Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How To Eat Healthy Without Spending A Fortune

Scott and I are some seriously healthy eaters. 
The food we eat is almost always delicious (to me, anyway). My mom lost 5 pounds when she stayed with us for a week. My sister brings her own junk food. As I have told you before, we also live in Frugal Land.

So, here are our tips on how to eat healthy while staying on a budget:

Coupons! No, I am not quite this guy.

Mr. Soup Cart photo from here
Before Cora came into town Scott and I used to be big on the coupons. We cut coupons from the paper for a bit but it took too much time. We tried buying coupons from websites like The Coupon Clippers but that also took a little more time than we wanted it to. Now, Scott is down to just one coupon method. He prints them online. He just checks Southern Savers about once a week for Harris Teeter deals.
He only prints coupons for things we need or things we use. Sometimes we have an abundance of something that we use a lot but we never buy junk just because it is a good deal.

We buy certain things at certain stores. It does take a little more time than doing just one grocery trip. However, I usually only have a few, short windows of time since my schedule involves Cora's naps. So, it actually works better for me to do a couple quick trips to the grocery store rather than one big one. Plus, I hate the grocery store. The less time I spend in one the better.
Here are some examples of what we buy from certain stores:
We are members of Costco but you really don't have to be to eat healthy on a budget. Costco has a good deal on pineapples. They sell a package of two 32oz containers of Greek Yogurt for about $5. They have a giant bag of spinach that barely fits in our fridge for about $5. They have organic quinoa for a really good deal (most grocery stores charge about 3 times as much).
Harris Teeter sells a bag of two small avocados for $1.27 and loose kale for $.99/lb.
Trader Joes has very reasonably priced organic and regular produce.
Compare Foods (our Latin grocery store) usually has cheap onions, mangoes, avocados, and jalapenos.
Cora and her Trader Joe bag

If you have an Earth Fare near you consider yourself lucky. They have lots of healthy food but they are not a great deal price-wise. However, they have weekly deals that you can sign up to get. They used to have amazing deals like spend $9 and get $5 off. Their deals are not quite that good anymore but they can still assist you in eating healthy on a budget.

Choose cheaper food! Scott puts onions in most of our food- because we love them and because they are inexpensive. Dried beans are great for you and also do not break the bank! Bananas, avocados, kale... there is lots of super healthy food that is inexpensive.

Frozen food! Frozen food is usually cheaper than fresh food. When certain foods are out of season you can buy them frozen and they still taste fresh. Frozen food is also easier to cook with because it is already peeled or shelled. Also, make extra food when you are cooking and freeze it! That will save you time and money.

The freezer- one of her favorite places to check out

Don't use recipes, most of the time. Plan your meals according to what is on sale and not according to recipes. If Scott goes to the grocery store today and asparagus is $1 per bunch and broccoli is $.50/pound guess who is going to have stinky pee, and have broccoli bits stuck in their teeth this week! Scott is our master chef and he almost never uses a recipe. He gets his sweet skills from trial and error.

Eat seasonally. Whatever is in season is usually the cheapest (and the most delicious!). 

If you want to eat organic but don't want to spend a fortune choose to eat organic fruits and veggies that are in the "dirty dozen." 
The following 12 fruits and veggies are shown to contain the most pesticides. If you choose the organic  varieties of them you will be eating pesticide-free
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Imported spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Free meals!  Here is a list of restaurants that email you freebies for your birthday when you sign up for their email. Restaurants like Moes, Souper Salad, and Noodles & Company give you a free meal on your birthday and they have some healthy options.

Here comes the obvious

  • Don't go shopping when you're hungry
  • Use a customer card
  • Buy generic
  • Cut out the junk food (drink water instead of soda, kale chips instead of potato chips, salsa instead of queso... you get the gist).

And one last hint. Know what food is healthy. In general, stay away from anything that is very processed or white (white sugar, white flour). Less ingredients usually means better for you.

Good luck!


  1. Excellent advise.
    Scott's Kale chips are to die for!
    & yes I did lose a lot of weight the week I spent with L&S when Cora was born but I sure was missing junk food by the time I got home.
    I don't understand about the list of 12 fruit & veggies. You say they contain the most pesticides but go ahead and eat them!!!!

    1. Sorry it was unclear. If you only want to pick a few things to eat organic pick them. They contain the highest amount of pesticides. If you eat the organic version you will not get the pesticides. I will change it to make it more clear!

  2. Oh yes, finally some photos of Cora!

  3. This was very helpful and I loved the Cora photos!! I'm almost ready to start eating healthy. Two more weeks and I'll be cooking for myself.

  4. Great tips mazy! But what about the meeeeeeeeeeeeeeat deals huh?