Looking for ways to stretch your grocery budget while shrinking your waistline?
They are woeful words we often hear: Eating healthy is expensive! What happens if you’re on a tight budget and either can’t make it to the grocery store regularly or afford those high-cost organic or natural foods?
We took these questions to registered dietitian Megan Roosevelt, who helps folks shop for healthy – and affordable – foods.
Here are Roosevelt's seven tips to healthy and affordable eating:
- Pre-packaged and pre-washed produce is OK if it helps you avoid throwing away food.
“The purpose of the containers is they lock in freshness, so your greens are going to last longer so you’re not going to have food waste, which means you’re going to get 100 percent of the value of what you spend,” Roosevelt said.
- You don’t have to buy organic produce, especially when they’re fruits and veggies with a peel or rind that you don’t eat.
At the same time, if you do eat the skin, it’s a good idea to spend a little extra.
- Frozen produce is cheaper and still good for you.
Frozen veggies and fruit keep longer than the fresh stuff and when it’s flash frozen right after picking, it doesn’t lose its vitamins, Roosevelt said.
“So all the nutritional value is locked in so by the time you get it home and cook it, it can sometimes have more nutritional value than a fresh item,” she said.
- Buy from the bulk section.
When you buy in bulk, you’re paying for the food and not all the packaging and branding that you pay for when you purchase smaller-sized quantities.
- Call the grocery store and ask ahead for the “case price discount” on canned goods and grains. You’ll get more and spend less.
Case price discount is “the number of items per case that you have to buy to get a case price discount, which is generally about 10 percent anybody can benefit from that you don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant person.,” Roosevelt said.
- Shop for store labels or house brands.
- Get comfortable in your local market so you become a confident shopper.
“The more you’re at the same grocery store, the more you really get comfortable with the store and you also get to feel (comfortable) to ask questions to the grocers,” Roosevelt said.