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8 Budget-Friendly Grocery Shopping Tips For When You’re On a Diet

May 18, 2016

Eat better without breaking the bank

1. Plan ahead.
Last-minute grocery trips often lead to unneeded items and higher bills. Taking a few minutes to plan meals, incorporate weekly specials, check off items needed, and create a list before you shop gets you organized and saves you money. Put your list in a prominent place so you won’t forget it, and then stick to it.

2. Pick real food.
By “real food,” we mean foods in their natural state (such as apples versus sweetened, colored applesauce) or foods with as little processing and additives as possible. A good tip is to look for foods that contain five or fewer ingredients. Being able to pronounce and identify all five ingredients is a good sign too. These less processed foods are often cheaper than their processed counterparts, and usually contain more nutrients, fewer calories, and less sodium, added sugar, and fat.

Read more: How to Eat Clean

3. Buy in season.
Buying fresh produce can quickly add up, but knowing what fruits and vegetables are in season and then building your menus around those can save you up to $3 per pound or container. When produce is at its prime or “in season,” the quantities are plentiful, so the basic economics principle comes into effect: as supply increases, price decreases. For quick reference of what’s in season and when, see What’s in Season?

4. Opt for frozen veggies.
Frozen produce has a longer shelf life and helps with quick meal prep, but it’s also much cheaper than fresh since it’s picked and frozen when supply is plentiful. Stock up on your favorite vegetables when plain frozen varieties (no cheese or butter sauce) go on sale to make it easier—and less expensive—to consume more vegetables daily. And, because most fruits and vegetables are frozen soon after being harvested, frozen produce has the same amount of nutrients as fresh—sometimes more. If you have leftover fresh produce that you know you won’t use before it spoils, simply freeze it!

Read more: How to Freeze Veggies