So, one of the biggest MYTHS around eating healthy is that it has to cost a ton of money. That it means only shopping at expensive grocery stores, or buying specialty brands.
And while those do exist (and they can be helpful for finding certain items easier), I’m a full believer that you can find healthy food in any store. Why? Because my definition of “healthy” is just that it’s real food, pure and simple. And as close to it’s natural form as possible.
BIG NOTE HERE: There’s a BIG difference between this definition and what our culture and media teaches as healthy. In the media/culture/modern day we’re taught that healthy food is the stuff that’s marketed to us as healthy– with all it’s claims plastered on the front on it, whether it’s “vegan” “carb-free” “high in protein” “high in calcium”‘ “keto/paleo/gluten-free” . Truly— it’s a lot of talk, and a lot of noise, until you look at what’s actually IN that food, ingredient wise.
Which is why so many people think healthy food is expensive……because that stuff ^ (the processed health food that’s advertised as good-for-you) well, it IS expensive. And not always nutrient dense.
So, this is why I’m on a one-woman mission to keep changing that perspective. And to open people’s eyes to the fact that healthy eating CAN in fact be simple. And straight-forward. And beautiful. And delicious. And it doesn’t have to cost tons more than what you’re use to spending……if you know a few tricks.
So today, I wanted to share some easy ways to help you eat healthy, feed yourself and/or your family good food, AND not be such a stressful undertaking. Because when you can simplify your food and keep it focused on the real stuff, you simplify so much of your life.
And that’s always the goal.
The 6 best ways to save money on your groceries
Real food exists in every single store, and there are some secret tricks to know that can help you maximize your money and feed everyone in your family beautifully.
1. Stock your pantry with real-food basics.
This saves soo much time, because most of the items (if chosen well) can be made into 5 to 7 different dishes. It cuts down on store trips, you can save money by buying these things in bulk (or when there’s a sale), and it helps you get creative with what you’ve got.
Think things like: olive oil, beans, chicken broth, nuts, seeds, pasta, lentils, canned tomatoes (for a homemade tomato sauce for pasta or veggies, tomato-based soups & chilis, or to go with meatballs), quinoa & rice. From breakfast bowls to a quick bed for those frozen veggies & butter on a busy night, rice and quinoa are the ultimate easy pantry staple.
2. Have a PLAN.
Even if it’s loose. I’m gonna say this again, for the people in the back: Do NOT buy anything that you don’t have a specific plan for (outside of basics that you know you do use every week).
If you don’t have time to write a full grocery list, go with an outline. Something like: I know I need food for 2-3 dinners, 3 lunches, and 6 breakfasts this week. What veggies, protein, and pantry items will help you get there? Are there any ingredients that can be used in multiple ways and meals? Aka, spinach could work in a scramble, in a green smoothie for lunch or as salad base at night.
I see this so much with produce— people go in with the best of intentions for the week to cook every night at home and pick up 12 different veggies… and it just doesn’t happen because the veggies were random instead of a planned part of a meal. Often LESS is more in terms of veggies. Pick 3 to 5 that are in season and you know can be used in many ways and multiple meals.
If you need help planning your meals better, even if it’s just 2 or 3 of them each week, the #cookingclub was created for you! You can sort recipes based on ingredients you already have in your fridge, specific ones for the season, any sensitivities or allergies, type of dish, AND adjust serving sizes so you’re only buying what you need, AND it auto-generates a shopping list for you to double save you time.
3. Get into making a few freezer meals each month (or season).
This enables you to capitalize on organic meat going on sale, again…. *IF* you have a SPECIFIC plan for it. There’s nothing wrong with buying meat and freezing it straight up— IF you’ll actually defrost it and use it later.
But I’ll be honest—– I’m not the best with that. But I can get behind prepping a few freezer meals for later (aka, taking 30 minutes and assembling 4 to 6 uncooked meals in freezer bags and storing them away).
It’s usually used for crockpot & instantpot meals, but I’ve been going hard on creating lots of freezer to GRILL recipes for the #cookingclub for the summer months and I gotta say— it feels SO good. You save money but also SO MUCH TIME assembling it all at once. Then you have 6 meals ready to defrost any morning you want, and you can quickly throw it all on the grill. One time prepping and one time cleaning for them all.
Or, any kinds of soups, stews, chilis, or big casserole dish meals (like lasagna or enchiladas) that you make are GREAT options to double and freeze half of. If you’re already making one batch, might as well double up your ingredients and make two to save yourself time and grocery money for a meal or two in the future.
4. Join the instantpot club to turn humble basics into amazing dishes!
Truly, it is WORTH IT (and actually does save us money by making healthy dinners so simple & fast). If you have a instantpot already, you probs know how it can immediately prepare very inexpensive food that’s sometimes a pain to cook (dried beans, lentils, cheaper cuts of meat), in a short amount of time.
Buying some dried beans from a bulk section (to make hummus, soups, or cooked for deli style salads) is the perfect example. They cost pennies and are full of great protein & fiber. Or things like beets (fill instantpot with 1 cup water and place beets on trivet), or an organic whole chicken you can eat for the whole week— without spending an hour hovering over the oven.
(Bonus points for that in the summer especially. We don’t need to heat the whole house up with the oven when it’s 85+ degrees out.)
5. Check out your local CSA or farmer’s market boxes.
When you eat foods that are in season, oftentimes they are so much cheaper and coming off the truck like crazy at that time. Check around to see if you have a local CSA (i.e., community supported agriculture) or hit up your farmer’s market to see what you can find.
They will often provide locally grown, in-season produce (often organic, too) for less than the stores charge (because there’s no middle man between farmer & consumer). And, you’re supporting local farmers! Such a win for so many reasons.
The same can be true at the stores in terms of seasonal produce being cheaper, too. When you go to the store, think ahead and see what’s in season so you can plan some meals around the seasonal fruit & veggies that are on sale (instead of always buying bananas, apples, and broccoli each week). It keeps it fresh for your body too and keeps it fun around your table by trying different things throughout the year.
6. Supplement with more affordable resources.
I love using places like Thrive Market (they send it all right to your door and it’s all fully vetted companies and food brands you know you can trust), Costco and Trader Joe’s (if you’re willing to do some ingredient label hunting around, they do have some good stuff!). They ALL have organic and real-food staples at wholesale prices that are amazing for basics like organic peanut butter, nuts, grass-fed butter, pantry staples, and some produce, too.
The Cooking Club Is Opening Again Soon For Summer…
Feeling burned out of cooking after this year? We’ve got your back! The SRH Cooking Club is here to help you get inspired again with easy simple recipes you’ll love, and a meal planning tool & shopping lists that are fully customized to you and whatever you have on hand, so you can save so much money and time, while eating and feeding your family the best you ever have.