How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget
Recipes,  Wellness

How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget

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How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget

One of the biggest misconceptions of being vegan and eating healthier is that your grocery store bill will be expensive. Which is understandable because the most common health food stores can be pricey. This is why I recommend purchasing produce in season, as it can be cheaper, more nutritious and fresher. 

There are many habits that can contribute to a pricey grocery bill like purchasing vegan junk food, such as microwavable dishes, or frozen dinners. When people experience expensive vegan/healthy grocery bills, it’s due to the over purchasing of processed foods. I would recommend getting these items in moderation. It is possible to eat nutritious meals and purchase healthy groceries on a budget. Purchasing bulk and fresh seasonal produce will be your saving grace.

Below are some tips to follow when you begin budgeting for healthy groceries on a budget to track what you have been doing and buying. 
  1. Write down the things you need on your new grocery list, and empty out your refrigerator of the things you no longer need or that have expired. This allows you to stay focused at the grocery store and not make impulsive purchases.
  2. Write down how much you spent on the items you need to purchase again. Try to find a more cost friendly version of those items. This helps cut costs down, or find alternatives that are budget friendly. Be mindful of the stores you purchased these items, because costs do vary from store to store. 
  3. Think ahead for the week on meals you would like to make. You can repurpose multiple ingredients for different meals. This helps you save on over purchasing and also gets your creativity going for leftovers. Examples of this can be: Taco filling, can be used for tacos, burritos and salad toppings. If you made a huge pan of taco filling that costs about $10 worth of ingredients (potatoes, zucchini, onion, jackfruit, avocado), this could stretch you for 3 dinners and 2 lunches. Other examples of this technique is pasta, if you can make sauce, and eat with noodles or on top of rice/quinoa/zoodles. Committing to salads for lunch with the same concept weekly can save you money as well.

With healthy meals, there is usually a base which can be rice, beans, pasta noodles, or quinoa. If you purchase these items in bulk you will save as well. One pack of rice at a bulk price can be up to $5. You can purchase all the fixings for salad at $10, which could be lunch and dinner for a week with multiple variations. 

I recommend getting these items from either Sam’s Club or Costco. Only purchase these items as you need them so they don’t become an unnecessary expense. These are items you collect over time. 

Fresh produce are items that you will be cooking during the week which you can purchase every Saturday or Sunday. I recommend grocery shopping on the weekend because it gives you time to relax through the store, pay close attention to the prices, go to different stores, & you may have enough time to prep or plan meals for the week.

A sample of a meal plan with healthy groceries on a budget may look like this
MorningsLunch – SnackDinner
Tea/CoffeeAvocado Toast
Balanced plate 
FruitSalads
Half vegetables
Protein Shake/ Smoothie
LeftoversVeggie Tacos
Oatmeal/Acai BowlNutsRice

When shopping for healthy groceries on a budget I break down my list into 2 categories:

Groceries on a budget you can purchase weekly

  • Fruits and Vegetables 
  • One time entree pieces (tofu, jackfruit, tempeh)
  • Baked goods such as breads/ tortillas

Groceries on a budget you can purchase monthly 

  • Rice 
  • Canned beans & veggies
  • Alternative milk (comes in a case of 6)
  • Pasta Noodles
  • Condiments
  • Baking goods such as flour, sugar 
  • Seasonings 

Here is an extensive grocery list that will help you organize your healthy groceries on a budget. 

This healthy groceries on a budget list covers:

  • Fruit. Fresh, frozen.
  • Vegetables. Fresh, canned.
  • Legumes. Canned, dried, fresh soy products.
  • Herbs and Spices. Fresh and dried.
  • Pantry Items. Natural sweeteners, condiments, baking items.
  • Dairy Alternatives. 
  • Whole grains and whole grain products.
  • Packaged Items.

Healthy Groceries on a Budget: Fruits and Vegetables

Related: 30 Simple Ways to Live a Healthier Life

How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget fresh
Fruit (Fresh)Fruit (Frozen)Vegetables (Fresh)Vegetables (Canned)
BananaCranberriesLeafy green. Kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens.Corn
AppleCherriesCruciferous veggies: cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, green cabbage, napa cabbage, brussel sprouts.Peas
KiwiMixed FruitsRoot vegetables: parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, yams, white sweet potato, potatoes, Beets, turnips, rutabagas, Ginger.Diced Tomatoes, whole tomatoes + Tomato paste
DatesPineappleAsparagusGreen beans
Berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries.Berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mixed berry blendsNightshades: Eggplant, Peppers (spicy and non-spicy)Pumpkin, Butternut squash
Stone fruits: nectarines, plums, peaches, cherries.Stone fruits: nectarines, plums, peaches, cherries.Artichokes, cucumbersGreen peas
Tropical fruits: papaya, mango, dragonfruit, lychee, pineapple, passionfruit, durian, guava, jackfruit.Tropical fruits: papaya, mango, dragonfruit, lychee, pineapple, passionfruit, durian, guava, jackfruit.Squash: butternut, Zucchini acorn, kabocha, pumpkin, hubbard.

PomegranateCelery
Citrus fruits: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, clementines, apricot.Avocado
Melons: cantaloupe, honeydew.Green beans, green peas, snap peas, snow peas (actually legumes but we’ll include them here in veggies)
Mushrooms of all varieties
Onions, shallots, and Garlic
Tomatoes of all varieties
Mixed stir fry veggies
Brussel sprouts

Healthy Groceries on a Budget: Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Grains, Bakery

Related: 5 Foods That Supplement Your Mental Health

How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget grains
LegumesNuts + SeedsWhole GrainsBakery
Beans: Black eyed, white kidney,
Pinto,
Red Kidney, Adzuki
Navy, Black
Nuts: pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pine nutsrolled oats, steel-cut oats
Pasta: brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta, whole wheat pasta
Lentils: Green,
Red,
French
Seeds: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sesame seedsbrown rice, wild rice and other rice varietiesRice cakes
Peas: Split, yellow, green, Black eyedNut butter: almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butterquinoaWhole grain flours: quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour
Canned LegumesSeed butter: tahini, sunflower seed buttermillet
Barley

Healthy Groceries on a Budget: Dairy Alternatives

How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget soy
Dairy AlternativesProcessed Dairy Alternatives
coconut yogurtvegan sour cream
almond or cashew yogurtvegan cream cheese
cashew cheesevegan cheese
dairy-free milk such as almond, oat, soy, rice, hemp, cashew or coconutcoconut creamer
vegan butter
vegan ice cream

Healthy Groceries on a Budget: Herbs and spices 

How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget spices
dried basil, fresh as needed
dried bay leaves
celery seed
ground chili powder
red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper
fresh chives
fresh or dried cilantro (coriander)
cloves
cumin
curry powder
turmericfresh garlic, garlic powder
fresh ginger root, ground ginger
Italian seasoning
ground thyme
onion powder
dried oregano
dried rosemary, fresh as needed
dried dill, fresh as needed
dried parsley, fresh as needed
black peppercorns
sea saltground ceylon cinnamoncardamom

Healthy Groceries on a Budget: Sweeteners, Baking, Cooking

How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget honey
Natural SweetenersCondimentsBaking + Cooking Goods
agave syrupcoconut milkbaking powder
coconut sugarred curry paste, green curry pastebaking soda
maple syrupsoy sauce or gluten-free tamaricornstarch or arrowroot powder
molassesmiso pastepure vanilla extract, any other extracts you like such as peppermint or almond
steviamustardshredded coconut, coconut flakes
organic cane sugarsalsavital wheat gluten (used to make seitan)
Datesorganic ketchupvarious flours such as chickpea flour, quinoa flour, coconut flour, almond flour
sweet chili sauce
nutritional yeast
sauerkraut
vinegar: red wine, balsamic, apple cider, rice wine

Healthy Groceries on a Budget: Misc Food 

How to Purchase Healthy Groceries on a Budget chocolate
Field Roast SausagesKombuchaDairy free Ice Cream
Protein BarsFrozen Veggie BurgersFrozen desserts
Canned soups such as Amy’sDark ChocolateVegan Jerky
Frozen waffles from Nature’s Path or EzekielMary’s Organic CrackersVeggie Sticks

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Darlynn Ophelia is an entrepreneur, a psychology major, holistic health coach and founder of Hustle Healthy. Darlynn believes in approaching wellness from every angle. In a world where it’s all too easy to fall victim to burnout and stress, she creates content to help maintain and balance your busy life.

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