When I tell my patients about the importance of eating a balanced, healthy diet, I often hear one response: Grocery shopping for healthy food is just too expensive.
Though the high price tag for organic fruits and vegetables and non-GMO foods can at first seem too much, there are ways to buy everything you need for a healthy diet without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks that help me save money and still have a pantry bursting with wholesome, delicious foods.
1. Buy in bulk when you can.
Sure, buying a massive bag of dried lentils or a huge pack of toilet paper might seem a bit inconvenient, but the large quantity means that you get a lower price per unit. In other words, each individual roll of toilet paper costs you less in bulk than it would in a smaller package. As long as you buy something you know you will lose—and something that won’t spoil quickly—buying in bulk is the way to go.
2. Choose seasonal, fresh produce from your local farmers market, and freeze the leftovers.
Not only is buying produce in season great for farmers and the local economy, it’s also gentle on your wallet. Out-of-season fruits and vegetables often have to be shipped in from more tropical climates, and come with a big price increase.
Make the most of your seasonal farmers market trips by buying plenty summer tomatoes or winter squash and freezing your leftovers. That way, you can enjoy the freshest produce all year round!
3. Plan out your meals before going grocery shopping.
Impulse buys are the enemy of a healthy budget. Reduce your chances of falling prey to supermarket ads and last minute decisions by planning out exactly what you need to buy. When you have a clear list, you’re much less likely to pick up any extras.
4. Shop for all the nonperishable foods and products on Thrive Market.
Get all your healthy whole grains, nuts and nut butters, spices, and pantry staples at a discount on Thrive Market. When everything costs 25 to 50 percent less, the savings really add up. Plus, when you stock up on supplies and spend more than $49, shipping is free!
5. Avoid processed food as much as possible.
This tip doubles as a health hack. Processed foods—such as microwave dinners and deep-fried potato chips—don’t seem expensive, but actually often cost more than cooking a healthy dinner yourself. Plus, since these foods are often loaded with trans fats and other questionable additives, it’s better to skip them for your health’s sake, too.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont