We all want to eat healthy. We all want to save money. Being a thrifty shopper at the grocery store doesn’t mean giving up the nutritious foods that you love. By making these 10 food swaps, you’ll see grocery receipt totals drop while still being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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Source: Mapo Tofu on Flickr
Meat is expensive, especially if you are concerned with labels like “organic,” “free-range,” and “grass-fed.” Tofu and beans are inexpensive substitutes for meat. High in protein, tofu can be marinated, seasoned, sautéed, and grilled just like steak. Add delicious spices to beans and pair with rice and vegetables for a tasty and balanced meal. There are so many delicious vegetarian recipes that you’ll actually look forward to the next meat-free meal.
Source: Esimpraim on Flickr
Easy to prepare, chicken breasts are a versatile dinner staple. But they are also expensive. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are an inexpensive alternative. They are a little more work to trim excess fat, but they are still healthy and full of flavor. Add some potatoes and vegetables, or throw on a salad and voila! Dinner is served.
Source: Leiblomi on Flickr
We are in no way saying to completely cut out fresh vegetables from your diet. But did you know that frozen vegetables are just as healthy as those sitting in the produce section? They also tend to be cheaper. For your next stir fry or crockpot meal, throw in a frozen bag of mixed vegetables. No one will know the difference.
Source: Niekverlaan on Flickr
Buying dry beans in bulk instead of canned beans is an effective way to save money at the grocery store. The regular price of a bag of dry beans is around $1.79 and will make about 12 one-half cup servings of cooked beans. In comparison, the cost of a 15 oz. can of pinto beans (brand name) is around $1.69 and makes 3 one-half cup servings. Yes, added cooking is involved. But you can make a large batch and then freeze extra portions to have around for later.
Source: Jun Seita on Flickr
Sure, a trip to the local farmers market is a great way to begin the day. But if you want to save money, shop just before the market closes. This is when vendors start slashing prices in order to get rid of inventory before packing up and heading back to the farm. We all want to support local business, but it sure feels great to pick up healthy greens and baked goods at reduced prices.
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Choosing to buy any food in bulk will save you money. Reach for the large yogurt container instead of the individual serving sizes on your next grocery run. This is not only cheaper and better for the environment, but also healthier because the 32-ounce cartons usually come in plain or vanilla, which have less added sugar. Just spoon into a bowl or travel container and top with fresh fruit for a nutritious snack.
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A fruit is going to cost more on the grocery store shelf if it is not in season. For example, you want to buy oranges in winter instead of berries. Buy strawberries during the months of April through June. Skip organic apples in March and buy them in October during peak harvest.
>> SEE MORE: Best Fruits and Vegetables to Grill This Summer
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Save some cash buy growing your own windowsill herb garden. There are plenty of herbs that grow inside all year long like basil, rosemary, lavender, mint, thyme, and parsley. Fresh herbs are a nutritious and delicious addition to any home cooked meal.
Source: Rob & Dani on Flickr
Once again, buying in bulk pays off. Reach for large bags of rice and other grains. Grains are versatile pantry staples with a long shelf life. And if you feel getting through a bag in your lifetime would be impossible, go in on the purchase with a friend and divide it up when you get home.
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Sure, precut fruit is convenient, but it usually comes with a price. There is a significant mark up for those neatly packaged carrots that are cut into strips and containers of watermelon ideal for afternoon snacking. On your next trip to the grocery, pick up a pineapple to cut up and enjoy at home. Or put the fruit in a travel container and take to work.
The foods we put into a body directly impact how we feel and look. Making sure our diet is full of nutrients and variety is critical for disease prevention. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Start adding these food swaps to your grocery list and you’ll enjoy wholesome and delicious meals while staying on budget.