Feeding you and your family well is an investment, and a good one! There is no doubt that it's more expensive than eating packaged convenient foods and conventionally grown produce, but it doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some tips I have acquired over the years to eat healthy on a budget!
1.) Meal plan
Showing up to the grocery store without a plan is typically not a good idea. Meal planning not only takes the stress out of eating, but it always you to be efficient with your grocery purchases by meal planning with a theme in mind. For example, if you purchase a bundle of fresh cilantro for tacos one night, the remaining herb will likely go un-used. But if you plan tacos one night and another dish the next that also calls for cilantro, you are minimizing waist and getting the most bang for your buck.
2.) Shop from the " Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen" list
The "Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen" list is a list compiled and updated every year outlining the fruits and vegetables that have the most and the least amount of pesticide residue after harvesting. This gives you a great consumer advantage and tells you what foods you should invest the extra money in to buy organic and which foods you can save on and buy conventionally grown. You can find the updated list HERE
3.) Buy dry ingredients in Bulk at Costco, and don't neglect your bargain stores!
Costco is coming up on their organic/ whole food game and has been for a while. They have such an amazing variety of organic and even gluten free foods, both fresh and dry, and they are always way more affordable than buying in smaller portions at the grocery store. I make two trips to Costco every month for everything from blanched almond flour for baking, raw coconut sugar for a natural sweetener, and big packs of Kerry Gold butter.
Secondly, check out your local bargain stores! I know the quality and variety will vary depending on your location, but in Vacaville where I am from, Grocery Outlet and Big Lots have been a great way for me to save money on organic grocery items! I was so shocked to find so many items that I buy at my normal grocery spots at these bargain stops for half the price! On an average week I find organic frozen fruit for smoothies, sun-dried dried fruit, gluten free baking flours, quality protein and snack bars, and more!
4.) Stock up when sales come!
Guys, when I see something on sale that's a family favorite or that I buy regularly, I will buy the place out. This is especially easy with dry foods, but anything that can be thrown in the freezer is great too! Just the other day I found a great deal on the Wild Planet sardines my daughter loves and I literally bought 25 of them! This will last her for months and I won't regret buying them! So much money saved and it feels good to have a stocked pantry!