The notion of healthy eating may sound expensive to many, but as Nutrition Expert Lindsey Kane shows us, it has never been easier to do it on a budget. Here are 5 ways to get the best nutritional bang for your buck!

“Healthy eating is too expensive.”  It’s a phrase that is heard all of the time. But in reality, unhealthy eating has bigger costs and isn’t the most productive way to spend.

First, some nutrition economics: Why do we eat? Plain and simple, we eat to nourish our bodies with the nutrients we need to thrive. Secondly, what is productive spending? Productive spending is getting the most value out of every dollar.

But how do we define “value” in the world of food shopping?

I challenge you to take a moment and ask yourself:  When I purchase food, am I thinking about how many nutrients I am getting for every dollar? If we can switch our mindsets, we can redefine “productive spending” to be about maximizing the amount of nutrients per dollar.

I am a firm believer that there is no “one size fits all” diet out there. We are all unique, and we all have different nutrition requirements. That being said, I believe we can all benefit from the following:

  • Eating Whole Foods: Eat as close to nature as possible.
  • Being Plant-strong: Reconfigure your plate, let plants be the star of the show.
  • Reaching for Healthy Fats: Get your fats from whole plant sources such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olives.
  • Striving for a Nutrient-dense Plate: Pack in as many nutrients per bite as possible.

Essentially, eat real food. Makes total sense, right?

Here are some tips to get the most nutritional bang in your grocery basket:

Look for local produce.

While some produce can travel over 1,000 miles to get from the farm to the store, local produce requires little transportation costs – making it easier for local farmers to offer quality produce at a lower price! Bonus: shopping locally benefits you, our local farmers, and the planet.  For inspiration check your nearest farmer’s market.

Check out the frozen department.

This is the ultimate unsung hero of the grocery store. It’s where fresh stays fresh! These fruits and veggies are picked at the peak of their nutrition and flash frozen to lock in all of those nutrients.  Plus, frozen veggies are already chopped and blanched, which cuts prep and cooking time in half. A veggie stir-fry dinner can now be ready in five minutes. Frozen fruit is perfect for your smoothies or warmed up in your morning oatmeal.

Buy in bulk. 

From millet to farro (my favorite), quinoa to amaranth, there are so many amazing whole grains to explore and the Bulk Department is the perfect place to do so. Why? Because not only do you get to choose how much or how little you want, but buying in bulk also avoids the cost of packaging (a savings that gets passed on). Get a head start on a New Year’s Resolution by trying one new whole grain each week. Cook up a batch and freeze half for later!

Choose quality meat, seafood, or specialty items.

Choose quality over quantity – it’s better for your health AND your wallet.  Talk to the fishmongers, meat butchers, and cheesemongers – they will cut your meat, fish, and cheese to-order and they are happy to recommend a high quality (read: flavorful) product, so that a little goes a long way. And of course, fill up the rest of your plate with veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Prepared food is your new ‘fast food’.

Need a quick and convenient meal with no surprises at checkout? Look for fixed-priced items in the prepared foods department, which can have many healthier options to choose from than a quick fast food stop.

For more shopping tips, check out the full article.  

Lindsey Kane, MS, RD, LDN is a San Francisco-based Registered Dietitian helping others live a stress-free, balanced, and thriving life. By getting to know her clients inside and out, Lindsey identifies the opportunities within their everyday lifestyle to integrate subtle changes that create lasting, impactful results. Learn more at Bite For Change!