Healthy eating can sometimes come at a cost…but it doesn’t have to! We’ve compiled a list of tips and reminders to help you shop on a budget and help you find ways to store fresh foods for longer periods of time:
- First things first, take a quick inventory of the fridge and pantry, and plan your meals in advance.
- Make a list and stick to it.
- Use coupons and take advantage of sales. Some grocery stores offer an additional free discount card which adds further savings at checkout.
- Compare nutritional information and unit prices of similar products. For example, when comparing unit price a bag of carrots actually turns out to be cheaper than buying the same number of carrots from the ‘bag-it-yourself’ produce shelf.
- Shop in season. Fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they are in season (e.g. strawberries in early summer, pumpkin during the fall, etc.).
- Buy canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Look for products that are low in salt and added sugar. Make sure to drain and rinse before use to help eliminate extra salt and sugar.
- Try the no-name brand. These items are often tucked away up high or down low on grocery store shelves, but are surprisingly similar in quality and taste to their name brand counterparts and are often less expensive.
- Buy in bulk!
- Cut your fruits and vegetables, and grate your cheese yourself – pre-cut and pre-grated foods are more expensive.
- Cook at home – ready-made meals are generally more expensive, contain large amounts of salt and sugar, and less fibre.
- Buy foods that are relatively stable in price. Dried beans, lentils, apples, bananas, potatoes, and carrots are great examples of healthy foods that come at an affordable and predictable price year-round.
- Stock up on staple food items when they are on sale (rice, pasta, quinoa, oats, flour, etc.). These items can be kept for long periods of time and can serve as an easy, affordable go-to within reach.
- Freeze fruits and vegetables for use at a later date (berries, bananas, grapes, pumpkin, rhubarb, peaches, peppers, etc.) – follow these links to learn more about how to properly freeze and store fruits and vegetables (https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Budget/Food-choices-when-money-is-tight—Budget-friendly.aspx).
To learn more tips for healthy eating on a budget or for additional tips on storing food, check out these great resources:
EatRight Ontario: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Budget.aspx
March – Nutrition Month: http://www.nutritionmonth.ca/eating-tips/
Food Flair, p. 44-45 (chart of seasonally available fruits and vegetables)