Most people think that eating healthy is too expensive. Shopping at Whole Foods or in the organic section of the grocery store seems out of reach. But healthy, real food eating doesn’t have to be expensive. It just takes some preparation and planning to pull it off.
So today, I want to talk about how to stock a healthy pantry, with real food, on a budget. What budget? That’s up to you. But saving money and making smart choices is the name of the game here.
6 Tips to Stock A Healthy Pantry On A Budget
1. Shop the weekly specials
Everyone gets the weekly special flyers in the mail from their local grocery store, right?
Maybe you just ignore them or throw them away because you think they are a waste of time or only have processed food on sale. But next time they come in the mail, you might want to take another look.
Most of the time you can find some good deals in your local grocery store’s weekly specials. Many times seasonal produce is on sale because they are trying to get rid of it. You may also find good deals on meat and frozen foods.
So read the flyer, make a list and then make your meal plan around what’s on sale (especially the fresh food), so you don’t waste anything.
You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to use the weekly specials to your advantage. So check them out!
2. Buy in bulk when available
Buying in bulk, especially for staples such as baking ingredients, rice, spices and other real food necessities makes sense and will save you money in the long run.
You can go to a membership store like Sams or Costco for bulk items. But you can also buy them in your regular grocery store or through online retailers like Amazon.
Just make sure that when you buy in bulk you are storing your items properly so bugs or rodents don’t get inside. You will also want to store them in a cooler part of your house to increase longevity.
3. Pick the store brand
When shopping at your local grocery store, don’t get caught up in the name brand hype.
I would say 98% of the time, the store name brand is just as good as the name brand. And it’s almost always cheaper.
So save money by buying the store brand and get more bang for your buck.
4. Don’t buy single use items
When you get into the real food world, sometimes you find people that are overzealous with their recipes. They put things in their food that you’ve never heard of before.
While that might be fun and exciting for them as chefs and recipe creators, it can make it more difficult for the normal mom to make.
I would stay away from recipes that use ingredients you will only use once. Exotic spices or hard to find grains can be costly and you probably won’t use them all before they expire.
In this case, I would look for a simpler recipe or replace the single use item with something you’re more likely to use often. Wasting food (especially expensive exotic ingredients) can take money out of your food budget for no reason.
5. Don’t buy everything organic
Organic food is better for us, no question. If all food was organic in the world, the overall health of everyone would be better.
But when it comes to buying organic at the grocery store, you don’t need to spend the extra money on every item.
The best way to know which fruits/vegetables you should buy organic and which ones aren’t necessary, consult The Dirty Dozen list. It’s updated every year, so make sure you find the newest one.
If you have a garden, you can supplement your organic needs by growing you own organic food. It is very satisfying and if done right can save you money.
6. Keep things simple
I saved the best tip for last.
When trying to eat healthy, real food, sometimes you can go overboard in your excitement to start.
The best thing to do is to keep it simple. Simple meals. Simple meal plans. Repeat daily meals such as breakfast and lunch so that you don’t have to come up with new things everyday.
This will help your budget because you will know what those things cost and when you find a deal you can stock up.
Make simple recipes that use real food basics. Grow food at home if you can.
Switching from the Standard American Diet to a real food, healthy diet can be overwhelming.
Hopefully these tips will help you save money while you increase your health. The best of both worlds!
Do you have any other tips to stock your pantry on a budget? Let us know in the comments below. And if you feel this post was helpful, please share. Thanks!