It costs more to eat healthy, right? No way! Making healthy foods choices while shopping can actually save you money at the cash register. As an added bonus, you’ll continue to save money by staying healthy with fewer visits to the doctor and less “lost time” from work or school.
But, how do you save money, eat healthy, work, shuttle the kids here there and everywhere, clean the house, walk the dog; you get the idea. Healthy eating on a budget can be simple with a little pre-planning and smart shopping.
Tip #1: Plan ahead
I know what you’re thinking – “right; as if I have time to plan a menu for the week…I hardly have time to plan dinner 15 minutes before I make it!” Trust me and try this routine for one month:
- One day each week sit down with your Meijer grocery one-stop ad, noting those sale items that will appeal to your family.
- Make a menu for the week, even if it’s just deciding what the entrée item will be for dinner each day, you’ll be off to a good start. Remember to plan simple and quick items for busy nights. Also,
- Use our Healthy Living weekly menu planner and/or
- Use meijermealbox.com
- “Search” items that are on sale for recipes
- Print your shopping list
- Print and use your coupons from mealbox
- Take inventory: Make note of spices and staples that you have on hand to avoid unnecessary purchases.
- Shop with your menu-driven grocery list. This will reduce impulse purchases that can really blow your budget.
- Stick with it! Deviate from your menu only when absolutely necessary.
Tip #2: Clip and Use Coupons!
Consider these facts:
- The average family of four spends $710.00 each month on groceries ($8,520 per year)1
- 89% of shoppers use coupons, saving about 7% off their grocery bill each week2 adding up to an annual savings of about $596.00!
1US Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov
2Promotion Marketing Association Coupon Council
Tip #3: Stock Up, When It Makes Sense
Take advantage of sale prices and stock up on shelf-stable staples and frozen foods, especially those items that you use frequently. But, don’t overstuff that freezer! Overfilled freezers don’t allow for proper air circulation creating an environment that actually encourages freezer burn and spoiled foods.
No doubt that it is cheaper to buy foods in bulk. But, don’t buy food in bulk if you won’t use it. The average household throws out 15% of all the food purchased, adding up to an annual loss of almost $1,300.00.
Tip #4: Eat To Maintain a Healthy Weight: Reducing portion sizes, buying fewer high-calorie snacks, and replacing sugary soft drinks with water or light juices will not only trim your waistline, but will also trim your food budget. This, according to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2002). Emphasize “nutrient dense” foods – those foods that provide a lot of nutrition for fewer calories. Vegetables, fruit, lean meats and beans/legumes are all great health foods.
Tip #5: Go Meatless! Eat a meatless meal one or two each week to decrease your food costs. Replace meat with plant proteins such as beans or soy. You’ll get the added bonus of extra fiber, vitamins, minerals and disease fighting antioxidants.
Tip #6: Shop Smart: A quick store tour….
· Purchase produce in season to get the best value.
· Stock up on frozen vegetables and fruit (without added sauces, fats or sugar). These are convenient, create very little waste, are nutrient rich, and are often on sale or cheaper than their fresh out-of-season counterparts.
· Buy lean meats, poultry and fish. When on sale, stock up! Wrap these items tightly and place in freezer quality zipper lock bags. Label the bag with the food item name and date frozen.
· Don’t overlook dairy foods: A yogurt a day boosts your immune health and fights off colds, flu and other diseases. Buy Meijer Brands and use coupons to save money.
· Grocery Staples: Buy Meijer Brands and use those coupons! To get the best deal on natural and organic foods buy Meijer Brand which offer all the quality at a fraction of the cost.
Emphasize nutrient rich whole grain pastas, brown rice, and packaged products with less salt (sodium)
· Snack foods: Do buy in bulk vs. individual packages. Pack your own single-serve packs using snack size zipper lock bags.
· Buy water by the gallon vs. single serve water bottles. Purchase reusable water bottles that can be washed, filled and chilled to take with you on the run.
· Breakfast and related foods: Buy in family packs and in bulk. Individual serving or single serve packaging are costly to produce and therefore, cost you more to buy.
· Buy deli meats on sale and freeze. Wrap tightly and place in freezer quality zipper lock bags. Label with the contents and date. Freeze in smaller quantities for best results (such as one pound bags). Deli meats will keep for about two months in the freezer, but are sometimes a bit watery when defrosted. Just drain and pat dry.
Tip #7: Go to Mealbox Budget Recipes
Click on the “Recipes” tab on the Meijer Mealbox widget. Then, click on the “budget” icon to access the top 25 recipes featuring the greatest number sale items each week at Meijer. It just doesn’t get any easier!
Thanks for reading! Wishing you good health,
Thu, January 8, 2009
by Chris Pritchard filed under