3 Ways to Clean Eat on a Budget!
Today I wanted to drop in and share a few of my favorite tips for grocery shopping without breaking the bank. Over the past year I’ve focused so much of my time and energy on having a exercise routine and nutrition plan, and I can tell you first hand how much of a difference it’s made in my life. This time last year my grocery cart would have looked a whole heck of a lot different than it does now. (shout out to the OG’s: the Totinos $1 pizzas, blueberry bagels, hot cheetos, mac and cheese and obviously ravioli….miss u….love u….. ok I’m drooling.)
BUT have you ever heard the phrase “you can’t outwork a bad diet”? Because I’ve heard it, I’ve tested it and I can tell you from experience: if you’re eating like crap even while you are going to the gym, it’s like treading water. A lot of work to get nowhere. (Okurt?) Which is why nutrition is equally as much, if not more important than exercise, especially when working on weight loss. But we’re getting off track here.
One of my favorite things to see on my feed is my favorite fitness accounts post their grocery haul. Why? I have no idea. It’s like a plumber’s crack, or food in someone’s teeth— no matter how hard you want to look away, you can’t, it’s impossible.
But really it takes me back to the early days of youtube where you could literally watch your favorite accounts show you what they bought, and that was it, video over. Those were the days. They were simpler times. (Picture this: it’s 2011, you’re watching Jenna Marbles videos she filmed on her MacBook camera, when haul videos were all the rage, and when your dream purse was some variation of MK or LV repeated over and over that was featured in Elle Fowler’s “What’s In My Bag” tag). Getting off track again.
With that being said, I want to accomplish a few things in this post; 1. let you see what I bought this week, and 2. share a few tricks with you that might save you some serious dolla bills (so you can finally get that dream purse we were talking about.) $$$$$$$
Let’s get started.
So first things first, here’s just near everything I bought to sustain myself through the next two weeks. A few things aren’t pictured, mostly because raw beef and bag of dogfood isn’t my aesthetic. But, do note that since we’re moving here soon we’re trying to use up as many of our dry goods as we can; i.e. oatmeal, pasta, rice etc, so the focus was on the fresh foods to balance out what’s already in the pantry.
Tip #1: Higher priced products ≠ more nutritional value
Okay that was a mouthful. So what does that mean exactly? It means that the products you see that are marketed as organic, healthy or specialty products (that likely come with a higher price tag), often times don’t have any better macro nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates) than the kroger brand or original version.
For example, you see that bag of Kroger Pretzels? I swapped the Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, for the store brand pretzels, since the macros (below) were virtually the same, and I saved about $1.10 on the bag. Easy.
Same with the english muffins: (below) one package that was marketed as 100 calories + “light” whole grain (which yes, offers more fiber and nutrients than the option that I purchased. and depending on your diet/macro goals/budget, do what works best for you.), had literally THE EXACT SAME MACRONUTRIENTS as the standard “white bread” for lack of a better term, english muffin, where the 100 calorie “light” muffin had +1 gram of protein per serving. And a higher price.
Tip #2: No frozen left behind!
Since I was in college and cooking for myself, I’ve religiously bought frozen vegetables in place of fresh veggies. I first got hooked on the ease of frozen veggies while I was going through an edamame phase, but then quickly realized I could buy just about any vegetable, in any variety, plain, sauce covered etc, that I could want, all at my disposal. Which have LITERALLY the same macronutrients as fresh. Because they’re the same, just really really cold.
Not to mention, I genuinely am not good at cooking. It doesn’t come easily to me, it’s not natural, I have scary knife skills (or lack there of) and I’m impatient as all get out. So the only recipe I frequent in the kitchen, is a recipe for disaster.
REGARDLESS, frozen veggies are where it’s at. Zero prep time, barely any clean up, easy to use for meal prep, microwavable or stove/oven friendly (brand depending). There are some veggies I will always buy fresh like cucumbers, avocado, onion, mushrooms and lettuce.
But when it comes to others like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and peas, I actually prefer them frozen and easy to steam. ALSO, did I mention that while I was in school, I would throw a bag or two in my lunchbox to eat as needed throughout the day? Since they only take 5 ish minutes to cook depending on the veg, how could I not?
OK, I’M DONE, but I’m partial what can I say? *shrugs*
Don’t knock ‘em till you try ‘em.
Tip #3: HAVE AN OPEN MIND!
Personally I am far from a picky eater, so if you’re pretty picky when it comes to food, utilize this tip as best you can and make mods where you need to.
When I went to the store yesterday, my mental list looked about like this: “protein, veggies, fruit, healthy snack, milk, coffee creamer.”
While yes, I do not budge on my skim milk + coffee mate liquid creamer (team hazelnut forever but also had to grab italian sweet cream for a little creamy, delicious spice in my life this time around), with everything else I shop what’s on sale!
Mushrooms? On sale. Raspberries? 2/$5. Cucumber? $.59 each. Carrots? $.99c for that bundle. Pineapple? $.88 EACH! (So of course we bought two and I took full advantage of them, cue the photo op above.)
Did I have any idea I would walk out with half the stuff I did? Nope. But am I excited to prep this food and look forward to eating smart in more ways than one? Heck yeah I am! And the best part is that in no way did I have to compromise my health goals because my grocery budget is tight. Can you say score or what?
Eating healthy and shopping healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. I averaged in this trip about $35 per week in groceries. When you divide that by 7 days each week and 4-5 meals/snacks a day, you get about $1 per meal per day. Say what? Check my math- I dare you! And the best part is? I didn’t even use one coupon, I went to one store, AND got everything on my list. (Excuse me while I make it rain with my 5 remaining singles.)
Hopefully this opened your eyes to how you can both stay on/under budget and equally whole-food focused on your next shopping trip! Have a great week guys!
Do something cool.