One of the biggest challenges I hear from people when they switch to eating a healthier diet is that it’s so much more expensive then what they normally buy. It can feel like a dramatic increase on your grocery bill, especially for those who aren’t just feeding themselves, but their families too. When you move to a more whole food diet that consists of good quality meat and lots of fresh produce it can feel more expensive. And whilst yes your grocery bill may go up a bit I always like to think of it as a long-term investment into your health. When you are healthier, your body functions better, you are less likely to get sick and you are happier person for it. To me it’s worth a bit of extra money you need to spend to get healthy. If money is one of those challenges you face there are some things you can do that will help save on your grocery costs.
1. Shop in season
Get to know what fruits and vegetables are in season. Then when you shop try to base your meals around those ingredients. You definitely don’t want to be buying fresh berries in the middle of winter, as you will be paying double. Remember there are lots of fruit and vegetables that can be frozen too. So if something is on special and in season, buy it in bulk and then freeze it for later use.
2. Reduce your meat intake
If you are a meat eater then this can make up a huge portion of your weekly food budget. By reducing your meat intake on meals you can reduce your costs. I’m not suggesting becoming a full vegetarian but you could try and start introducing a few meat free meals a week. A vegetarian diet relies on things like beans, eggs and soy, which is significantly cheaper than meat. There are so many amazing nutritious vegetarian dishes you can make that are so delicious. In all of my programs I offer both vegetarian and even vegan diet plants. Swap out some of the meat meals with some vegetarian meals and you won’t be spending so much money on meat for the week.
3. Prepare your weekly meal plan
Every week organise what meals you will be cooking and then what key ingredients you can use. Have a look at what’s in season and on special and create your meals around that. Take that shopping list to the supermarket and be strict with yourself to stick to it. Also don’t go in hungry as that is when we tend overspend and also make some unhealthy choices of foods we put in our grocery cart. If you don’t use up all the ingredients for one meal then see how you can turn them into other delicious healthy meals. Also don’t be afraid of eating leftovers. Make double the night before and then you have something for lunch or dinner the next day. Making it far less likely to purchase lunch at work or those takeaways when you aren’t in the mood for cooking.
4. Store your fresh produce properly and organize your fridge
It’s so easy to forget what is in the fridge and sometimes some of that amazing produce you buy ends up going off before you use it, simply because it’s stored in the back of the fridge and gets forgotten. Store the most perishable food towards the front so you know what ingredients you should be cooking with at the beginning of the week before it goes off. Find out the best ways to store your fresh vegetables, as there are plenty of tips and tricks for keeping those ingredients fresher for longer.
5. Move away from packets and pre-cut food
It can be very tempting to go for the quick and simple pre cut vegetables and fruit, but these often come at a much higher price tag. By the whole fresh vegetables and then pre cut them. If they are freezable items then buy them in bulk when on special, pre cut them yourself and then store in the freezer for later use. I particularly like to this in the summer with fruits like mangos and berries when they are a lot cheaper. Then I have lots of gorgeous summer fruits I can still have during the winter months when these fruits are double in price. As well things like legumes are a lot cheaper when you buy them uncooked instead of canned.
6. Look at other areas you can cut spending
If you are someone to eat out a few nights a week or go out for a few drinks, then this can significantly cut into your weekly budget. As well you generally don’t eat as healthy either. If you want to do a dinner with friends, then suggest a potluck dinner at home where everyone brings a dish. That way you can eat some delicious healthy home cooked meals and save significantly on costs over eating out at a restaurant.
7. Think of your long term health
Yes it can be hard to see your grocery bill go up but think of long term benefits you are giving yourself in your new healthy lifestyle. Eating cheap, pre-packed foods that contain all sorts of nasties can be attributed to health problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and the list goes on. This is why I say eating healthier is probably some of the best medical insurances you can give to yourself and your family in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed some of these cost saving tips. If anyone has anything they do to save money I would love to hear them in either the comments below or Facebook.