One of the biggest barriers to living a healthy lifestyle is budget. Between groceries, gym memberships, equipment and technical gear, it’s expensive to be on top of your health and fitness game. Grocery stores are like Target: the majority of the time, you can’t go into one without walking out with a wallet that’s $200 lighter, no matter what you buy! The cost of food adds up really quickly, and the worst part is that it is so easy to overbuy resulting in wasted food that has to be thrown away. Rather than throwing in the towel and hitting the frozen food aisle, use the following tips to grocery shop while respecting your budget.
- Select a grocery store that accommodates your cost of living. If you’re pinching pennies, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you Whole Foods is not the place for you. Spoiler alert: it’s expensive as sh*t. Don’t worry! Many grocery stores today offer a great selection of whole and organic foods or locally sourced produce and meats. Do a little research and shop around – no pun intended.
- Get your priorities straight. Decide what is important to you to spend grocery money on. If you’d rather have high-quality meals and fish, be prepared to look for deals on household items or your side dishes. For me, I spend the bulk of my grocery money on proteins and veggies. I’d rather have a generic spice rack than skimp on the quality of chicken or eggs!
- Prepare an organized weekly meal plan. Prepare your meals for the week and break down the ingredients that you need. I try to create my meals to maximize my ingredients. I may have a few meals throughout the week that incorporate chicken, but that’s doesn’t mean it has to be repetitive and boring. Switch up the sides and spices on a few cornerstone ingredients.
- Prepare an organized shopping list. Categorize your list by store department. For instance, my list is usually divided into produce, protein, grains/carbohydrates and household items. You’ve probably heard to shop around the perimeter of the store to avoid processed items and this tactic lends itself nicely to this shopping list tip. Also, it limits the amount of time you spend aimlessly walking down every aisle battling temptation of things you don’t really need.
- Buy what you can carry. I have a tendency to overbuy and end up throwing food away because I can’t eat it fast enough. I only purchase what I can carry, which helps me to buy only what I need. I also don’t have a car, so it’s really easy to do.
Image via Whole Foods