Nutrition & Dieting/Lost
My fiance and always try and change our eating habits.. we have been successful at no sodas, almost no butter or fried foods, very little sweets, but we have such a hard time shopping for "healthy" meals.
It is him, I and our 2 year old son. We go to the store weekly and buy fruits, veggies and some general breakfast and lunch stuff and then our main dinners, all for around 90$.
We dont eat super bad but we dont eat really good either, we eat a ton of pasta still. But it seems like when we go shopping for a week of healthy food we spend 150$ or more on food for 2 people ( our son gets his own food).
I always have a weekly menu that I make up and I then make a grocery list off of that and we ONLY buy what is on that list. Is it just that expensive to eat healthy? Or do you have any tips for making the menu and list as small and cheap as possible?
It is a common misconception that eating well is expensive. I think this comes from the foods that are marketed as healthy and fancy grocery stores like Whole Foods. Personally I'll walk around a Whole Foods just for the hell of it every so often just to see what they have, but I have spent all of $15.00 there in the past 5 years.
You just have to spend some extra time in your regular grocery store and compare. Excuse me if this response is a bit jumbled. I'm just listing things as they pop in my head.
Produce can be costly depending on where you live and the season. Vegetables tend to cost less than fruits so its good to stock up on them. I noticed a trend in the past 10-15 years of grocery stores charging by weight as opposed to a straight price. Heavy stuff like melons can end up costing you. Look for packaged vegetables that have straight prices. Spinach and broccoli are two of the most popular. I can often get 2 10 ounce packages of broccoli for $5.00 in one of those "sales" that never seem to go away.
The great thing is this stuff is just the same as the loose produce and you know what you're paying for. And a plus is they have their own storage bag or container. Just remember they are still fresh and have the same life as the loose stuff.
Another thing you can do is buy fruit in season. Personally I love blue berries and there is this tiny window in the beginning of summer where they are dirt cheap. Then the price sky rockets. However your more common fruits like apples and bananas are usually evenly priced year round.
You can also buy frozen. this is another case of straight cost vs. by weight. Frozen fruits and vegetables are normally flash frozen immediately after harvest, thus they are as fresh as buying them from the farm. The freezing does not hurt the nutrients and it prolongs the shelf life without harmful additives.
Since you say you eat lots of pasta try a whole wheat. Its usually the same price. I just stocked up on Barilla pasta because they were 10 for 10. Another thing you might try is Barilla Plus. This is specially made with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Again it ranges from $1.00-2.50 a box. And being Italian I'm a pasta snob so I won't buy just anything.
Eggs are a great source of protein that are cheap enough. You don't need to be concerned with the brown eggs or organic. Sure they have benefits but also cost another dollar or 2. Buy the 18 count egg cartons, its usually only about a dollar more and lasts longer.
You can buy stuff like beans and brown rice for next to nothing. And with bread just opt for 100% whole wheat from common brands. I like the bread from OroWheat but it tends to cost more. I buy a brand called Nature's Own for about a dollar less.
As I said before its fine to skip the fancy labels like organic and high priced stores like Whole Foods.
I myself have 2 kids and on average we spend about $60.00-$90.00 a week. My family has been on some hard times lately and we've mastered being "poor". This includes some unnecessary stuff too like chips, cookies, and some cheat meal stuff. The cookies are for my kids "honest!"
Another thing you might try is a fitness industry trick of cooking all of your meals for the week in one day. This is actually done for time management. However from a cost perspective you buy what you need and use it then and there. It also prevents the going once or twice a week. I know that when I will go a few times a week to buy this and that, I rarely leave without spending at least $10.00.
Hopefully this helped you out. The main thing is to just find the best priced store. Do you have stores like Fresh & Easy or Sprouts where you live? They tend to have goo
As a final note, if you have any of the "99 Cents Only' chain of stores by you, they've started carrying produce. Surprisingly I found asparagus there that was actually fresher than the regular grocery store and didn't cost $3.00 a bunch.