7 Ways to Shop Healthy on a Budget
- Possible Pat
- April 16, 2018
Eating healthy on a budget can be a challenge if you don’t know where to shop or how to get the most of your dollar.
I remember when I started to eat healthy I wasn’t sure how I was going to afford it because I was on a budget. There is this misperception out there that the healthiest people shop at Whole Foods where everything is just better.
Have you ever tried shopping at Whole Foods?
It is a great store but I remember going in there because I thought that was going to help me make better choices. When I checked out at the line, I was shocked at how much my groceries came to and I was questioning whether or not I would even be able to afford my healthier lifestyle. Afterall, we are told that eating healthy is expensive and my trip to Whole Foods only confirmed what I had been told for so many years.
Knowing what I know now, I know that everything I thought wasn’t accurate. Yes, Whole Foods is a great store that provides real, healthy options, but not everything they have is that healthy for you, nor is it the only option out there.
I didn’t realize it at first, but there are tons of options everywhere around me.
If you’ve been following me for awhile or saw me when I appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, then you know I lost a lot of my weight in the beginning by walking back and forth to Walmart.
I chose Walmart because it was the closest grocery store to my house and there was no way I could consistently shop at Whole Foods to eat healthy on a budget.
How to Shop Healthy on a Budget
Choosing the Right Store.
Besides Whole Foods, you can buy healthy food at every grocery store, and if you are really on a tight budget, there are some stores that are specifically designed to help you save money.
As you know, Walmart was my store of choice because of its location and low prices, but here are some additional stores across America that you may want to visit:
- > 99¢ Only Stores – These stores carry many kitchen staples and fresh produce at an incredible price. Some of my favorite items at these stores are the diced sweet potatoes, diced butternut squash, and fresh asparagus. I also love that they carry a variety of seasonings and fresh lettuce that I use in my ground turkey tacos for a healthy Taco Tuesday!
- > Sprouts – This is a great alternative to Whole Foods because they focus on high quality, fresh produce, but at a fraction of the cost of Whole Foods. You can also buy other must-haves here, such as meat, bread, butter, dairy, and a wide variety of items you would expect at any grocery store. This is where I now purchase much of the food I buy for my family. You really can’t beat the price for the quality you are getting. My favorite part of this store is the bulk section where I can buy a variety of grains, nuts, seasonings, and other kitchen staples in the quantity I need. I can buy the exact quantity of food for the meals I am making that week without worrying about waste. This place is like having a farmer’s market without the high prices and many of their products are made locally.
- > Costco/Sam’s Club – If you have a large family then shopping in bulk makes the most sense. At these stores you can get a lot of food for little money. All you have to do is pay a yearly membership cost, and trust me, this pays for itself. I love that I can go here and buy frozen protein and veggies in large quantities and store it in the freezer.
- > Aldi – We don’t have these in Arizona, but they are located on the East Coast (with a few locations on the west coast) and have a reputation for being one of the most affordable grocery chains around. Many of their items are priced even lower than Walmart. Here you will find fresh produce and a great selection of protein, all at a low cost.
- > Fareway – This midwest grocery chain provides great value and is typically cheaper than your typical grocery store, but still offers a great selection of items for you to stick to a healthy menu.
- > WinCo – This smaller chain can be mostly found in the Pacific Northwest. This store provides food for value and is often described as “Walmart’s worst nightmare” because they are often priced far below this competitive retailer. If you have one these in your area, be sure to check it out!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying your food frozen. Choosing to buy frozen food can help make it last longer and your pockets may thank you because it can save you some money. You can purchase many items frozen, such as your proteins, vegetables, and fruit. You can even buy frozen sweet potato. If you meal prep, this is a great way to shop because then you can easily meal prep twice a week and not have to worry about doing the shopping twice or wasting food throughout the week. All you need to do is the food you will be using from the freezer and leave the rest for later.
Before you do your shopping every week and before you begin to plan out your meals, check your local flyers to see what foods are on sale and who has the best deals. You can find these flyers online through sites such as Flipp. Use these flyers as your guide to building your meals. If this week ground turkey is on sale and cheaper than chicken, then have ground turkey.
Don’t Buy Organic
There are many reasons that people buy organic, and if you can afford to do this, then yes, this is a great option! But for many of us, there really is no need. If you are on a tight budget, don’t let others tell you that the only way to eat healthy and lose weight is buying organic. Organic food is expensive and will cost you more. Buying food that isn’t organic is better than buying processed food that will keep you at an unhealthy weight.
Consumer Loyalty Cards
Most grocery stores have consumer loyalty cards that provide their members with great savings. Typically these are free and will cut some of the cost of buying groceries.
Make a Grocery List
Before you go to the grocery store be sure to make a list of the items that you need. This will help you shop once you get to the store. Stick to your list and don’t stray from it. If you didn’t put it on your list then chances are you don’t really need it. Going to the store without a shopping list, or allowing ourselves to pick up a couple of extra “non-list” items is where many of us get into trouble and end up spending more than we budgeted for. This may take some practice and discipline, but your wallet will thank you if you just stick to your list.
Make Simple Meals
When you plan your meals for the week don’t over complicate things. Your meals don’t have t be extravagant to be healthy or even taste good. Often, the more simple your meals are, the healthier they are for you and the more weight you will lose. By simple, I mean using a limited amount of ingredients. You still want to include the appropriate amount of proteins, carbs, veggies, and fats in each of your meals, but you can still get a great tasting meal using basic seasonings and cooking technique. You don’t need to buy an additional 10 ingredients to make one great tasting meal.
What Shopping on a Budget Can do for Your Waistline
Shopping on a budget can be like an art form and once you have it down, you’ll find that eating healthy is pretty easy and even cheaper than consuming processed foods. Plus, you’ll find the weight starting to come off with a lot less effort. Losing weight will always take work and dedication, but it doesn’t have to be expensive, boring, or hard… Especially when it comes to buying food.
Because figuring out what to eat on a budget can take some practice figuring out what to buy and where to shop, I made sure that the food included in my Custom Meal Plans and in my free Approved Foods List can easily be found at one of these cheaper retailers so you can learn to shop on a budget while lose weight. No more trial and error, no more getting to the checkout line only to be shocked at your bill.
Once you learn how to shop on a budget you’ll never want to go back because suddenly you may feel like you can no longer afford not to eat healthy. Soon, that value menu won’t seem like such a value after all.
Leave a comment below to share any tips that you may have when it comes to eating healthy on a budget. We all have our tips and tricks and I would love to know what yours are!
Why Your Dollar Menu is Costing You Money Next Post »
How to Eat Healthy in an Unhealthy Family
About Possible Pat
Hi, I'm Pasquale Brocco and I've lost A LOT of weight. When I started my journey to lose weight, I weighed 605 pounds. After visiting the doctor, I realized I had to make a change. I started with a simple plan and within 60 days, I lost 100 lbs. So far, I've lost over 307 pounds. Now, I'm sharing a simple message with you, "Anything is possible." If you can put on the weight, you can lose the weight.