Eating healthy and sticking to a budget can seem like an impossible task, especially with the rising cost of groceries. I’m going to share my healthy grocery list on a budget – so that next time you head to the grocery store you know exactly what to put in your cart, and what to leave behind.
Many people believe that convenience foods are cheaper than whole, nutrient rich foods, but there are studies that show this is just not true.
Here is an interesting study that concluded: “Diets based heavily on foods from convenient sources are less healthy and more expensive than a well-planned menu from budget foods available from large supermarket chains.”
Nourishing your body and wallet simultaneously is not only achievable but also easier than you might think, with just a little know-how!
We will talk about how I create a healthy grocery shopping list that won’t break the bank, ensuring that my family has access to nutritious food without compromising on taste or quality.
Get ready to discover a world of affordable, nutrient-dense food options that will fuel your body and help you maintain a balanced budget.
With a little planning and resourcefulness you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of budget-friendly, healthy grocery shopping in no time, and reducing your weekly grocery bill while you’re at it.
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Here’s My Healthy Grocery List on a Budget
On top of shopping with your budget grocery list, be sure to take advantage of all the best ways to save money at the grocery store, and make sure meal planning is at the forefront of your strategy to stretch your food dollars.
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta
- Dried (or canned) beans
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned tuna (in water)
- Frozen vegetables (e.g., broccoli, spinach, peas)
- Frozen fruits (e.g., berries, mango, pineapple)
- Fresh seasonal produce (e.g., apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers)
- Whole grain bread
- Whole grain bagels
- Bulk nuts
- Bulk seeds (Chia seeds, sunflower seeds etc)
- Peanut butter (no added sugar or hydrogenated oils)
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Whole chicken (or chicken breast, if it’s on sale)
- Cheaper cuts of meat (stew meat, ground beef etc)
- Olive oil
You’ll notice that this budget grocery list focuses on whole foods
Whole foods are healthier than processed foods for several reasons, including their nutrient content, lower levels of added sugars and unhealthy fats, and minimal additives.
When you make your weekly meal plan around whole grains and fresh produce, by default you are incorporating more nutrient-rich foods.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, are naturally rich in essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These nutrients are crucial for maintaining overall health and preventing chronic diseases. Processed foods, on the other hand, often lose a significant portion of their nutritional content during manufacturing and may not provide the same level of essential nutrients.
The biggest problem with a basic grocery list is that now you just have a bunch of ingredients
You need to take these healthy ingredients and make them into nutritious meals!
If you’re not used to cooking with whole foods, at the end of the day, you’ll have a lot of food waste when your fresh vegetables go bad at the back of your fridge.
I want to share a few meal ideas (made with the items on this list), for you to use in your weekly meal plan. You can enjoy these healthy meals even on a tight budget:
Here’s 20+ healthy frugal breakfast ideas
Here’s 30+ healthy frugal dinner ideas
Here’s 15 budget snack ideas
Say no to impulse buys and processed junk!
Even though you might feel like some of these healthy foods are out of reach on a tight budget, remember that you don’t need to buy the organic sodium-free tins of black beans – the regular 99 cent store brand tin of black beans will do just fine when you’re on a budget. (And they’re still going to be a much healthier option than pop tarts. Probably more filling, too.)
Here’s a few tips to keep your weekly food budget down:
- check the farmer’s market and ethnic grocery stores for in-season fruits and veggies
- plan your weekly menu out based on what you have on hand rather than buying all “new”
- always, always check the unit price – some things, especially grains and nuts – are cheaper in bulk
- learn to eat smaller portions of meats and dairy products, and pad your meal out with healthy grains and plenty of vegetables
- an easy way to save money on meat and veggies is to shop late in the day – when stores reduce their prices for quick sales
You might have to shop around for the best prices, but the good news is that once you get into a habit of cooking with the low cost healthy foods off this cheap healthy shopping list, it will get easier over time.