(NC) Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost more. You can choose many different nutritious foods even when eating on a budget. Here are some tips for creating wholesome meals that don’t hurt your wallet:
- Plan ahead. Start by creating a list of all the foods you need before you go to the grocery store. Don’t forget to check for leftovers or food that needs to be used up first in the fridge and in the freezer. Avoid impulse purchases and buy only what’s on your list.
- Shop for sales. Check out flyers, coupons, mobile apps and websites for deals on foods that are on your list. Some stores feature a seniors’ day or a student discount day with special promotions. Consider discount grocery stores or stores that offer price-matching. Avoid grocery shopping at convenience stores, which are usually more expensive.
- Consider products that aren’t perfect. Products getting close to their best-before dates and oddly shaped or slightly bruised produce may be offered at a lower price or discount. They are just as healthy, and buying them also helps reduce food waste.
- Buy the full size or family size. Foods sold in single-serve packaging can cost more. Buy the full size or family size version and divide it up yourself.
- Scan different shelves. Companies pay more to place their products at eye level. You may find less expensive versions of the same foods on higher or lower shelves.
- Stock up. Stock up on canned goods and staples when they are on sale. Choose canned goods with little to no added sodium.
- Buy foods in bulk. Buying foods in bulk can help you save money. Be careful not to buy more than you will use, because this can lead to waste. Extend their shelf life by freezing what you can’t use right away.
- Buy frozen and canned items. Frozen and canned vegetables and fruits with no added sodium or sugars are also healthy options. They can be less expensive than fresh produce when it is out of season or not available.
- Choose plant-based proteins more often. Beans, lentils and other legumes can be inexpensive protein foods.
- Prepare foods at home. Although they can save time, prepackaged foods such as grated cheese and pre-seasoned meat often cost more than a block of cheese or unseasoned meat. Peel and slice broccoli stalks and add to a stir-fry. Save vegetable peelings, stalks and meat bones to make broths for soups, flavoured rice, or homemade sauces. Using the whole food saves money and reduces waste.
Find more information at Canada.ca/FoodGuide.