Shop Smart for Healthy Foods High in Nutrition
It seems as though foods in the grocery store are getting more and more expensive, which makes all those processed and cheap foods look even more appealing. Although processed foods may seem like a better choice than breaking the bank, there are a few things you can do to cut your bill while still avoiding those high sodium, sugar filled, high calorie foods.
1. Store Brands May be Better
Name brand foods are usually marketed up just because of the name on the package. Store brands are usually cheaper and just as nutritional. A lot of stores are coming out with their own organic lines as well, which are just as good as name brand organics and a lot cheaper. Look for the USDA organic symbol on the packages to make sure you are really getting an organic product.
2. All Organic Isn't Necessary
If you can afford all organic produce, that’s great, but for a lot of us it’s way too expensive. For those of you that want organic produce, there are some foods that should definitely be bought organic and others that it’s not as important. The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables that usually have the highest pesticide residue when conventionally grown, therefore you would want to buy these items either organic, or from a trusted local farmer. The dirty dozen includes peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cucumbers, blueberries, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. The clean fifteen is fruits and vegetables with the lowest amount of pesticide residue when conventionally grown, so these items you don’t have to buy organic. The clean fifteen includes onion, avocado, corn, pineapple, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, grapefruit, watermelon, mushrooms and sweet potatoes.
3. Meatless Mondays
Meat is usually one of the most expensive items on your grocery bill, therefore creating meatless Mondays, or any other day, could really lower your bill. Beans, legumes, eggs, soy based products and lots of vegetables are great replacements when you want to have a meatless meal. Beans are very cheap, especially if you buy them dry and they have a lot of fiber, which will make you feel fuller longer than meat. Look up some recipes before you go to the store, so that you know what to get. Then experiment to see what you and your family likes and soon you will be looking forward to Mondays!
4. Homemade is Always Better
There are a lot of items you may be buying at the store that you can make at home for half the cost, especially if you buy in bulk! Oatmeal, flavored yogurts, sauces, condiments, salad dressings and pizza are just some things that come to mind that are easy and cheaper to make homemade than buying frozen or prepackaged. A lot of the foods in grocery stores also have additives that are used to prolong shelf life, including sugar and salt. When you make these items at home you won’t need to add these unnecessary ingredients, making them a lot healthier and a better source of nutrition.
All in all, making meals at home, buying selective organic produce and not worrying about the name on the box can definitely cut your grocery bill where it won’t hurt your health or nutrition.
Guest blogger Vanessa Morley is a registered dietetic technician and writes health blogs for Everyday Health and its calorie counter.
Readers: Care to share any tips on how you shop for groceries without sacrificing on nutrition?