Budget Shopping for a Healthful Lifestyle

It really is possible to save money while you shop, yet also purchase healthful foods that are good for you and your family. Here’s how…

Bread

  • HEALTH: Always buy 100% whole grain bread.
  • BANK: When bread goes on sale, stock up and freeze the rest for later.

Canned Goods

  • HEALTH: Try to choose items that nave little to no added salt, or at least reduced sodium.
  • BANK: Store brands, when they’re on sale, are the best value. Stock up when you see them.

Cereal

  • HEALTH: Oatmeal is one of the healthiest choices because it is a whole grain and has no added salt, fat, or sugar. The same is true for shredded wheat.
  • BANK: Stock up when items are on sale. You can generally get items more cheaply when you buy in bulk.

Pasta

  • HEALTH: Rice is a very inexpensive option that is also low in calorie density. Of course brown rice is best (being a whole grain and all) but white is not such a bad option, especially if that’s the only kind of rice your family will eat.
  • BANK: Look for sales on store brands and stock up when prices are good.

Produce

  • HEALTH: MyPlate calls for most people to eat about 4.5 cups of fruits and veggies each day.
  • BANK: Farmer’s markets and local stands often have the best prices on fresh, seasonal produce.
  • BANK: Watch local papers for grocery stores to offer sales on produce. When that happens, you can really get some great deals.
  • BANK: Choose fresh foods when they’re in season. This will offer the best value, and it’s fun to have a change of pace.
  • BANK: Don’t buy too much produce. It’s tough to use everything before it spoils. If you end up with more produce than you can eat, cook and freeze some soups to use up the extra.

Protein

  • HEALTH: Choose lean, cook lean and use portion control.
  • BANK: One word helps here – sale!
  • BANK: Use smaller quantities of meat.
  • BANK, HEALTH: Of course the cheapest protein item is also the healthiest and highest in fiber – beans.
  • BANK, HEALTH: If you don’t have a lot of time, cook lentils.
  • BANK, HEALTH: If you do have some time, consider cooking and freezing larger batches of dried beans.

Beware of these pitfalls

  • Expensive items include soda, chips, cereals, cookies, crackers, and convenience meals. These are also calorie dense.Try to limit these treats to just one per week – you don’t need to fill the cart with them.
  • Shopping without a list is dangerous because you might neglect some items that you need to prepare a healthful meal, while splurging on others that aren’t good for your budget or your health.
  • Shopping when hungry is also dangerous — it leads to way more impulse purchases, and they’re often not the healthful kind.

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updated on 10-29-2020