When it comes to eating real, whole food, the number one complaint or excuse I hear is the cost.
To that, I have two answers:
1. Where are you spending too much money elsewhere? Specialty coffee, alcohol... those things all add up quickly!
2. It can be affordable, if you are a smart shopper!
That's where I come in - I consider myself a very savvy shopper, especially with groceries. It all comes to down to a few simple tips to save money on real food.
1. Buy in Bulk or Buy Bulk-Adding Foods
You've heard it before, and I'll say it again. Buy your raw nuts, coconut oil, canned salmon or tuna, frozen fish, and other freezer or shelf-stable healthy foods in bulk. You'll save money and save yourself a trip to the store by always having healthy proteins and fat on hand. Or, consider investing in half a cow or pig from a local farm. You'll pay more upfront, but save in the long run on meat, which is often the most expensive part of the food bill.
On the other hand, buying bulk-adding foods adds substance to your meals without too much cost. Choosing veggies like cabbage, potatoes, and onions are simple ways to add more to meals without adding too much cost.
2. Buy Whole, Organic Chickens
This is one of the best tips I can offer - whole chickens provide a ton of value and nutrition, especially when they are organic! First, cook the whole chicken and use the meat for meals throughout the week. Then, save the bones and cook them in stock to make homemade bone broth - perfect for soups and stews and overflowing with nutrition! This method ensures that you don't waste an ounce of that chicken.
3. Choose Frozen Veggies
Frozen vegetables can be just a nutritious as fresh. They are often picked when they are ripe, then blanched, frozen, and packaged soon after. Compare this to fresh veggies, which sometimes travel thousands of miles to reach your doorstep. Frozen vegetables are easy to keep in the freezer and stock up on as well, and they cook up quickly, so there is no excuse not to have them at your meals
4. Shop Around
If you have access to a couple of grocery stores, don't be afraid to shop around! Each week, spend a few moments looking over the grocery ads for the week. What is on sale at certain stores in town? Make a list of the best sale prices, especially on the produce items, and fill up your carts accordingly! When I shop the sales, I can walk out of the store with two large bags (reusable of course!) of produce for about $20-$25.
If you don't have access to multiple stores, consider looking online for certain products. Thrive Market or One Stop Paleo Shop or even Amazon Pantry might have affordable options for your family.
Shop in season! Trying to buy produce when it isn't in season isn't cost effective or smart. Buy what is in season and on sale in the produce department each week. This will ensure you are eating a variety of veggies, and your body will more naturally absorb the nutrients from veggies that are in season compared to those that are shipped from across the country!
When you make your healthy a priority, you can definitely find room to make real food work for your budget. What are your favorite money savings tips?