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Eat Your Way to A Healthy Budget

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Sometimes a grocery shopping experience can be stressful, especially when you want to have the healthiest options in your fridge.

If you’re trying to find healthy options for you and your family while on a budget, you came to the right spot.  

The first step is to make a grocery list before you go shopping. This helps you stay focused on what you actually need, instead of the temptation to impulse buy.

You can also plan your weekly meals to help you identify what to put on your grocery list. Here are some simple low-cost recipes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you create your grocery list for the week.

Below we take you down each aisle to help you choose the right products for yourself while on a budget:

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Dairy

If you tend to drink a lot of milk throughout the week, or have a large family, getting a gallon of milk is less expensive than getting multiple half gallons throughout the week and its saves you the extra trip to the store.

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Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables (without butter or extra sauces) can be just as nutrient rich as well as cheap. It also saves you prep time since it’s already pre-washed and pre-cut.

If you want fresh fruits and vegetables, prices tend to be lower when the produce are in season. This is also a great time to catch them at their prime flavors.

MoCaFi Tip: Canned fruits and vegetables are also a cheap option. Just make sure the canned fruit contains 100% fruit juice and the canned vegetables emphasize low-sodium or no-salt added.

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Grains

Rice and pasta tend to be cost-friendly grain options that can be incorporated into a lot of different meals.

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Proteins

Protein doesn’t just come in the form of meat. You can find a good source of protein in beans, eggs and certain types of peas. Canned tuna and sardines are another great source of protein. However, if you prefer meat, chicken and turkey tend to be much cheaper than beef and steak.

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Other

Water is a lot cheaper and healthier than sugary drinks or sodas. Sometimes clean tap water isn’t always available. Water filters may seem like a pricey upfront cost, but it pays off in the long run since you won’t have to keep purchasing water bottles, especially when you have reusable water bottles for on-the-go.  

Some extra useful tips to think about:

Eat before you go shopping.

Shopping while hungry leads to huge temptations for impulse buying, especially for junk food.

Look out for coupons.

Coupons are a great way to save. The trick is to only use them for items you actually need and not just because they are on sale. Free store loyalty programs are a great way to get special offers and discounts.

Choose items in the back of the shelf.

You probably want to get the most for your money, which means you’ll want to look for items with expiration dates as far from your purchase date as possible. Newer items tend to be placed in the back of the shelf and the older items are pushed towards the front. This strategy is particularly useful for perishable items such as bread and milk.    

Rain checks are for you.

It’s not your fault if an item on sale is out of stock, so you and your wallet shouldn’t have to suffer later to purchase the item later when it isn’t on sale. You can ask for rain checks if an item on sale is out of stock. After an item is restocked, you can use the rain check to pay the same sales price despite the item no longer being on sale.

Farmers markets are a great source for fresh fruits and veggies.

Often, going to your local farmer’s market or fruit stand will be a lot cheaper and better quality than going to the supermarket.

Generic brands get the same job done.

Generic brands are often cheaper than name brands and they typically offer the same nutrients and ingredients as name brand items.