The average American grocery store is full of pitfalls. From processed food to fat-laden convenience items, it can be hard to navigate the supermarket landscape, especially with kids in tow. With a little know-how you can beat the grocery shopping blues and learn to buy healthy food on a budget. Here are some ways:
Avoid the Interior Aisles
Your grocery store’s interior aisles are full of processed, pre-packaged foods that offer little in nutritional benefit. So when you’re shopping, especially with children, it’s a good idea to avoid these aisles all together.
Stick to the produce section, the bulk-items aisle and the refrigerated aisles, stock up on fresh, healthy food such as fruits and vegetables.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to save, but you don’t have to buy a 42 oz. jar of peanut butter in order reap the benefits of bulk. If your grocery store has a bulk items aisle, it probably offers an array of healthy, shelf-stable foods. For example, dried beans, nuts, trail mixes and cereals cost a fraction of the price when bought in bulk.
Buy Frozen – Selectively!
Fresh garden produce can be expensive, especially if any goes unused. Frozen fruits and vegetables offer an alternative to buying fresh, as long as you know what you’re buying. Convenience products such as frozen, all-in-one meals can be expensive and may contain ingredients you’d rather not be eating. Stick to buying frozen fruits and veggies, to cook yourself.
Start a Meatless Monday Tradition
Meat is often one of the most expensive items on a family’s grocery list. You can save money and start a healthy family tradition substituting one or more meat meal with a meatless meal. For recipe ideas, visit meatlessmonday.com.
Shop at Your Local Farmer’s Market, or Join a CSA
One-way to save on produce and eat healthy year-round is to shop at your local farmer’s market. To find a market or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group that you can join, visit localharvest.org. CSA groups, for example, may make weekly deliveries of seasonal foods, to a central community location.
While shopping on a budget is challenging, buying and preparing healthy food for your family can be extremely rewarding. Use these tips as a starting point for your own weekly shopping routine, and you’ll begin to see rewards – in your pocketbook and in your life.