Nutrition on a Budget – 5 Tips to Reduce Your Grocery Bill and Your Waistline

nutrition-on-a-budgetSubmitted by Lori Granich, RD, Clinical Dietitian at the Midwest Bariatric Institute

The most common complaint I hear is: "It is too expensive to eat healthy!" This is often validated when we look at popular fast food restaurants and see that they offer less than healthy food and drink items for only $1.00 each while their entrée salads typically cost about $4.00.

One of the most important messages I want my patients to take away is that they can eat healthy on a budget. Here are some ways to reduce your grocery bill and waistline!

  • Plan meals in advance. Making a list will help you to avoid impulse buys. It will also help to ensure you are only buying what you need. Oftentimes, perishables will go bad before we have the chance to use them.
  • Look at the sale flyers for a good deal, but make sure to only use the coupons for items you would normally buy. Many times consumers purchase an item just because it was on sale, not necessarily because they needed it. Compare the prices of popular brands versus store and generic brands. There may not be much difference in quality, but there is a large difference in price. Items to buy generic: flour, milk, sugar, salt, cereals, and canned foods.
  • Never shop when you are hungry. This will only tempt you to buy more food. Stay clear of “empty calories” found in candy, chips, and soda. These items have very low nutritive value so skipping them will not only save you money, but will also positively impact your health.
  • Choose wisely between convenience foods or making foods from scratch. You have to decide what is more important to you; convenience or price?
  • Inexpensive health foods are located at all grocery stores. For example, beans are a great protein source and are much cheaper than meat.


So...Is it true that healthy foods are more expensive? Let’s look. A gallon of skim milk costs less than a 12 pack of soda. Frozen vegetables are still nutritious with a much lower price tag. A large bag of chips is the same price as a large bag of peeled and washed carrots. Meats and poultry are often on sale and cost less than buying a frozen entrée. Trust is possible to shop healthy on a budget!