Creating a healthy grocery list on a budget doesn't have to be complicated. Although it seems like there is an endless amount of unhealthy foods lining the grocery store shelves, there are ways to bring home healthy foods and still stay on a budget.
Here are a few tips on creating a healthy grocery list:
1. When buying bread and pasta check the list of ingredients. Look for the words "Whole Grain" as the first ingredient. If you see "wheat flour" or "enriched flour" as one of the first couple of ingredients, then this is mostly refined white bread with some whole grains added.
2. Buy lean meat, fish (especially oily fish like salmon) and poultry. Try to limit deli meats, hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats due to high levels of nitrates.
3. Stop buying soda or fruit juice that is mostly sugar water and empty calories! Buy unsweet tea or tea bags to make tea yourself and keep in your refrigerator. If you must buy juice, be sure it is 100% juice and limit your intake to one glass a day.
4. Stop buying junk food at the store like chips or soda. It will save room in your grocery budget for healthier foods.
5. Learn to read food labels. Avoid partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), bleached flour, enriched flour, and high fructose corn syrup by checking the ingredients on packages.
6. Avoid pre-packaged meals that contain high levels of sodium, fat and calories. Try broiling fish and steaming fresh broccoli instead!
7. Try to spend half your budget each week on fruits and veggies and spend the other half on whole grains, dairy and lean meat. Start in the produce department first and work your way around the outside edges of the store. Most processed and unhealthy foods are kept in the center aisle. Limit what you buy there!
8. Stock up on lean meat, fish and poultry when it is on sale and freeze it for future use.
9. Purchase berries, peaches, mangos and other fruits when they are on sale and freeze in individual baggies for use later in smoothies or on whole grain waffles.
10. YES you can use coupons and still have a healthy grocery list! It takes some work to pull your list together each week, but stores offer great coupons on things like frozen vegetables, whole grain pasta and whole grain waffles. But, don't get tricked into buying processed foods just because you have a coupon. Just because a bag of candy is $0.50, doesn't mean it needs to be in your cart!
With a little effort and some planning you can have a healthy grocery list and still be on a budget.