Is there some trick to Healthy Grocery Shopping when you have a limited budget?
A lot of people love the idea of healthy foods and would grocery shop for healthier foods in a heartbeat if their budgets allowed it.
It is true that healthy or organic foods can cost considerably more than your regular grocery store food. It's a detterent to purchasing only organic food. Especially when you have a family to feed.
The one glimmer of hope is that healthier food options are becoming more affordable as they becomes more popular. But still, the prices aren't low enough for many people.
Here are a few ideas you can start with.
Take it Slow and Start With One Item At a Time: Going organic is one way to eat healthier and it doesn't mean all or nothing. Take small steps to slowly transform your grocery shopping to more organic foods. I also recommend downloading the EWG (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen list that shows you the produce that is most likely to be grown with the most pesticides, so you can either avoid those or purchase them organically. My mother first turned me on to this list as we buy a lot of produce together and are always looking out for the best deal.
The list includes items like apples, bell peppers, peaches, potatoes, blueberries, spinach, celery, strawberries and more. They also keep a list of produce that is least likely be grown with as much pesticide, so you may not have to rush into organic versions of those.
Buy Local and From Farmers Markets: There are many options for organic and healthier foods at farmer's markets but be wise Farmer's Markets doesn't always mean the produce will be dirt cheap. Check it out first. Also many local farmers sell to the public so find a listing and see what is near you. You can search Google for farmer's markets or use the Local Harvest website to find markets in your area.
Cut Out Expensive, Processed Foods: Oh you wouldn't believe how fast these can eat up your diet AND how awful they are for you! While processed foods may seem like a great deal because they save time and they appear to be inexpensive, they often don't provide a lot in the way of portion size or nutritional value and can really eat up a food budget if you tend to rely on them. Try your best to reduce the amount of processed foods you buy and eat more nutrient dense whole foods. It is good for the budget and good for your health.
Be Sure and Stock up When Things Go on Sale: This is an art form in and of itself. When you see things (especially your whole foods, organic foods, and staples) on sale in the store stock up then and there, take them home, and then can, dry or freeze them. This is nothing new and a money-saving concept that people have been using for years. The great thing is that you can apply this to organic foods as well. Invest in a food dehydrator, canning equipment and freezer-ready containers, so you can store organic foods for later eating.
Make it a Goal to Eat a Full Whole Foods Meal Each Week: This is an idea borrowed from TheDailyGreen.com and it is a good one. If you just try for one meal, you will be making a difference without a lot of cost. Plus, leftovers and extra ingredients can be stretched out to additional meals getting more organic for your buck.
Eat More Vegetarian Meals: I have a hard time with this one in my own home so I know how it is scary for some meat lovers. The few times I've tried it I've found my husband rummaging in the fridge later on looking for his meat fix. But I'm determined because eating more meatless meals gives you so much more money in the food budget. If you're not ready to go full on vegetarian, consider using smaller portions of meat in your meals. Things like stir fries use less meat overall and can stretch a small piece of meat you may have left over.
Pick your own: Don't be afraid of a little manual labor. Using you pick opportunities allows you save a lot of money and stock up for canning, drying and freezing. You can pick a variety of fruits and vegetables. You can look for you picks in your area by visiting PickYourOwn.org, but do confirm they are organic growers first. And pay attention to prices. U Pick doesn't always mean cheaper.
Ready to dive in and make Healthy Grocery Shopping doable with your budget I recommend the Grocery Budget Bootcamp. I recommend the Grocery Budget Bootcamp eCourse to help you spend less on whole and organic foods. Enrollment is only open 3x a year but you can get on the waiting list. Find out more…Grocery Budget Bootcamp
Every little bit helps and the better you get at picking the right foods, the more affordable it can be. And remember, the long term health benefits of eating more naturally will likely save you plenty in health costs in the long run.