Food costs can be a big part of your overall budget, especially when you are trying to buy the healthiest foods for you and your family. Being mindful about what you buy (and eat) can make a positive impact on both your health and your wallet.
There are many ways to cut food costs. Here are 10 tips that help me afford to nourish my body with healthy foods:
- Plan a weekly menu. Know what you are going to eat for the week…and know what you are not going to eat.
- Make a grocery list based on your weekly menu. Impulse shopping adds up quickly. A grocery list keeps you focused. Shop with a grocery list, a full belly, and stay on task.
- Buy local, seasonal foods. Shop at your local farmer’s market , or join a community supported agriculture (CSA) for direct-from-the-farm seasonal produce.
- Prioritize. If you can’t afford to buy all organically grown foods, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides a list of produce and their pesticide ratings. Save your organic dollars for the “dirty dozen”. Conventional animal and dairy products are high in toxins, antibiotics and hormones. Consider hormone-free, anti-biotic free alternatives.
- Seek out a store’s private labels.
- Choose foods in their “whole” form and opt for bulk bin foods. Packaged and prepared foods have the highest mark-up.
- Discover the pleasure of preparing food at home. Eating out becomes an expensive habit. Consider dining out as part of your entertainment budget.
- Attend to portion size. The average American needs about 2000 calories each day, yet consumes nearly 4000 calories. Needless to say, this adds to the bottom line, figuratively (that’s a pun) and subtracts from the bottom line, financially.
- Embrace leftovers. Now that you are preparing meals at home and watching portion sizes, save those leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner.
- Let’s remove “non food” foods from the food budget entirely. Take an honest look at your daily food intake. Refined, processed items like coffee, soda, sweets, pastries, cookies, chips, etc should, like dining out, be part of your entertainment budget…not your food budget.
And remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Enjoying healthy foods makes for a healthy mind and body, thus reducing your health care costs.