Buying healthy foods may be the best way to spend your money, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it can be pretty pricey. This is especially true if you’re seeking out top-quality ingredients like organic produce and grass-feed, free-range, and/or hormone-free meats. Indeed, in today’s fast food economy many people simply can’t afford to eat healthfully. But this issue isn’t insurmountable – there are ways to shop for top-rate ingredients on a budget. Ahead, we’re sharing some of them.
Get to know your butcher
With meat, it’s best to go to the source. Not only are you getting a higher quality product, you have the option to buy in bulk. You can save upwards of 35% if you do so; look to split the cost (and the meat!) with your family and friends. If you really get to know your butcher, discuss regularly buying in bulk for a preferred rate.
Hit the farmer’s market
Farmer’s markets are an amazing way to support local industry, shop affordably, and get access to the freshest ingredients out there. I love the farmer’s market for produce, but also for staples like milk, eggs, bread, and even fish and meats. A trick I have is actually to hit the market at the end of the day. Yes, the selection is more limited, but you’re more likely to be able to strike up a deal and get products at a discount, including "ugly" or lightly bruised fruits and veg. (Also, I have found fishmongers are willing to bargain with you in order to sell off inventory at the day’s end.) Signing up for a CSA or negotiating a bulk discount rate with your local grower are two other smart ways to save money, too.
Buy staples in bulk
Shopping the bulk section of the grocery store is a must if you're trying to save money. I use this area to buy things like nuts (and nut butter!), seeds, legumes, oats, and grains. These staples are always more competitively priced than their branded and packaged counterparts.
Check out ethnic markets
These are great places to pick up things like spices, seasonings, and condiments like tahini or tamari at a more affordable price. Amina loves hitting them to shop for things like exotic fruits, too -- noted!
Grocery stores and health markets alike always have items on discount. Seek out those sales and meal plan around them. Alternatively, if a product you know and love goes on sale – such as your favorite olive oil or peanut butter – buy a bunch at a time and save yourself some money down the road.
Get thee some canned fish
Supermarket seafood is notoriously expensive, but canned seafood is a whole different story. There is plenty of really delicious, high-quality canned fish out there for a fraction of the price. One of our favorites is Wild Planet Foods, which operates sustainably and uses BPA-free cans.
Buying fresh fruits and veggies can be really expensive, which is why it’s worth checking out their frozen counterparts. Not only are they more affordable, new research suggests that they’re more nutritious, too. That’s because frozen fruits are picked ripe and then frozen, making them more nutrient-rich than their fresh counterparts that have been hanging around on a shelf (or on an airplane) for days.
When in doubt, DIY
Don’t have the dough to shell out for a fancy protein bars or prepackaged snacks? Make them at home! From almond butter cups to protein snowballs, we have plenty of suggestions for DIY snacks on the blog, or check out this protein bar recipe Amina just posted on her Instagram. By making your own snacks like these, you’ll save money and be healthier, too.