Eating healthy can be an expensive proposition, especially for families. Whether you want to include more whole grains, cut out gluten or monitor your calorie intake, finding foods that meet your guidelines can wreak havoc on your grocery bill. Then, there are times when you’re craving a favorite food, and you know you must have it. With these helpful shopping tips, you can still eat right without breaking the bank and also enjoy a cheeseburger pizza special from your neighborhood pizza maker when the craving hits.
Plan Your Shopping Trip
Planning is essential to saving money at the grocery store. Before you make a shopping list, take stock of what’s already in your pantry and refrigerator. In addition,
- Plan the week’s menu, being sure to use up expiring foods. Add needed ingredients to your list.
- Stick to your list while shopping, and buy only what you know your family will eat.
- Never purchase items such as plants or toys at a grocery store, where the markup is higher.
Buy in bulk when possible, but buy only those items that are sure to be eaten. The savings you realize throughout the year more than makes up for the cost of a membership at a bulk-goods store.
Cook and Eat at Home
Giving up dinners out can help you save both cash and calories. You won’t be tempted by enticing menu items, and you’ll spend about half the amount on family dinners. Take time during the weekend to prepare for the week by doing these tasks:
- Rinse and cut vegetables for snacks, salads and meals and store in the refrigerator.
- Cook and freeze several entrees for easy dinners that you can quickly re-heat.
- Cook extra portions to have as leftovers or save for another week.
When you do have occasion to eat out, view restaurant menus online first, where you can take time to explore healthy options. You can also have it delivered. Eating in lets you enjoy more family time while also enjoying the best gluten free pizza crust.
Keep Meat on the Menu
If meat and fish dishes make up a good portion of your menu, don’t despair. Here are some ideas for saving on these higher-priced items, too.
- Buy less expensive cuts for soups, casseroles and stir-fry dishes that are rich in seasonings.
- Buy larger portions of meat that is on sale for use in several dishes.
- Let other proteins star in a few entrees, such as eggs in omelets and beans in burritos.
Limit purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables to in-season items, when they’re less expensive. Stock up on frozen packages of your favorites, which are just as nutritious, to enjoy during off-seasons.
Planning Ahead Is Key
It’s hard to resist the many tempting dishes that are offered already prepared in the grocery store, especially for busy parents. Planning ahead can help you stay on-budget while still eating healthy. When you do indulge, be sure to include a salad or vegetable side. That makes it easy to enjoy a budget-friendly and guilt-free meal when you hear that Philly cheesesteak pizza is back at your go-to pizzeria. Go ahead and fulfill your craving, knowing that you’re still eating healthy.