How to Eat Healthy and Save Money

So last week I dropped some tidbits on living in the Big Apple and saving your cheddar. Still keeping with the frugal concept, as well as health and wellness, I wanted to kick some knowledge on eating healthy within a budget. Face it, the corner Chinese restaurant in all its MSG, sodium and fried decadence can be a lot lighter on your pockets as well as more convenient than almost coming to blows at your local fruit stand.  Eating healthy can be done well and with an awareness of your budget.  Here are a few tips to get you healthy and not go broke.

Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk especially when it comes to meat, fish and dry goods is one of the best ways to save money. I have lots of friends who balk at buying bulk, like they will straight up shoot me down and think I’m being crazy for buying anything in bulk. Single portions are cute but, I eat every day and buying things I consume often in individual sizes is not the best idea.  Here’s the catch, if you  can’t freeze it,  don’t buy it in bulk. If chicken breasts are  on sale and an average pack is about 5 pounds giving me around 10 cutlets, I will freeze them in pairs. The pricing was excellent, I will never tire of chicken breast and this week the price is even more for less.

Go Ethnic
Living in this big melting pot has given me great access to all the amazing enclaves that haven’t been gentrified. From Sunset Park, to the Chinatowns in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, ethnic enclaves give you great prices and great food. It is rare you will find me in Whole Foods, but, I have no problem at a Halal Butcher, Country Kitchen or Hong Kong Supermarket.  I use to work near Brighton Beach and I loved getting dropping $10 and getting five huge bags of fresh fruit and vegetables. The only thing was the trek but, I can go the extra 30 minutes on the train to save $30 bucks.

Dollar, Dollar, Dollar
If you don’t know by now, I am a huge dollar store queen and dollar stores are excellent for lots of things, including food.  I’m not talking about processed food, I’m talking about exotic ingredients like Lychees, and Nutella and great breads. All you have to do with dollar store dining is pay attention to the expiration date. I won’t even tell you the time I bought a five pound bag of Goya Black Beans for $1. 

What’s Old is New
Here’s another trick to eating healthy,  your supermarket has a day old section only for baked goods and produce. Usually, they pick the ugliest produce throw it in a bag and price it for super cheap. At my local Western Beef,  I can get 30 limes for $1.50, about 3 mangoes for $1 and it goes on and on.  Also, check your bakery section  discounted because they are older but still good enough to eat. Stop n’ Shop has a loaf of whole wheat bread for $1, put in the fridge and it will last a whole week. 

Work the Plan
Ask, the expert home economist and domestic engineers, meal planning is essential to not only eating healthy but also staying within your budget.  I plan my meals from the items on sale, which you will see below. Meal planning also involves taking stock of your fridge and pantry. I will look at my pantry before I go shopping  and take into account what proteins and veggies go with the dry products. So if I have 8 servings of brown rice left, one of the meals of the week will have brown rice in them.  Same goes for beans, whole wheat pasta and quinoa.

What’s on Sale?
 I grocery shop once a week, I view the flyer online and make my list from there.  There are a few things I purchase that are rarely on sale and this probably heavy cream and a few artisanal cheeses.  There are also a few veggies, I like that are may go on sale twice a year at most, but, I factor everything else, I stick to has to be discounted, I’m not a huge  on brand loyalty, so whatever brand is on sale, I go with it.  Usually, the ingredients are the same.   

Frozen can be Your Friend
Making smoothies every day and craving cauliflower made me accept that frozen produce isn’t bad especially for my pockets. Once I discovered the easy mess free component of using frozen berries in my breakfast smoothie I am  now sold. Frozen veggies are also great,  as they are flash frozen, preserving their nutrients and a perfect  healthy component to your meal.  

Go No Frills
To some folks, brand loyalty is some sort of quasi religion and it can be understandable to some depending upon taste and quality however, I will purchase a supermarket brand of certain items in a heartbeat. First thing-frozen- I will get the store brand frozen fruit and or veggies with no shame. You know what else is great store brand- dry goods; beans, rice and pasta and followed by seasonings, spices and dairy. Cheese, milk and butter are the same across the board go generic and save yourself some dough.