Healthy Food Shopping Cheaper!

6:29 PM

Eating healthy and clean doesn't mean breaking the bank! It took me a long time to learn this and at first I panicked at some of the prices and many times I just gave up and went back to buying tins of baked beans full of sugar and salt and bottles of ready made sauces that have nothing on homemade.

Then I taught myself some little tips and tricks and now shopping to eat healthy is as easy as abc......

Yeah I went there......haha

Okay back on track! So for my family of four we survive on a food budget of $200 a week. Sometimes we get extras here and there but it is roughly around the $200 mark , give or take maybe $20. Lots of people are shocked by this when I tell them so I thought I would share my tips with you all so you can see how it happens. (generally our budget includes things like toilet paper, paper towels, washing liquid and all that jazz as well but it doesn't include our personal toiletries I have a separate budget for that)

I generally go shopping twice a week. The first day is a Thursday where I will do the bulk of my shopping and the second day is the Monday where I will get the last of the fresh produce and other staples to get us through to the next big shop.

Thursday is my pay day so I always start my big shop with a coffee to take around with me, I always get my LaCrema coffee, which is the best coffee in Adelaide and they serve it in the cafe right next to Coles so YAY!! If you haven't tried LaCrema coffee you really must! You can find it in lots of cafes around Adelaide or you can visit the LaCrema team at St Mary's for all your coffee needs.

Once coffee is ready, I am ready to go!!

My top tips for shopping cheaper and healthier: 

 Meal Plan and Shopping List
This is an absolute must for me. I always sit down on a Wednesday and plan a week of meals including breakfast's, lunches, dinners and snacks. I always look through my pantry and fridge to see if there is anything we need to use and I work around that. Meal planning is actually my favourite time of the week because I grab a cup of tea, recipe books and my Ipad (I love getting recipe ideas from Pinterest) and I just plan away! I get some input from the other members of the family as well especially from my daughter as she is vegan she prepares her own meals but we have 2 vegan nights a week so she doesn't always feel left out.

Once the plan is done I write out what ingredients I need to purchase and then I write the list one more time really neatly and in department order. Fruit and Veg, Meat, Dairy etc etc (i'm a little OCD).

All of this not only makes shopping easier but it also means i'm not wasting money preparing unnecessary meals when I already have things to use in the pantry.

Meal Prep
I think I have talked about meal prep a few times on this blog. I am a huge meal prep fan. It makes life so much easier and giving yourself a day or evening to prep a few meals is key to cheaper meals. If you can make a batch meal you can eat it twice for dinner OR take some for lunch another day. Easy peasy! I will do some future blog posts on meal prep to help you all out. I always do my meal prep on Sunday and make as many things as I can to save time.

Never Shop On An Empty Stomach
If you go shopping hungry you will buy things that are not on your list because you will crave more. It's dead simple to fix. Just eat before you go. If you stray from your list you will go over your budget. You will also be more likely to crave unhealthy snacks.

Shop As Little As Possible In the Aisles
The outside of your supermarket aisles is where most of the 'real' foods are. You will find your fruit and veg, your meats and your dairy products. In the aisles is where you will find everything else. My trolley is generally half filled with fruits and veg, some meats and then a small amount of everything else. A colourful fresh trolley is always more vibrant and healthy.

Fresh Produce Markets 
This kind of shopping can sometimes be time consuming especially if you are like me and don't live close to the city or country. I like to get to the Adelaide Central Markets as much as I can and occasionally I will shop at the Willunga Farmers Markets. If you can get to these kinds of markets you are in for a treat. Fresh produce like fruits and vegies are usually much cheaper and nicer than chain supermarkets and you know exactly where your produce came from just by talking to the stall holders. I find meats to be somewhat cheaper here as well but it is all about shopping around. Again this can sometimes take up time which sometimes you just don't have and I totally understand. Health products however can be a little dearer (in my opnion) so if you do have time just shop around and work out where you get the best price. I buy my nuts and dried fruits from Suntralis as I find them quite cheap compared to somewhere like Coles. After a while you will work out a routine of where you need to go to get the best price.

If you can't get to a market there are always awesome fruit and veg stores around who also have great bargains and are usually in close proximity to most supermarkets. Always check these guys out as well and frequent your local butcher for top quality meats.I purchased this chicken for just $5 at the Central Markets and seasoned it myself when I got home! YUM!

Storing Foods Appropriately
The OCD in me loves finding ways to store things nicely so I love this part. I find that strawberries go a bit funny in the tubs I get from the store and when you get 3 tubs for $5 there is always a tub that goes missing and is found at the back of the fridge two weeks later. When I get home from a shop I always empty packets where I can and store in airtight containers. This is great for fruit and veg because I chop and store them, making snacks and lunches quick and easy to grab. It also means no food is wasted when you get bargains like 2 for 1 etc and the fridge hides them.

I store all my nuts and dried fruits in containers in my cupboards so I always know where they are and can easily read the side labels when writing my shopping list.

Meal prepping also calls for good storage to be able to last longer so it is always good to invest in some good storage conatiners. I buy mine from Coles when they are on special.

Compare prices on the "unit cost" not the specials sticker! Like many people I would get excited seeing that bright coloured specials label on the shelf and grab the item thinking I had scored a bargain, but sometimes this isn't the case. I have learned thanks to my husband to always look at the price per 100gms or per litre etc which is always listed at the bottom of the docket. This also helps you out when deciding to buy in bulk. For instance I always bought smaller tubs of honey because $6 always sounds much better than $13 for the bigger tub, but by purchasing the bigger tub it lasts longer and usually works out cheaper per gm than the smaller tub. therefore saving you cash in the long run.

Always Read Your Labels
I used to buy muesli bars in the snack section. 6 muesli bars for $3 sounds like a bargain when you are walking round the store BUT if you actually read the nutritional labels on them you are just cramming your body full of sugar and stuff your body just doesn't even need. Basically if I read the labels and it has ingredients I can't even pronounce let alone have even heard of I put it back on the shelf. Now I make my muesli bars from scratch and it actually works out SO much cheaper as well. Grab a big bag of rolled oats, some honey and a bunch of nuts and seeds and you have delicious snacks on the go. I make mine on the Sunday to be used for the week easy peasy and you know exactly what was in it. I always read labels and also try and make most foods from scratch. Obviously some things are just too time consuming for some people to make from scratch. I understand that completely.....I am a working mum after all. But if you can make just some changes to homemade clean you are much closer to clean eating than most people so good on you :D It's all about motivation.

Shop in Season 
Buying avocadoes when they are in season costs about $1 - $2 buy it out of season and that avocado becomes $4 - $5. If you can shop in season you will save money on your items. So always pick meals to cook that have ingredients that are in season. They will also taste nicer :) If you really want your favourite mango smoothie but mangoes aren't in season stock your freezer up on frozen fruits until they come in season again!

 A little extra effort goes a long way
The other day I bought a whole pumpkin for $2 a kg! Right next to me a woman purchased a packet of pre cubed pumpkin which worked out to be $5 a pack and it was only a 1kg pack. I saved money just by coming home and cutting the pumpkin up myself. It took an extra 5 minutes of my day but I make time on after my shopping to slice and chop everything before I pack it away, like my pineapple, watermelon, pumpkin it saves money and I enjoy cutting everything to how I like it. The same goes for nuts etc. A bag of whole almonds is much cheaper than a pack of almond meal and a pack of peanuts is much cheaper than a pack of crushed nuts. If you pay attention to what you can do at home yourself you can save a bunch.

Use Your Freezer Wisely
If things like meat are on special buy a bunch of it portion it out and use it later to help save money. I store mine in freezer bags with the date on it. Also I like to make big batches of burger patties, salmon cakes, pancakes etc and freeze them in individual portions. I also freeze bananas when they start going brown for smoothies and my favourite banana bread!

Stay Happy and Healthy
Liane Xx

P.s sometimes I treat myself to a little something for all my hard work grocery shopping :P This week I grabbed this awesome watermelon bowl from Target to fill with yummy fruit salad. Perfect end to my shopping treat. Can't wait to sit down after dinner and share a big bowl of fruit and peanut butter yoghurt dip with the family!

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