11 Dec Episode 143 – Healthy Shopping On A Budget
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Welcome to the Nuvitru Wellness Podcast with me as your host, Lahana Vigliano – the owner of Nuvitru and a board certified clinical nutritionist! We’re on episode 143 talking about eating healthy on a budget! This is a very popular topic that I got to talk about requested by YOU, tribe! Thankful for all your suggestions all the time + know that whatever you recommend – I’ll put into queue, so I can serve you!
Before we start, I wanted to make sure that I mentioned that we have gift cards now available for stocking stuffers! You can purchase them in any increments of $25. They are actually a legit physical card that after you purchase one – I mail it to you, so you can put it in a Christmas Card, Birthday Card, etc. you name it and gift someone the gift of health. They can use this towards any appointment or package with me that they want to. Book a FREE 15 min phone call with me to learn more!
I’ve actually talked about this I think when I first started podcasting and even did made a little freebie on it that I gave away via your email. One thing that I will start with before going into our budget-saving tips is to be REALISTIC about the amount of food your family consumes (including restaurants!) and putting buying healthy food as a top priority. This is something that my husband struggles with sometimes to this day, because he sees food coming in and then coming out in a stool. His thinking is “why are we paying so much again?” It’s a constant reminder to tell him WHY we put more of our budget towards quality food. Pay now or pay later. So, I want to let you know I UNDERSTAND, we’ve been there with a small budget and worked our way up to where we are now.
We were that typical standard American eating family buying mostly processed foods and toiletries and skidding by on $100-150 per week. Granted, it was only three of us back then and Isaiah was a BABY, so really it was only Doug + I eating. Now, we buy all organic, grass-fed pasture raised foods that are wholesome and even some of the healthy packaged foods. Our budget is about $1200 a month to be completely transparent. (Trust me when I tell you that we HAD many many fights about the food budget, as I became more aware of how bad we were eating during my degree program). We’re a family of four and we all are HUGE eaters (even my almost five year old).
Now if you’ve made healthy eating a top priority + you’ve sacrificed in other areas to bring more money into the food budget if you need to + you still need to cut costs somewhere – let’s begin!
This is the MOST common budget saving tips you’ll find online, because bulk is best. Let’s be real! Granted you may be short on space if you live in an apartment, so you might have to get creative with where you’ll put things, but bulk is definitely where you’ll save the most money! This can mean shopping at Costco or it could mean just shopping at your local grocery store in the bulk section – which is the aisle with all the bins. You can find grains, legumes, dried fruit, etc.
This also is the same mindset for buying meat in bulk. If you can connect with a local farmer who raises grass-fed beef, this can save you money per lb because a grass-fed steak at Whole Foods is like $20 a lb. You can get it at a local farmer for half the cost. Buying ground beef is usually cheaper too than buying steaks if you really need to cut cost. And buying chicken thighs or even a whole chicken is a better and cheaper option/bang for your buck than chicken breasts.
I buy my grass-fed whey in bulk and it’s about $60 for a 5 lb container. BUT, you guys, that is only .78 cents per serving. This is a great way to add good quality protein to a plant-based lunch (like a salad) versus a chicken breast.
Organic or No?
This leads me into answering the question “organic or no?” or “grass-Fed or no?” I recommend to only buy organic animal products that are grass-fed or wild caught. Since animal products can easily become tainted and conventional animal products can be more inflammatory than organic ones, I find this area is really hard for me to recommend that this is an area you can cut corners. So again, finding a local farmer or staying up to date with deals at your local store or shopping at places like Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Costco. These are the places that I’ve found good quality at a good price!
With produce on a budget, you can easily follow the dirty dozen list at EWG.org.
Buying Frozen And/Or In Season
I HIGHLY recommend buying in season produce. When you try to buy out of season, like berries in the winter, you’re most likely going to be paying double and the taste stinks and the nutrition actually isn’t as high as it is when a fruit is in season! If you do want to buy a fruit or vegetable out of season, check out the frozen section!
You can find berries year around in the frozen section, for example and pay half the price. Frozen produce is *usually* inexpensive.
You can also even plan for your meals to be based on local sales. If you know ahead of time the sales that your store is going to have with produce and meats, you can work around those savings!
Only Buy Necessary Items
What I mean by this is buying produce, quality meats, grains, legumes, your basics. What that doesn’t mean is the “organic” processed foods – crackers, chips, etc. You’ll never hear me recommend buying regular processed food regardless – budget or not. But the organic packaged foods is where you’ll spend the most money with the least amount of nutrition in return. So, does that mean that you’ll have to be a little cooking more? Most likely – because for example, you won’t have ready made granola bars to snack on, you’d have to make them if you really like them.
I do want to say – there is always a sacrifice on some end. You’ll either pay for the convenience of having something ready (that’s the whole restaurant industry right?!) or you’ll “pay” in your time. I do find that when you only buy the NECESSARY items – like the produce, meats, grains, etc. you’ll be eating a more nutrient dense diet that will save your health + money in the long run.
Incorporate Plant Based Meals
Don’t get me wrong – I think meat has 100000% has a place in our diet as humans. I actually don’t recommend a vegan diet, but if you’re on a strict budget, make sure you make some meals without meat because meat will probably be the most expensive part of your bill. If you do okay with rice with soaked legumes or quinoa, use that to create veggie bowls! I personally still recommend for the majority of people to avoid wheat because of inflammation and what it triggers in the gut.
Eggs aren’t plant-based, but they are a wholesome non-meat protein source that you can whip up easily and add to dishes – think hard boiled on top of salads, frittatas for brinner, etc. If you can find a local farmer, you can usually find good quality eggs for an amazing price! I remember I used to get mine for $4 a dozen! If you have to buy the cheapest eggs to afford them, do it. It’s better than Cheetos or hamburger helper.
I definitely wanted to cover some of those shopping tips because that’s where you’ll be saving the most money! Some other tips I have for you are to meal plan – this is ESSENTIAL in making sure that you aren’t running out to grab a bite to eat because you have no idea what you were making for dinner and you don’t have anything thawed. FUTURE THINKING YA’LL! Don’t ever shop hungry. You will 10000% be buying foods that you really don’t need, but sound good. Personal experience here.
I know you might already be used to this if you shop at Aldi or Trader Joe’s, but buying a generic label will also save some dollars in your wallet! Like with any other product, a “name brand” will usually always cost more and that doesn’t mean that it tastes better either. And the worst thing you can do is waste food – so make sure you are only buying enough for what you can eat in a week. Since you’ll be eating more wholesome real foods, you’ll have to shop a little* bit more frequently to make sure you’re sticking with fresh produce! Wasted food = wasted money.
I hope I gave you some useful tips on how to save some money in healthy grocery shopping on a budget. BUT, I seriously want to encourage you to re-look at your budget if you haven’t in a while and see if there is any way you can sacrifice in other areas to get good quality food in that body. Your health is EVERYTHING – we truly don’t understand the importance of it until we lose it and it’s too late. OR we end up spending that money we’re trying to save on doctor bills because we’re sick all the time. You might be really surprised how that coffee here and there or those meals out to eat could put some extra dough in bringing home the good stuff for you and your family.
I’m glad I could touch on this topic again before the new year! I’ll catch you guys next week! I would love to physically teach you healthy shopping on a budget.