The average American spends about $2,500 a year on groceries. That's a lot of money!
But you can save money and eat healthier by following these simple tips:
Make a shopping list before you go, and stick to it.
A shopping list is one of the most important tools to have when you're grocery shopping. A common mistake is to buy things that aren't on your list or more than what's necessary. It's also easy to overspend by buying items that are not needed and don't taste good.
You should make a detailed list before you go, with each item written on paper so you can check off what you purchase as you go along at the store. Make sure all relevant ingredients are included on your lists, such as spices and seasonings if they're not already in your pantry (and plan accordingly).
Even if an item isn't on sale this week, it might be next week!
The best way to stick with your budget is to prepare for a grocery store trip beforehand. Make sure every need is met before going into a store! This is one of the ways our Fine Fit sample plans improve your quality of life. You save money when you prep your meals!
Don't shop when you're hungry.
Eating before heading out to the store will help you think more clearly and make better decisions about what you put in your cart. It's also important not to skip meals when shopping for healthier food options since this can lead to impulse buying unhealthy snacks or fast food that can add up over time.
If you're hungry while grocery shopping, consider bringing a snack with you so that if an unexpected hunger attack hits while browsing the shelves of your favorite grocer, at least there's something healthy on hand (and maybe even money left in your wallet).
Beware of hidden sugars.
Sugar is in everything. Seriously, it's in everything! This includes products you wouldn't expect to have sugar, from salad dressings to canned soups.
If a product has a long list of ingredients, there's a form of sugar hiding somewhere on that list. The most commonly used sugars are glucose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
These added sugars can be found in many processed foods like jams and jellies, breakfast cereals, and granola bars—even ones that claim they're healthy! Beware: all these "healthy" options may be loaded with hidden sugars.
It's important not only to read nutrition labels but also to pay close attention to serving sizes! Because many products contain more than one serving size per container; therefore making them appear healthier than they are due to having fewer calories than what would be listed on a nutrition label.
If there was only one serving size per package rather than multiple servings per package like most people assume (it's easy enough for manufacturers just by putting 1/4 cup instead of 1 cup!).
Avoid processed foods.
Processed foods are often high in calories, salt, sugar, and fat. They tend to be very tempting when shopping for snacks or a meal on the go, but they aren't always the best choice for your health.
Buy fresh ingredients.
First and foremost, fresh ingredients are better for you. They're more nutritious and contain fewer preservatives than processed foods in boxes and cans. Whether you buy them at a grocery store or grow them yourself in your backyard garden, that's true.
But fresh food also tastes better!
When was the last time you had canned sweet corn? If it has been a while, that's because fresh is much sweeter and more delicious than canned corn (and cheaper too).
I know what you're thinking: "Fresh food is so expensive!" Yes, it can be; but you can save money by buying bulk items in season instead of individual packages or items all year round (or even every week)!
Plus, you can preserve fruits and vegetables in many ways, so you don't waste anything, like freezing berries into popsicles or making jam out of strawberries from your garden.
Eat Fresh Foods
If you can, try to eat fresh, whole foods as often as possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals—much cheaper than the processed food in most grocery stores!
Suppose you have time to cook your meals at home, do it! It's much healthier (and cheaper) than eating out at restaurants or fast food joints. Also, cooking is fun!
It's pretty simple: healthy food tastes better and makes you feel better. Rather than depriving yourself of or eating bland foods that aren't satisfying, we recommend trying to incorporate some of the tips we shared in this article into your lifestyle.
As long as you keep an eye on what you're eating, there's no need for any drastic measures—after all, it's not about going completely vegan overnight or cutting out all carbs. Just try incorporating one new thing at a time!
If you think you cannot create a grocery list with healthy and tasty foods, don't worry. We have you covered! You can check out one of our meal plans below or on our website. We have a meal plan for every calorie group with variations for vegans, vegetarians, and everything in between.