Okay, eating health‘ier’ doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes, I agree that health is an investment. I’ve heard over and over that fresh fruits and vegetables only stay in good condition for about a week or two after you buy them from the grocery store - and who is going to go running back every week for a bag of spinach or navel oranges? I mean, me, probably, but I am one freakish health junky.
There definitely has to be a happy medium when deciding what to buy and how often to buy it. It’s so easy to tell ourselves to buy that bag of chips because it’ll last longer than any fresh produce will; and “hey, that means I save a trip to the store, right?” That actually may be further from the truth, and here’s why…
Check out these 5 easy-to-use principles when grocery shopping that will save your wallet while also saving your health.
1. Processed food thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, processed foods like chips, cereals, cookies, etc. do not always last longer than fresh produce. Although they last forever on A shelf, they will not last forever on YOUR shelf. See what I did there? Food companies process these “foods” with sugar and other savory chemicals to make you keep coming back to it. It’s addictive. It’s easy to stop eating a bag of grapes when your full, but do notice how hard it is to stop eating that savory bag of chips? I bet you that bag of chips would be gone before those grapes would…
2. Storage. Have you properly stored fresh produce? Potatoes need to be kept in a cool, dry, dark place. Berries should have some ventilation while being refrigerated. Bananas should be left out at room temperature to ripen, but then placed in the refrigerator to keep that ripeness longer.
3. Freeze fruits. Freeze those bananas that you left in the refrigerator too long (this is how I make my oatmeal when I am out of the fresh stuff…)
4. Buy frozen or canned. Here’s the general rule of thumb: Fresh > Frozen > Canned > none. This goes by the nutrients left in the produce when they hit the shelves at the supermarket. Always stock up on frozen vegetables - always. They are so easy to make and throw on the side, in a casserole, or even in your lunch bag. Although they may not be the best nutrient wise, they are the best when it comes to convenience. Some is better than none.
Side note: Make sure to wash/strain your canned fruits or vegetables, especially if they come in fruit juice or high sodium sauces. Otherwise buy canned items that are labeled with “in water” and “no-to-low sodium”.
5. Where are you shopping? Aldi’s can be great for saving money; however, the fresh fruits and vegetables can be a hit or miss. I have seen some not-so-fresh foods there before, but that’s not the case with everyone. It truly depends on when you go. If you can, pick your grocery shopping date on the day when the new shipment of fresh fruits and veggies comes in (if you can figure that out)!
If you have a family, Costco or Sam’s Club is a great store! Buy in bulk for a cheaper per item price. It’s a bigger sum at the cash register, but it’s a money saver in the long run. Plus you can order online and potentially get money back at the end of the year.