Monday, October 4, 2010

A Better Bag of Groceries...

Here's half my grocery loot from my shopping trip 2-3 weeks ago.
FYI -  The canned frosting was for the pumpkin cupcake recipe, and
I needed to restock on Crisco for my AWESOME homemade pizza crust!
 I have to give credit of this blog post title to a fabulous blogger by the name of Melissa. Her healthy living blog is actually called A Better Bag of Groceries. I just think it's so catchy and so fitting for what I wanted to write about today.... a better bag of groceries.

So if I had a nickel for every time I heard, "Well I think I would eat healthier/more organic/locally/clean, etc etc etc if it weren't SOOOOO expensive." Let me break it down for you folks... I'm a single-income twenty-something girl who is still finishing her undergrad degree (c'mon Dec.18th graduation!) So, to say I live on a budget is an understatement. Here are some of my favorite tips when it comes to eating healthy (at home) on a budget.

Here's the rest of my purchases: I think I spent around $60, this food lasted me about 2 weeks... though I restocked on produce when needed. PS - I went ahead and threw 3 of the 6 chicken breasts into the freezer for later (they were majorly on sale!)

1. Save where you can. Hello! Bananas need not be purchased organic... unless you eat the peel, which if you do... you have bigger problem than I can help you with. So... I will buy bananas sprayed with pesticide (I'm only eating the inside, yall!) BUT I will not buy non-organic dairy products, specifically milk. I won't judge you if you do, I swear. But after struggling with the battle for a looooooo-ooong time of "Do or Don't I," I finally decided I needed to make the investment in organic milk, therefore investing in my health. I was drinking an entire gallon of milk by myself over the course of about 7 days. I don't want osteoporosis! I kept hearing myself say, "Ok I can buy an entire gallon of non-organic milk, or buy 1/2 gallon of organic milk for the same price! Eek!" After much research and deliberation, I realized if I AM consuming this much milk, I don't want to be taking in all THOSE hormones. If you're interested in learning more about why it's a good thing to make the switch, check out this article Organic Milk: A Pint of the Right Stuff.

2. Shop around! I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at Kroger... however I supplement with produce from the Farmer's Market, Whole Foods, and (shocking) Super Target. I've found that Super Target has become my biggest allie when it comes to healthy food shopping. I have a hard time driving by a Target without stopping (don't we all,) I mean I always need something! Next time you're there, check out their deals on healthy and organic products. I guarantee that on any given day (we're talking without sale prices factored in,) the products from these brands will cost you anywhere from $0.50 - $2.00 cheaper than you would find at Kroger. No, seriously! Some of my faves:
  • Cascadian Farms
  • Amy's
  • Kashi
  • Nature's Own
  • Stonyfield
3. Don't be a hoarder! Especially on the fresh stuff! If you don't think that you'll be able to eat 3 avocados, 7 bananas, 4 plums, a bunch of green leaf lettuce, 5 apples, and partridge in a pear tree all before they spoil... THEN DON'T BUY IT! You know that book French Women Don't Get Fat that was so hot a few years ago? Well one of the things I took away from that was that french women don't go grocery shopping like they're saving up for winter. Buy what you need for what you need, when you need it. That way you reduce the amount of spoiled food that gets tossed. Now, I am the kind of girl that likes to go on a big bi-weekly grocery shopping trip, but I don't really STOCK UP on fruit, vegetables, etc. I buy what I need to replenish in my pantry and whatever fresh stuff I'll be using in the next few days. Then I go back for produce as needed. In case you are looking for a creative way to use up the head of cauliflower, zucchini, pork chops, and apple when they're on their last leg... meet Love Food, Hate Waste. It is the ultimate resource for those of us who, well... hate to waste food. Leftover lovers unite! Yia yia!

4. Jeez... don't be such a snob. Of store brands that is. Sure, I just listed some of my favorite brands under rule number two. But I'm not above buying store brands. Store brands such as 365 (Whole Foods,) Private Selection (Kroger,) and Archer Frams (Target) all feature organic products nowadays. Plus, you vote with your dollars people!!! By purchasing more organic foods (name brand or not) your telling food producers that we want organic, but we also don't want to spend an arm and a leg on it! I'm a fan of Private Selection's organic canned beans (black, navy, hot, I love 'em all.) Check out some of the examples below... Private Selection to the left, and 365 to the right:

5. Eat out less! I can't remember the last time I ran through a fast food joint. Conveinance food pack a hefty price (on your waistline and wallet...) and that includes dining out. A little planning on a Sunday afternoon before you head to the store will go a long way. I try to keep my dining out dollars to frozen yogurt with some of my girlfriends, rather than a $20 meal that I could have made myself (and probably would have tasted better) for a 1/3 of the cost. Bored of your stand-by recipes? Allow me to share one of my ABSOLUTE favorite simple and delicious cooking blogs. For The Love of Cooking. The blogger behind this fabulous collection of no-nonsense recipes (and fabulous food photography) is a sweet little stay-at-home mother of two young children. Her recipes are full of flavor, using the freshest and organic (when possible) ingredients. I guarantee after browsing through her archive you will find yourself drooling in no time and feel inspired to give more than one of her recipes a whirl. I love that they're not time consuming and don't include a laundry list of ingredients. Plus you'll find new spins on tons of old favorites... I think I once counted 5 different recipe variations for lasagna that she's created over the course of her 2 year blogging expedition. I would love to attend a recipe swap with this gal!

Do yall have any tips for eating healthy on a budget?


  1. Don't forget, you can always peel and freeze your bananas when they are starting to turn brown and then throw them in your Green Monster! MMMMM

  2. Christen! So true! That is one of my favorite things to do with bananas once they get all spotty!

  3. Great post! I adopted a lot of your tips over the past few months to save money. We're a family of four so our weekly grocery bill can be pretty daunting sometimes. I typically go to Albertons & Sprouts for groceries and will go to Costco for some items. I've learned not be hoarder because, you are right, I often over estimate how long produce will survive at home. I recently started to eat more of a vegetarian diet, too, which has helped.