You can eat healthy within your budget…no more excuses!

Quite a few  people have been asking me if my grocery bill has gone up since I’ve started eating a vegetarian diet.  It did at first because I was stocking up on supplies for my pantry, but now that I’m buying regular weekly foods it really isn’t much different.  There is a wealth of information on the web with tips on how to eat healthy within your budget.  I’ve read so many of them, but below are my top ten tips for you:

1.  Buy whole foods.  They are usually cheaper than the boxed, processed varieties and give you more control over the ingredients.  Try to avoid anything that comes in a box at least 80% of the time.

2.  If you are a meat eater buy proteins that are on sale.  Take advantage of the BOGO sales at your grocer and freeze what you aren’t going to eat that week.  Make sure you are stocking up on lean proteins.  Save the steaks and salmon for special treats.

3.  Buy generic and store brands.  Raw items such as rice, pasta, dairy, frozen fruits and veggies taste the same as the brands once you get over the stigma of generics.  Trust me it’s all in your head.

4.  BULK UP!  Buy in bulk where you can and where it makes sense.  Just make sure you can consume what you buy before any expiration dates.

5.  Buy it when it’s in season, not only does it taste better, it’s cheaper and it’s good for the environment.  If you are buying locally and in season then your food isn’t consuming our energy for transportation to your door!

6.  Drink tap water – forget about those convenience bottles.  If you don’t like the taste… buy a filter for your faucet or a filtered pitcher.  Again, you are saving money and the environment.

7.  Plan ahead.  Make a list, cut coupons and use your customer card.  If you plan your meals and only buy what you need then you will avoid impulse buying. 

8.  Eat before you go shopping.  Never, never, never shop on an empty stomach.  Enough said!

9.  Prepare your own meals.  Dining out is a luxury and should be saved for special treats.  Not only is dining out hard on your wallet, it can be very hard on your waistline and most often you have no idea what’s going into  your food.

10.  Plant a garden and start growing your own food.  Even a small herb garden will save you big $ if you don’t have to buy packaged herbs at the grocer.  If you can’t plant a garden then find a CSA (community supported agriculture) program in your area.  You pay a fixed fee for the season and get fresh fruits, veggies and herbs all summer and fall.  A typical CSA costs $25/week for a family of 4.  How much do you spend each week on produce at the store?

Hopefully this gives you some ideas for getting into a healthy eating and buying routine.  What tips do you have for all of us to save some money on our food bills.  I’d love to read them!

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6 Comments

  1. Tammy McLeod said,

    May 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Great list. I think those are all great suggestions. Although I don’t eat meat, my family does and I’m often surprised by the cost that it adds to our food bill. If I could get them to be vegan, we’d save quite a bit. (hmmm that’s an argument that I haven’t used to convince them)

    • May 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Tammy and the great observation. We now split the grocery trip into my vegan food and the rest of the household’s food and my bill is always much less expensive.

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  3. Jen said,

    May 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    great list!!

  4. May 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Black, Carrie Labowitz. Carrie Labowitz said: You can eat healthy within your budget…no more excuses!: http://wp.me/pRvRU-1S […]

  5. Vicki said,

    June 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I totally agree with you. I buy things on sale at the grocery store and use coupons. Every bit helps! I’ve also noticed that locally-grown produce tastes SO much better. it tastes like a fruit or vegetable!


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