Nutritional BANG for your BUCK: Tips for healthy grocery shopping on a budget

Nutritional BANG for your BUCK

Guest Post – For more nutrition advice visit www.lknutrition.com

As a self-proclaimed “FalafeLover” (and “many-other-foods-lover”) in Brooklyn, grabbing a yummy meal at one of the Big Apple’s thousands of amazing eateries is pretty par-for-the-course when it comes to socializing & enjoying New York City life.

BUT, eating out’s not always super budget friendly…

(9 bucks for a measly chicken sandwich… Say what??)

In an effort to save some moola, I committed to avoiding (*almost* all) restaurant-dining in March – as part of my blog series, where I challenge myself to add or eliminate a new “habit” each month. My overall goal for this challenge was to food shop and cook more frugally, without sacrificing the nutritional quality of my meals.

One major take-away has been learning how to better navigate the aisles of my local grocery store, and identify the most low-cost/nutrient-dense foods. News flash to the health-and-budget conscious: healthy home-cooking can still be quite expensive (especially in the city), IF you’re not savvy about it….

….But have no fear, Falafelover is here! To let you know that it IS possible to eat well without breaking your bank account.  And now presenting…

FalafeLover’s TOP HEALTHY/CHEAP GROCERY LIST

Grains/Starches

  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes (white or sweet)

Protein

  • Canned beans (any kind – but my fav is Garbanzo, obviously, being a Falafelover, and all :))
  • Tofu (extra firm for highest protein content)
  • Eggs
  • Canned tuna or sardines (in water)
  • Cottage cheese (plain, low-fat)

Fruit

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears

Non-starchy veggies

  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots

Healthier fats

  • Peanut butter (without added sugar/salt)
  • Avocados
  • Raw nuts (unsalted, in bulk – more cost-effective)

Bonus tips for getting most nutritional bang for your buck:

  • Go for the generic brand whenever you have the option– there’s almost always no difference in the quality
  • For canned beans, make sure to rinse out the excess salt
  • Cook a big pot of rice or pasta for the week, and then portion it out and use as a base for different stir-fries, soups, etc.
  • Produce prices ebb and flow big time depending upon what season we’re in. Berries are cheaper in summer, and squash is cheaper in fall/winter, for example. Go for the produce that’s in-season when you can (it’s fresher and yummier, too).
  • Don’t worry about buying organic. It’s not worth it, in my opinion. Just wash your produce well, and you’ll be good to go.
  • Skip the protein/granola/energy bars and make your own healthy snacks, like a DIY trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and little pieces of chocolate.
  • Invest in a water bottle and enjoy nature’s healthiest and cheapest form of hydration, H20! Skip the vitamin-infused stuff (way over priced for the lack of nutritional value it offers) and the juice (fresh fruit is cheaper – 30 cents for an orange versus 1 or 2 bucks for a bottle of OJ).

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  1. When it comes to eating on a budget, Sweet Potatoes have been a lifesaver in my household. They make you feel stuffed and they stick with you for quite a while. Thanks for sharing your experiences! 🙂

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