Eating healthy – it’s a trend that has been on the rise recently, and for good reason! I love the growing awareness of how the right diet can create positive change in your life. But even though healthy options are becoming more and more common these days, they’re also not getting any cheaper. Trust me, I know first hand how frustrating it can be when you want to shop healthy, but you can’t spend your entire paycheck on Grass-Fed Fair-Trade Locally Source Organic Non-GMO everything. It’s like every time you add a health label, you add $2 to the price!
When I was in Europe last month, I was amazed (and honestly kind of jealous) at how accessible and affordable fresh, healthy, organic food was. Walking through the open markets was like walking through health heaven, and everything was so much cheaper than it would be here in the US! It made me frustrated.
But, frustration aside, there are some things you can do when you want to shop healthy but you’re also on a budget. Here are my top secrets on saving at the grocery store!
1 – Buy eggs at Natural Grocers.
This is my absolute favorite secret that nobody knows about. I stumbled across this by accident when I went to Natural Grocers one day to get some bulk dried elderberries (health nerd, I know). When you become a Natural Grocers NPower Member, you can get local, organic, pasture-raised eggs (which are the highest quality eggs) for only $3.99/dozen, as opposed to the typical $6.99-$8.99/dozen. It’s completely free to become a member, and there are tons of other coupons/deals you get access to just for joining! I don’t know if they do this nationwide, but I know for sure they do it here in Denver. So go get yourself some high-quality eggs!
2 – Use the Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen Lists
If you don’t have the budget to buy all organic produce, you can use the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists to decide which products you buy organic and which ones you can skip. The Clean Fifteen is a list of the foods that are safest to buy non-organic, so you can go on the cheaper side. The Dirty Dozen is a list of foods that you should always buy organic, because of direct exposure to pesticides. Check out the list here and bring it with you on your next shopping trip!
3 – Actually read those flyers that come in the mail every week.
They may be annoying, but often times you will find deals that you wouldn’t otherwise know about if you hadn’t looked. Plus, most grocery stores are willing to price match other stores – so if you bring the flyers with you and show them at the checkout, you can get a discount without having to go grocery shopping all over town! And another bonus? There are often coupons in those flyers for an additional $5-$10 off your purchase.
4 – Buy in Bulk
It may cost more up front, but long-term it will definitely save you money. Places like Costco, Thrive Market , and Amazon make it easier than ever to buy things in bulk at a discount. One of my favorites is getting local organic raw honey Costco – I haven’t found it cheaper anywhere else!
5 – Join a Farm Share or Co-op
Farm shares are an easy way to get local, farm-fresh produce, meat, and eggs at a more affordable price. You pay a set amount of money at the beginning of the “season” (typically beginning in spring or summer) and you get deliveries weekly or bi-weekly of produce, eggs, and meat! Check out Local Harvest to find a Farm Share, farmer’s market, or co-op location near you!
6 – Experiment with Vegetarian Protein
Sometimes when my husband and I are really in a pinch on our budget, I’ll just cook meals with vegetarian protein instead of animal protein. Vegetarian protein is typically much cheaper than animal protein, and still tastes just as delicious if you use the right spices and cooking methods! Some of my favorites are chickpeas, black beans, lentils, nuts and quinoa. Check out this list of vegetarian proteins you can try!
Overall, there are plenty of ways you can eat healthy on a budget. It takes a little bit of time and intentionality, but in the long run it really is worth it!