Is Cost Really an Excuse? (part 2 of 3)

August 10, 2012 / Alicia Johnson

Is Cost Really an Excuse? (part 2 of 3)

Check out the post from earlier this week for the first part of our series on money-saving tips for a healthy diet! In addition to the suggestions to plan ahead, shop smart and stock up, here are additional tips to eat healthy and stay within your budget.  


  • Choose produce wisely!
    • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables when in season. They cost less and taste better. When on special, stock up on fresh fruits that can be frozen (such as any kind of berry) and used later for smoothies or other healthy recipes.
    • Opt for whole fruit versus fruit juice. Juice costs more, is higher is calories, is less filling, and lacks in nutritional value compared to whole fruit.
    • Buy smaller amounts (more frequently) of fresh fruits and vegetables to avoid spoiling and waste.
    • Shop for produce at a farmers’ market. Many markets (but not all) offer better deals than a grocery store. If you go towards the end of the day, some vendors have reduced prices. Check out the SparkPeople farmers’ market guide for helpful tips.
    • Start your own garden. Seeds are inexpensive and fresh produce in your backyard is convenient and tasty.
    • You can also buy frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables.
    • If you’re left with produce that needs to be spiced up, use a recipe finder with a key ingredient search engine, such as the USDA Recipe Finder or Super Cook.


  • Vary your protein!
    • Choose protein foods that cost less such as beans, canned meat and fish, less expensive cuts of lean meat, frozen chicken tenderloins, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
    • Canned or dried beans can be used in soups, rice dishes and salads or paired with vegetables and served as the main course.
    • Check your grocer’s schedule for rotating and marking down the price of meat (same thing with produce). Just a one day difference in your purchase can save you money!
  • Limit dining out!
    • Review your financial and caloric budget and set a limit to the number of meals you eat out each week, especially fast food options.
    • Pack a healthy lunch and snacks to take to work each day!
    • When on the go, bring healthy snacks from home. This is cheaper and healthier than options from the vending machine or convenience store.
    • When you do eat out, first check the restaurants website for nutritional information.
    • Avoid convenience stores. You can pay double for convenience.


Check back later for the conclusion of the money-saving tips series to see a sample seven day menu plan designed to help you eat healthy for less money.   Have other suggestions or tips? Leave a comment!

Category: Nutrition