Have you wanted to transform your family’s health but felt challenged to do so because of your grocery bills? Do not despair! You can still make healthy changes to your diet that will improve your health without breaking the bank! It takes some creativity, planning, and discipline but it’s worth the effort. Here are some excellent tips to get started:

Create A Meal Plan

  • Pick a day to plan out your main meals for that week.
  • Grocery shop for all your meal needs before the new week.
  • Create a folder or box to store grocery coupons that arrive to you in the mail.
  • For recipe ideas, check out websites with budget friendly plant-based meals such as Healthy Aperture, Pinterest, or iLoveVegan.
  • Choose the recipes you like, along with their quantities, and ingredients.
  • Create a shopping list from those recipes and stick with it!
  • Choose seasonal and low-cost vegetables, as these foods are typically less expensive and more nutritious when they’re in season.
  • As a general rule of thumb, if eating the skin or peel of produce, consider buying organic produce.
  • Use the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list as a guide.

Be A Mindful Shopper

  • Avoid shopping on an empty stomach!
  • Shop in the outside parameter of the grocery store. The most processed foods are in the center of the store.
  • Check unit pricing (the cost of the item per ounce, quart, gallon, pound, etc. It is posted on the shelf ledge below the food item).
  • The shelf tag shows the unit price (price per unit of measurement) and the item price (the total price) for the food item.
  • Make price comparisons between brands to maximize purchasing power.
  • Buy dry goods in bulk when you can.
  • Buy only what you need for a recipe.
  • Write the item name, month, and year on a label or twist tie the store provides.

Work the Farmers Market

  • Shop late in the day, as vendors are more likely to offload their products and offer discount prices if you ask.
  • Look for “seconds” bins, which usually hold slightly irregular or bruised produce, which many would be willing to sell at a discounted price.

Don’t Let Your Kids Sweet-Talk You

  • Do not allow your child to control your purse. The “nag factor” is the tendency of children to unrelentingly request an advertised item. This is built into many advertising campaigns that target children.
  • If possible, avoid grocery shopping with children.

More Ways To Stretch Your Wallet

  • Set a goal to buy plant-based whole foods rather than processed foods. When buying processed convenience food, you’re actually paying for the convenience of preparation. For example, canned beans are more expensive than buying dried beans, especially when you compare quantity.
  • Try a few new recipes with a few fresh ingredients you know you will like. You will feel great about saving money.
  • To prepare for the busy week ahead, cook a recipe in a big batch on a Sunday afternoon or when there’s downtime during the week.
  • Store leftovers in zip lock bags in the freezer or containers in the refrigerator.
  • Keep a list of the items that need to be eaten soon on your refrigerator door, so you can always be aware and avoid waste.
  • Stock up on bulk foods when the prices are low or discounted such as rice, beans, and frozen vegetables.

Find more tips at Jessica’s blog, Plant Based World, which focuses on the prevention and reversal of disease through a plant-based lifestyle.


About the Author

Jessica Vierra, MS, RDN, BSN, RN

Jessica Vierra is a registered nurse, registered dietitian nutritionist, and violinist. While music and healthcare are dear to her heart, Jessica enjoys leading out in community nutrition programs, writing health articles, and providing nutritional counseling to clients. She graduated from Bastyr University in June, 2015 with a Master of Science in Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics and completed a dietetic internship through California State University, Long Beach. Jessica and her husband, Daniel, reside in Lodi, California with their calico kitten, Crème Brûlée.

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