14 tips for eating healthier on a budget

One of my favorite topics in the nutrition discussion is answering the objection "But I can’t afford to eat healthy" or buy all organic or make every single food in our house from scratch or… well, you get the point.

Here is a list of 14 tips I found this morning on Mercola.com for finding and using healthy food, even when on a tight budget:

1. Choose local foods over organic food. (Note: the reason he says this is that local foods retain higher nutritional content because we can eat them fresher and are picked closer to their peak of ripeness- and they are easier on the environment due to minimal transportation and fuel use)

2. If all that’s available or affordable is fresh, conventionally grown produce, buy it, wash it well at home, and eat it.

3. Look for local farms and food coops offering raw dairy products, eggs, produce, and grass-fed meat. This will allow you to cut out the middleman and save money. Buying in large quantities, such as a side of grass-fed beef, can also save you money in the long run as long as you have room to freeze it (and you consume it before it goes bad).

4. Skip prepared or pre-cut foods, which can cost up to double the amount as the unprepared versions.

5. Plan your meals ahead of time (including cooking large batches and freezing some for later) so you don’t splurge on expensive, unhealthy fast-food at the last minute.

6. Pass on junk foods like potato chips, soda, cookies, candy, and other snacks. These are a complete waste of money.

7. Buy lots of fresh veggies, they’re usually less expensive than canned versions (just make sure you use them before they go bad).

8. Only buy what you need. Keep track of what’s in your pantry so you don’t double-up on foods unnecessarily.

9. Clip coupons and use them when you can (but don’t buy something unhealthy just because it’s on sale).

10. Watch the register when you check out of the grocery store. They often ring up wrong prices, at your expense.

11. Shop with a calculator so you can determine if it’s really a better deal to buy something in bulk.

12. Watch weekly specials, and be aware of what’s really a good price. You can often find organic produce on sale for less than conventional produce if you know what prices to watch for.

13. If you have the space, grow your own fresh veggies such as greens, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, etc.

14. Remember this rule of thumb: Fresh food is always better than frozen, but frozen is better than canned.

Read the entire article here.

This is a great overview of many of the best ways to incorporate great nutrition into a frugal grocery budget. I would love to hear about which of these tips is the area which you most want to work on, or believe would be the most reasonable and do-able next step for your family!

For some more in depth explanation and a bit of weekend reading, please see some of my previous posts on related topics:

Cutting costs in the kitchen
Q&A- Healthy freezer meals requested
Healthy and frugal meal planning help
More; health and frugal meal planning
How not to buy organic

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  1. I’ve noticed before that your family drinks raw milk and this is actually something I’ve seriously been looking into as my son has a reaction to cows milk. (we’d be doing goats milk as it’s easier to digest) Plus raw milk seems to be just so much healthier and nutritious.
    I’ve found a couple local goat share programs and am almost ready to take the leap from buying pasteurized goat milk….I just keep reading about how not to let pregnant or small children drink raw milk for fear of listeria.
    Since none of my local friends drink raw milk, and I know what the doctors will be saying 🙂 I thought I’d ask someone who actually drinks it.
    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Donielle, I wrote a post about raw milk safety, including a lot of links to help you do some research about it. Hope that helps answer your questions!

  3. Thank you for posting those tips! I’m always looking for ways to save while still buying healthy foods.

    I’ve been reading some of your past entries, and I really like what you have to say. I just started a similar type of blog. Would you mind if I link to you?

    Take care!

  4. You’re welcome, Melissa! And yes, you’re welcome to add my link and will add you to my list of sites that link to me. I also visited your site and left a comment (your first!). 🙂

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