Eating Well on a Budget

We all know we should be eating a diet of whole grains and healthy fruits and vegetables.  Our doctors tell us, the television tells us, even our common sense tells us, but healthy foods are expensive, right?  While apples cost more calorie for calorie compared to potato chips, there is a way to eat healthy on a budget without having ramen noodles every night.  Maybe you are on a fixed income, maybe you are a college student, or maybe you are just trying to save money, never fear, you too can eat healthy without breaking the bank.

Reduced produce
Go to your local grocery store and look around the produce section, you will see rows and rows of colorful fruits and vegetables. Now, look in the less pretty sections. Often grocery stores will have an out of the way reduced produce section. Maybe they overbought, or maybe a bag of oranges burst open, or maybe the bananas are a little spotty. The produce in this section is marked down significantly. In my store, all of the bagged produce in this section is less than a dollar per bag. I found all of this in my grocery store.

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Manager’s Specials
Have you ever noticed orange or yellow stickers on meat and dairy? If you time it right, you can get a deal on meat and dairy that is approaching its sell by date. Get to know the people who work in these departments. They will let you know the best days to shop for manager’s special items.

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The bulk bins
If your store has bulk bins, they are the place to go for grains. Often, bulk grains are significantly less expensive than their pre-packaged counterparts. If your store does not have bulk bins, look to the lower shelf for the best price and always remember to check the price per unit for the best deal.

The farmer’s market
Unfortunately, in my area, the farmer’s markets don’t get going until May but once in full swing, you can get really good deals on produce. Talk to the farmers; ask if they have any “seconds.”  I know that some of the farmer’s markets I have been to have had an “ugly tomato” bin marked half price!  I bought all of this for just $20 last spring!

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Grow it yourself
Don’t have room for a big backyard garden? No problem! Pop on over to pinterest or do a simple google search for container gardening. You can grow some of your own food on your back patio. Not only is it healthy and pesticide free, you have the satisfaction of growing it yourself!

Can you think of any tips I left out?