Are you looking for some ways to help yourself and your family eat more healthily without breaking the bank? While healthy foods can sometimes be expensive, there are some ways you can have a great diet on a small budget. The following are some things you can do:
Avoid Convenience Foods
One of the first ways to save money on your grocery budget is to stay away from the convenience foods. Not only are these items more expensive, but they are also full of preservatives, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients. If your family likes a boxed version of scalloped potatoes, why not just buy a bag of fresh potatoes, some cream, and butter to make your own? You can find a multitude of recipes online for just about any convenience food you will find in the grocery store. Making your own versions of convenience foods are much healthier because you know what is in them, and it is much more economical as well.
Stick to Your Grocery List
Another way many families go over on the grocery budget is through straying from the grocery list. If you do not follow your list exactly, it is much more likely you are going to exceed the amount of money you have allotted for groceries on that shopping day. Check your list before you leave home to make sure you know exactly what you need. Try to avoid wandering around the store, as this can result in more things in your cart than what you had intended.
Menu Plan and Cook from Scratch
To get the most out of your grocery budget, make a menu plan for each week with meals that you can make from scratch. Menu planning is a great way to save money because you will not feel the need to run to the store at the last minute to grab something easy. You will also avoid going through the drive-thru lane to get something unhealthy and expensive.
When you are making your meal plan, include as many meals cooked from scratch as you can. This way, you can keep staple ingredients on hand to create almost any meal. Things like brown rice and pasta are great items to have on hand to make a quick pasta bake or casserole. Canned tomatoes and beans are ideal for chili and soups. Keep a list of recipes that your family enjoys and add them into your regular meal rotation. This way, you won’t waste any of your ingredients and can save trips to the grocery store.
Look for Closeouts and Sales
When you are grocery shopping, keep an eye out for closeouts and sales on items you would normally purchase. Closeouts are items that the store intends to discontinue and marks down to a very low price. You can find some great deals on items that you would not normally spend the money on. You may find some great prices on organic items, for instance, which are healthier than traditional versions.
Sales are crucial to a reasonable grocery budget. Grocery stores rotate their sale items regularly. Pay attention to the sale flyer at your store to see how often items you normally purchase go on sale. Schedule your grocery trips around these sales so that you can get the best deal on your healthy grocery staples.
Shop Early for Produce and Meat Markdowns
If you are looking for some great deals on meat and produce, hit the store early in the morning. This is the time when the produce and meat departments are marking down different items to move them quickly. This includes items that are nearing their expiration date. Keep in mind that you will not be buying old items. These markdowns are great to purchase if you intend to use them right away. You also can freeze them if you have space in the freezer. Shopping early can help you get some really great deals on lean meats, fruit, and vegetables to add to your healthy eating plan.