An easy way to buy healthy, cost-conscious food

Start (or reset) a healthy diet.

Dark background with brightly colored foods such as tomatoes, oranges, mushrooms, cheese, eggs, celery, watermelon, salmonIf you’ve neglected your commitment to eating healthy, three months into the year is a good time to recalculate. And if you’re leaving your home base or school soon to find groceries for yourself (plus or minus your roommate), this is a great time to learn about healthy, low-cost options for your grocery list.

Basic: Weekly Shop

A healthy diet is one rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans or lentils), whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Trying to fill your cart with all these goodies can be overwhelming. But think about it from two perspectives.

“Get two different colored fruits, two vegetables, and two lean proteins: fresh fish, frozen fish, canned fish, and poultry,” says Nancy Oliveira, registered dietitian and administrator. , lean turkey, or plant-based options.” Director of Nutrition and Wellness Services at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Oliveira also recommends getting two foods in each of these categories on your weekly shopping trips.

  • Plant proteins such as canned or dried beans, tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains such as whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown or black rice, quinoa and farro
  • Dairy or non-dairy products such as fat-free Greek yogurt or cheese.

Try adding a healthy treat or snack or two like hummus or dried apricots.

Should I choose organic food?

Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides associated with many health issues. Scientists in the United States debate whether foods grown with organic fertilizers (such as animal waste) are safe for health, but other countries, including European Union countries, are still using them in the United States. We are banning or phasing out synthetic pesticides.

That doesn’t mean everything you buy has to be organic. They tend to absorb more chemicals than thick-skinned ones.

The Environmental Working Group produces an annual list to help shoppers avoid pesticide-heavy produce, and another list that highlights the least contaminated produce.

Purchasing cost-conscious perishables and staples

Healthy foods, especially organic produce, have a reputation for being expensive. Shop with a little comparison and save money at the grocery store by following Oliveira’s tips.

  • Shop at smaller stores with fewer options.
  • Never enter a store hungry as you may end up buying more than you normally would.
  • Carry a shopping list and stick to it.
  • Go directly to the passage you need. Avoid browsing elsewhere that may lead to extra purchases.
  • Be flexible, have several options within your food category, and pick out deals.
  • Always check the day-ahead produce cart for fresh, whole-edible produce at 50% to 75% off regular prices.
  • Buying unseasoned canned or frozen whole foods such as vegetables, poultry, and fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) is often cheaper than fresh.
  • Wait for the sale of healthy, non-perishable staples such as quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, and high-fiber cereals.
  • Please use coupons and coupon apps.

Healthy snacks within reach

Move away from simple grab-and-go snacks, which are typically processed foods. They often contain unhealthy ingredients and encourage overeating. Instead, Oliveira suggests keeping healthy snacks on hand, such as:

  • unsalted mixed nuts
  • string cheese
  • grapes and berries (rinse before serving)
  • Clementines, bananas, or other fruits that don’t need to be washed
  • nut butter or hummus cake
  • fat free greek yogurt
  • Peeled hard-boiled eggs.

“To save money, buy certain foods in bulk whenever possible, such as 8-ounce cheese bars, and slice them into small cubes and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator,” says Oliveira. .

Crowdsourced shopping tips and savings

Don’t be shy about asking for shopping tips from friends and family who have already developed shortcuts, and grocery store staff who can offer insider advice.

You can also ask the app for help. Oliveira recommends two of his favourites.

  • Mealime is a meal planning app with simple, healthy, plant-based recipes that automatically create a shopping list for your ingredients.
  • List Ease creates a list of grocery stores. You can search for items to add them, or scan barcodes to add them to your list.

“If you don’t want to use an app, jot down notes after a quick inventory of your pantry or fridge, or text yourself every time you remember something you need,” Oliveira advises. “With a little practice, you’ll quickly find the system that works best for you.”

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