Often times, people feel they are unable to follow a healthy diet because they are under the impression that it is too costly. This is likely the result of popular culture promoting various trends like gluten free and vegan diets that may require specialty foods.
The truth is, gluten free diets only need to be followed by those with Celiac Disease or an intolerance, and even then, can easily be followed at low cost. If one chooses a vegan diet, the advantage is to eliminate the cost of meat, which is often the highest priced item in the shopping cart.
Most people who are stuck on cheaper processed foods for cost savings have not taken much time learning to meal plan. This is the single most important step in saving money on groceries.
First, forget about the dollar menu. While it’s cheap, it is filled with unhealthy foods that won’t satisfy you for long or provide leftovers. It is best to make meals that can provide lunches the next day or be frozen for another week.
Second, sit down with a calendar or meal chart and write down meals and snacks for the family for the next week. You may pick up sales adds to see which healthy items have specials before choosing dinner options. Once you have determined your grocery needs, make a list and stick to it! This will provide you with a week’s worth of food, preventing constant trips back to the store, which can result in impulse purchases and increased gas mileage.
Third, shop at discounted stores. Aldi© is a great place to save money on quality food. If you have not been there in several years, given it another try. You may be surprised with the amount of fresh produce, organic goods, and many foods that have a promise of no artificial ingredients. Most people say they save $50-$100 per cart for the week!.
Finally, make yourself aware of lower cost health foods. Dried beans are a great choice, and can be made in advance and frozen for multiple meals. Frozen veggies are just as healthy as fresh and cheaper when that vegetable is out of season. While we’re on the topic of produce, try visiting a local farmer’s market for the freshest options (many times, picked that morning) at the lowest prices. Any time a food does not have to be flown in from a distant continent, it is cheaper and retains more nutritional value.