Buying healthy food is affordable despite the common belief. It just requires a little thought and simple strategies. Here are the How-To’s to budget grocery shopping.
1. Always go for bulk. Most boxed foods that you commonly buy can also be found in the bulk section of your grocery store. Bulk foods are often cheaper to purchase and the product is the same. Shopping at your nearest whole sale store like Costco can save you money in the long term, however ensure you are buying foods that have a long shelf life or can be frozen so you don’t lose money to food spoilage.
2. Canned goods are a must. Canned foods are cheap and convenient. They are always good to have on hand to make a meal in a pinch. Try to choose the low sodium options because canned food can be very high in sodium. Some canned foods that are good to have a store of are: beans, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, coconut milk, pumpkin, tuna. Visit Cans Get You Cooking for recipes that use canned foods.
3. Buy produce in season. A good way to determine which fruits and vegetables are in season is that they are on sale. Foods that are in season are cheaper because they don’t have to be shipped as far. They also tend to have more flavor and are higher in quality than foods that are not in season. Visit the Canadian Seasonal Produce Guides to find out what is in season.
4. Stick to the grocery list. Using a grocery list will help you stay on track and buy only what you need. It is also helpful to shop on a full stomach, shopping when you’re hungry may cause you to make more impulse purchases.
5. Frozen fruits and veggies are a good choice. Frozen fruit and vegetables are much cheaper than fresh when they are out of season. Frozen fruit that you typically enjoy in a smoothie or thawed in yogurt are more convenient frozen than their fresh alternative. Fruits & Veggies More Matters has some recipe ideas to use your frozen fruit and vegetables.
6. Rethink your protein choices. Protein choices don’t always have to come from the cooler section of the grocery store. Meats tend to be the most expensive portion of the grocery bill however they don’t have to be. Beans and chickpeas are an alternative protein source to any meat but are often significantly cheaper. Oh My Veggies has some great ideas for meatless protein dishes.
7. Go home cooked and avoid restaurant eating. Avoiding eating out can save you a lot of money. Restaurant meals can be 5 times more expensive than cooking from home. Restaurant foods also tend to be higher in fat and calories.
8. Avoid pre-prepared items. Pre-prepared items at the grocery store tend to be convenient options that are often more expensive than basic foods. They may also have preservatives and added fat, sugar and salt compared to a home cooked version. As a result, preparing as many meals as you can from scratch will give you the best bang for your buck.