Healthful Eating on a Budget

Being on a limited grocery budget doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthfully! Here are some tips and tricks to make your dollars go further while choosing nutritious foods.

Shop ethnic grocers such as Fiesta Mart and H Mart for nutritious quality foods at lower prices. For instance, chicken drumsticks cost $2.49 per pound at Tom Thumb in Dallas, but $0.89 at Fiesta Mart! Sprouts Farmers Market also has great deals on fresh foods.

Take advantage of double the sales on double ad Wednesdays and stock up. Most supermarkets in DFW participate! Easily freeze extra meat, fish, fruits, and veggies to cook later.

Check out the EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. Use them to figure out which items are worth buying organic, and which items you can purchase as conventional with minimal pesticide exposure. Organic produce is cheaper when in season. You can take advantage of this price break by choosing to eat these foods organic when in season and by stocking up and freezing or canning extra to have throughout the year!

Farmers markets can be a great place to find discounts, particularly when the market is getting ready to close. Try the Dallas, White Rock, McKinney, Plano, or Coppell markets.

Choose seasonal, local fruits and veggies when possible. They don’t travel far to reach you and haven’t been sitting around for as long. Eating local helps maximize fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and calcium intakes while also lowering costs. Find out what’s seasonal in TX now!

Learn more about TX food resources here.

Buy in bulk when possible. Look for bigger packages of prepared items and look for store brands, as well. For instance, a large Walmart-brand container of oatmeal costs $0.08 per serving, while an individual package of Quaker instant oatmeal costs $0.25! If you eat oatmeal daily, you will save $62 per year buying bulk store brand. Imagine the savings across an entire family. Plus, in addition to being cheaper than boxed cereal for breakfast, oatmeal is healthier, with low sugar, high fiber and a serving of a whole grains!

Foods such as dried beans and rice are less expensive than meat and are great sources of protein. Try Meatless Monday featuring a tasty dish using rice and beans! (Tacos, burrito bowls, cooked together in Jamaican rice and peas, Indian chana masala over rice, turned into veggie burgers or a lentil loaf, in soup, etc.)

 Look for whole items instead of pre-cut: At my local Dallas Tom Thumb, a whole pineapple costs $4.49 while the same amount pre-cut costs $6.72! The same principle holds true for blocks of cheese instead of shredded; whole chickens instead of pieces; and heads of lettuce instead of pre-torn bags.
Make your own! Make chicken broth from leftover chicken bones and vegetable trimmings instead of buying canned broth. Eat stovetop popped popcorn for less than a bag of chips. Top salads with homemade oil-and- vinegar dressing. Once you learn to make these foods, you can do it in a snap – 5 minutes hands-on time max. Not only will you spend less and eat more vitamins and minerals from homemade foods, but overall you’ll also eat less Calories, poor quality fats, and hidden ingredients like sugar, artificial flavors and colors, sodium, and preservatives when you make foods yourself.

Choose water instead of bottled and sweetened beverages, or brew fresh tea. Save money while avoiding empty Calories from added sugars.

What are your favorite ways to save money on food? Post them below!

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