Save Money on Groceries and Still Serve Healthy Foods

You can save money and still buy healthy foods.
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Grocery shopping can be quite a chore and can also big a big dent in your monthly budget. But, with a few tips and a little planning, you can save money at the grocery store without giving up healthy foods that you enjoy. 

The key is to keep a kitchen inventory and plan your meals based on the foods that you enjoy, the foods that are in season and those that are on sale. Stock up on bulk, canned and frozen foods when they're available at a reasonable price, and buy only enough perishables to last until the next shopping trip.

Keep a Kitchen Inventory and Plan Meals Before You Shop

Take a look in your kitchen cabinets to see what you've got on hand. Make a list of everything you find, either on a sheet of paper or digitally (notes apps on smartphones work perfectly for this so you don't have to worry about leaving your list at home).

Make a full meal plan for the week, or at least, think about some of the foods you plan on preparing, or what you like to have on hand.

Take a look at the ads for your local grocery store, or look at their website, to see what's on sale. Mix and match your meals so you can make the most of the least expensive items. 

When you plan your meals, choose several recipes that use the same perishable ingredients. For example, if chicken breasts are on sale, plan on roasted chicken breasts one night and chicken caesar wraps later in the week. Or prepare a spinach salad one night and sauteed spinach the next.

Don't Forget to Plan for Leftovers

Stretch your dollars by planning meals for your leftovers. For example, maybe roast beef is on sale, and you don't want three nights of it. Go ahead and prepare some homemade frozen meals that you can store in the freezer. Freeze your foods in microwave-safe containers, or make foil pouches that can be popped into the oven.

It takes some time, but planning your meals can save you money and make your shopping trip easier. Here are plenty of tips to get you started:

  • Buy a water filter pitcher instead of expensive individual bottles of water.
  • Buy bulk items when they are on sale. Same with canned goods, frozen vegetables, fish, and seafood.
  • Buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself.
  • When meats are on sale, you can buy larger quantities and freeze individual pieces in the freezer. 
  • Use freezer paper or freezer bags so you don't end up with freezer burn.
  • Look for coupons online and in newspapers and magazines.
  • Use dry beans as a protein source because they are much cheaper than meats (think black beans in your burritos instead of beef).
  • Fresh produce is often a good buy, especially when in season, but choose carefully and don't buy more than what you'll be able to consume within few days, so you don't waste any due to spoilage.
  • Look for different ways to prepare your foods so your meals don't get dull. Potatoes can be baked or boiled one night, and maybe roasted or mashed the next night.
  • Keep your salads interesting by changing up vegetables and toppings.
  • Skip the convenience foods because they're expensive an often not all that healthy.
  • Choose cheaper, leaner cuts of beef. You'll reduce saturated fat and save money. 
  • The cheaper cuts of beef need to be cooked at lower temperatures and longer periods of time, so they're good for soups and stews.
  • Make your own snacks with mixed nuts, dry cereals, raisins and other ingredients. 
  • Divide the snacks into individual portions and keep them in bags to control calorie intake.
  • Explore Once a Month Cooking. With this method, you prepare a month's worth of meals in one weekend. Perfect if you have a larger freezer.
  • You can also go to meal preparation stores that offer high-quality ingredients at a reasonable cost.

A Word From Verywell

Careful planning and a good shopping list can help you save money and get a cartful of healthy groceries. And that's important because it's so much easier to follow a healthy diet when you stock your kitchen with nutritious foods.

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