Shop Smart and Eat Healthy!


By: Elizabeth Dreyer, Lisa Junk, and Elizabeth Lorenz (Dietetic Technicians at SJMH)

Are you trying to eat a healthy diet on a tight budget?  Are you looking for ways to save money at the grocery store?  Eating well while watching your budget can be challenging, but it is possible!  Below, you will find tips and suggestions to help stretch your dollars and buy quality, healthy foods for you and your family.

  • Check your pantry, plan your meals, and make a list before you head to the store
  • Use coupons from the newspaper, your mailbox, or the internet, and check store ads for sales
  • Join store loyalty programs for added savings (i.e. Kroger, Meijer)
  • Have a snack before you shop so you are not hungry and tempted to buy junk food
  • Leave the kids at home and shop at off times so you are less distracted and can stick to your list
  • Shop at discount stores (i.e. Aldi, Randazzo) when able, but not at convenience stores (i.e. 7-11)
  • Seek out farmers markets for fresh, local produce, prices may be marked down close to closing time
  • Many grocery stores have organic foods that are less expensive than specialty stores
  • In general, the most expensive items are at eye level, so look at the higher and lower shelves
  • Generic or store brands are usually less expensive than major brands
  • Stock up when the foods you use often are on sale and you can use or freeze them before they spoil
  • Use cash, you will spend less than if you use a credit, debit card, or check
  • Drink water instead of pop and other sugary beverages
  • Prepared foods cost more (i.e. chicken pieces, shredded cheese, cut up veggies)
  • Buy fresh produce in season, it is usually less expensive
  • Look for canned veggies with no salt added and canned fruit in water or juice (not syrup)
  • Buy plain rice, oatmeal, pasta, and grains to avoid expense, salt, and sugar
  • High fiber healthy cereals are a low cost snack or quick meal
  • Cook larger quantities of nutrient rich lentil, bean or veggie soups and casseroles and freeze the leftovers for a convenient meal later
  • Plan some vegetarian meals like spaghetti with marinara sauce, baked potatoes filled with veggies, or a tofu stir fry, and have “breakfast” for dinner with eggs to keep costs down
  • Try inexpensive protein choices like beans (i.e. pinto, black, navy, kidney, garbanzo) , eggs, and nut butters
  • Be careful with condiments—the cost adds up and so does the added salt and sugar (try vinegar & oil instead of salad dressing)

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