrown veggies!