I hear it time and time again: "Eating healthy is SO expensive." The truth is, it can be but it doesn't have to be! You would be surprised how much money you can actually save by eating real, whole foods (and your body will greatly thank you at the same time). There are a few tricks of the trade I am willing to share with you all so that together, we can all eat nutritious and delicious meals without breaking the bank.
1. Stick to your meal plan. Ideally we are making weekly meal plans that coincide with our individual lifestyles. From these meal plans come our ever so detailed and organized shopping lists. Make you sure note not only what items you need to buy but also how many of each item. To really save big here, purchase only those items on your grocery list. That is all you came for. You should have an exact amount of every ingredient you need. If you only need a ½ cup of cashews-only purchase ½ cup cashews. Steer clear of the “just in case” splurges. 2 cups of cashews is a lot more expensive compared to the small amount you actually need.
2. Shop Seasonally. Seasonal produce is much more affordable compared to out of season stock so shop according to the weather changes. There are tons of recipes out there featuring all seasonal produce so I promise-you will not get bored eating the same foods! Seasonal produce is also easier to get locally and supporting our local farmers is one of the best things we can do! Check out any farmer’s market to buy local and get the best quality of produce while you are at it!
3. Get a variety of protein. Animal protein is not the only source of protein so open your nutritional horizons and play around with those plant based sources as well. Meat and dairy make a hefty dent in the wallet (especially if you are going the organic, grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free and ethically raised route-which is ideal). And guess what? We just don’t need animal protein with every meal. Protein is very important but we don’t need the massive amounts we are led to believe we need. Opt for a variety of quality sources and that includes everything I listed in the following chart.
*Please note that some of the plant based sources (like hemp hearts or spirulina powder) can seem like a more expensive purchase initially. Keep in mind that we need very little of these sources to provide us with a quality amount of protein. In turn, these items can last us for months at a time and all for the same price of your animal protein that would last you for only a week-if that). .
4. Use the same produce all week. When you plan your meals for the week pick a couple of fruits for your snacks, smoothies, or to compliment some meals and stick to those choices for the whole week. The same goes for vegetables. Pick 5 different vegetables you want to use for the week and find you’re few recipes that use those same veggies. For example snack on apples and bananas one week then go for berries and oranges the following week. Use eggplant, tomatoes, leeks, asparagus, and spinach in your recipes for one week and then change them up the following week. This avoids purchasing one of everything which can add up quickly (and get overwhelming once you are in the kitchen).
5. Compare prices. If you tend to hit up a few different supermarkets make sure to look at the prices for those staple items of yours. A few dollars can go a long way! For example, at Superstore (where things are usually cheaper) a bag of Bob Red Mill’s almond meal is $15.99 where it is only $10.99 at Co-op.
6. Keep your kitchen organized. So as long as your fridge, pantry, and cupboards are clean and organized you avoid the risk of buying items that you already have in stock. Make everything visible and label your items if that helps you. A lot of money goes to waste due to disorganization (trust me on this one)!
7. Buy in bulk. If you have certain staple items that you use all the time try finding them in bulk. We buy a lot from Costco if we know we can use it up in time. We are spinach lovers so I like buying my spinach in bulk from Costco. We also do this with some fruit (including frozen), oils, nut butters, some flours, coconut palm sugar, etc. Buying in bulk is generally cheaper but not when we are wasting. Only buy what you know you will use.
*You can even go dutch here. If you know of a friend or family that uses the same products as you, see if they would be willing to split those bulk purchases with you.
What are your favourite ways to save money when it comes to eating right? How do you and your family stay on track and within the budget?