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How to Eat Healthy on a Tight Budget

With the economy the way it is, many people are tightening their budgets and trying to spend less. Although food is something we need to buy every day, eating healthy doesn't have to break the bank. While it's true that junk food can be less expensive than fruits, veggies, and other nutritious foods, it doesn't mean you should skip the produce aisle and go straight for the Nilla Wafers. Here are some tips when it comes to saving money while grocery shopping.

  • To get your protein, buy dried beans. While canned beans aren't that expensive, they're still pricier than bags of dried beans. All it takes is an extra hour or so to soak and cook the beans before they can be used. Aside from being less expensive than meat, beans are also a great source of fiber.
  • Buy the larger container of yogurt or cottage cheese. It's cheaper than buying the individual serving size containers. If you want, you can separate them once you get home, and store them in plastic containers in the fridge so they're ready to eat.
  • Buy rice, oatmeal, and other grains in bulk. Whole grains are full of fiber, so you won't have to eat much to feel satisfied and stay full. Buying in bulk is cheaper than buying individual packages.
  • Look for produce that's on sale instead of grabbing the fruits and veggies you love. Usually seasonal items are less expensive, meaning you don't need to buy fresh raspberries in the middle of Winter. It'll save you some dough and offer you different vitamins and minerals.

For other tips


  • Look for frozen veggies and fruits. They're often cheaper than fresh produce in the Winter.
  • Make your own nut butter. Buy almonds or peanuts in bulk and then use your food processor to grind them up.
  • Bring a calculator and add up what's in your cart as you go along. That way you won't be shocked when the cashier tells you what you owe.

If you have any other money-saving tips on how to eat healthy, share them in the comment section below.


brownsugamama brownsugamama 8 years
I am going to take a calculator from now on. I am always stunned when I leave Costco!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I do most of these already. I'm quite the money-saving shopper when it comes to food shopping. If you want to save even more money when you're buying produce, look for "reduced" produce, especially if you're going to chop up and cook the veggies and don't need them to look perfect. You have to eat the stuff pretty quickly though, otherwise it'll spoil. Also, buy your spices in bulk can buy only as much as you're going to use in your recipes and you don't have to worry about them getting stale over time in your cupboards.
cupcake_ cupcake_ 8 years
I used to buy the larger size yogurts..I don't know why I stopped..convenience I guess. Love the ideas though - I think I'd really benefit from bringing a calculator.
jlb88 jlb88 8 years
i have started buying large tubs of shurfine [generic] rolled oats, dried beans and non-brand name frozen veggies. canned beans really are a waste to my pocket. plus no weird chemicals in dried beans.
goatimpact goatimpact 8 years
You just grind up nuts to make nut butter? I never knew that but I'm definitely trying it this weekend.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Good tips. Personally, I identify with buying dried beans, whole grains, and buying seasonal produce (it's also what looks best anyways). Loveyoumeanit: About cooking dried beans, the instructions are on the package, or in the recipe you're using.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Awesome tips, Fit! We do most of these at home already, especially the frozen vegetables [we prepare a huge mix of them at the beginning of the week and have mixed veggies every night!]...except the dried beans and rice. None of us have the extra hour or two to soak and cook dried beans and rice! Instant brown rice is just as healthy and delicious, so are canned beans [we buy garbanzo beans, they're big and pretty filling, lots of fiber too]- and takes 1/4 of the time! I love buying produce on sale! I just got a bunch of oranges b/c they were $0.99/lb at Whole Foods! :D Quality and value go a long way.
ShedItandGetIt ShedItandGetIt 8 years
How do you cook beans that you buy dried? I am definitely interested in cutting out my canned beans habit.
jls6fq jls6fq 8 years
I have found that I spend less when I just buy produce for the next 2 days, and shop more often. This means less food goes to waste, because it isn't languishing in the fridge, waiting all week for me to cook it. Also, buying specialty ethnic ingredients, such as spices, is often cheaper at ethnic stores.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
These are great tips, and it's so true about buying grains in bulk. Some stores also have little handheld mini-scanners that you can use as you're shopping so that way you can see the subtotal as you go.
hannahc hannahc 8 years
I make my own peanut and almond butter, but I don't think it's cheaper. Well, maybe cheaper than the super expensive organic brands but that's all. We just like it way better than store bought, and no worries when salmonella breaks out!
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Hah, my mom used to always bring a calculator with her while grocery shopping so I thought that is what all grownups did! I always buy the larger container of yogurt; i hate thinking of the packaging waste from the individuals.
AMP AMP 8 years
ella1978 - i usually just google it. right now i know brussell sprouts are in.
AMP AMP 8 years
shop at trader joes :)
ella1978 ella1978 8 years
Great Ideas. Is there a great place to find out exaclty what is in season, when? I know that citrus, leeks, potatoes, onions, stuff like that are in season now, but I've never found a good place with a comprehensive list... anyone know of one?
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great tips. I'm pretty awesome at saving while food shopping. :)
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
love that idea about the calculator!
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