Hi, guys! How is your day going?
Every time I start talking to someone about lifestyle or nutrition changes, the following sentences come up: “I do not have money to spend on organic food”, “I barely make my ends meet, and food is expensive”, “I do not have time to shop”, and many similar ones. Today I’d like to share my favorite places to shop on a small budget and limited time.
How to shop for clean groceries on the budget
Personally, I am cheap. I love good deals. I won’t shop at Whole Foods for most items just out of principle. I believe clean, sustainable food should not be overpriced that much (well, the producers and store conglomerates think otherwise!). It is absolutely doable not to spend hundreds of dollars on your food, and enjoy your meals weekly.
Here is some bad news though: You will need to spend some time trying to figure out what to buy and where. You also will need to stay organized and plan ahead. You don’t want to go shopping every day, yet you should have enough food to last you 10-14 days without going bad. While I am not big on meal prepping, I usually have an idea of what I am making this week, what I am craving, and what stores I need to hit. Once the initial time investment spent on figuring out your best options and scheduling them, you will really appreciate your new, stress-free shopping schedule.
Where to Go for Healthy Produce?
Most of the small and big towns will have access to these five.
1. Farmers markets. Hit them up on a weekend for local, clean, and cheap fruits and veggies.
2. Butcher shops. Most butchers are happy to accommodate your needs if you need to place a customized order. Also shopping locally for grass-fed, lean meats you are going to do a big favor not only to your body but the environment and economy as well. If you do have good butcher near you, find local meats in your grocery store.
3. Costco. It offers best prices for nuts, cooking oils, and pantry items. Make a list before going there or magically you will end up with a cart full of goodies. I never know how that happens! Don’t have Costco? Buy in bulk at Whole Foods or similar health food stores but look for deals. Some towns have very nice food co-ops with reasonable prices.
4. Thrive Market – you will need to subscribe to their website and pay a yearly fee. You will have access to thousands of clean items, and free shipping.
5. Amazon. Supplements, protein shakes, some house cleaning items and snacks.
All of these options available in most states. Alaska peeps, I am sorry. Your “seasonal” purchases are very limited. Freeze your foods, what can I say.
How Often Should You Shop for Clean Food?
For my family of two, it goes like this:
1. Fresh meat is purchased at a local butcher shop once a month. It gets portioned, put in Ziplock bags, stored in a freezer, and used as needed.
2. Fresh vegetables are bought in season at farmers markets (so cheap!), or in stores, selecting seasonal ones or the items on sale. Usually, I don’t purchase any veggies that cost more than $2.99 a piece or pound. Also, following Dirty Dozen-Clean Fifteen rule might benefit your health, since no one wants pesticides in their bodies, right?
3. Bulk items – oils, coffee, some dairy, nuts, as well as some meats and veggies are purchased as needed at Costco.
4. Thrive Market order is placed once a month or so. This is my splurging place, and I buy things like ghee, snacks, spices, or something new, Paleo and Primal. They have the highest quality products, I love the discounted prices. My $59 membership definitely pays off!
5. Amazon orders placed less frequently – usually when my family wants to try something new.
That’s about it. Most stores now have organic or “healthy” section. Just don’t forget to read the ingredients once you are buying something in the box, jar, or container 🙂
What are your secrets for successful food shopping?
P.S. The best food is the one you have grown or raised. Have you considered that option?