Let’s call a spade a spade. Being healthy is fucking expensive! Food, athleisure, boutique fitness (hashtag, worth it, hashtag Barry’s) adds up real quick and I could go on. While the clothes and the studio drop-in rates are sunk costs it IS possible to eat healthy without breaking the bank.
My husband talks about this thing called a budget – which I think is pronounced budg-zhay – but I’m not sure…it could also be the place he stores his first communion money…that’s not right is it?
With a bit of strategy, you’ll shop smarter AND waste less food, a real win-win.
To start, the cardinal rules of grocery shopping:
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. All of the packaged foods and CRAP lives in the center aisles
- Buy whole foods
- Always shop with a list, base your list upon well thought out meals
- Identify nutritionally dense foods that justify and return on your investment
- Never forget, you get what you pay for. If it’s $2, it’s most likely full of artificial ingredients. Lookin’ at you, Ramen
Vegetables and Fruit
Veggies and fruit (especially organic) can get very pricey. Don’t be afraid to shop frozen! I still think fresh is best, but frozen veggies and fruits are picked and froze at peak ripeness. When buying frozen fruit make sure there is no added sugar or preservatives. That being said, some of the most economical and nutritionally dense (per dollar) food choices are:
- Pears – when in season, shop local
- Plums – when in season, shop local
- Watermelon – when in season, shop local
- Other fruits that often score a sale include cantaloupe, apricots or kiwis
Grains and Nuts
Buy in bulk, bitches. Steel cut oats, long grain brown rice, legumes, even macadamia nuts. You can save a pretty penny when you bag your own shit. You may even be surprised to see dried fruits, granola, and seasonings. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Chicken and turkey are consistently economical, but don’t resign to white meat just yet! More often than not, the butcher counter will have at least one cut of beef on sale. The same can be said for seafood. It’s expensive, but there are usually some deals. Example, last week, my local Whole Foods had a special on wild caught sole for $7 a pound! If you can be somewhat flexible on what you buy yourbudg-zhay will thank you. Rotate canned tuna and salmon in and out of your diet to avoid high mercury levels.
And finally, someone once told me, “Don’t spend money on eggs. Spend a lot of money on eggs.” TBH, I don’t really know what that means, but I go with it. I splurge on organic, cage free eggs and justify the cost with versatility. Eggs can be made into any meal, top salads, bind protein and so on. I think the extra money goes to keeping the hens happy. Or something.
Here’s a tip. DIY that shit and make your own. I swear to God if I see one more jar of almond butter marked $13.99 I’m going to flip a shopping cart. Is that for fucking real?! Buy any nut in bulk and have at it. It kind of takes a minute (or thirty) but it’s easier on your wallet. Stay tuned for a tried-and-true recipe!
I feel the same way about avocados that I do eggs, spend it and be okay with it. The nutritional value is well worth the cost.
Shop condiments at wholesale prices. Amazon, Thrive Market and Costco are real gems. Now, I have only been in a Costco once and have major trepidation to go back. I’m not sure what happened, I think I blacked out because when I got home I realized I purchased six bottles of wine, industrial sized facewash, a hair straightener and 4 dozen eggs. Oops.
Recap: Grocery shopping on a budget is possible. And easier than you think. Right? Right.