Healthy Eating on a Budget

By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Wednesday, September 1, 2021


Spend smart and save at the grocery store

Have you ever experienced a feeling of sticker shock when the grocery store cashier announced your total? It’s crazy how such a large percentage of our paychecks can fit into a few measly plastic (or paper) bags.

Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on our grocery bill, without giving up on your desire to eat healthier. Hold onto your wallets because your mind (and budget) is about to be blown with these tips:

Plan to Save Your Pennies

Meal planning and weight management go hand in hand, but meal planning can also help you save your hard-earned paycheck. Planning meals helps as you compile your grocery list and makes shopping more efficient. Without a plan, you’re more likely to purchase extra items or not enough – and then takeout becomes more tempting. Pro tip: Don’t shop on an empty stomach – hitting the store while hungry will push you over your budget.

RESOURCE: Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipes and shopping lists

Buy Whole Foods

It’s no secret that some foods are less expensive in a less processed form. For example, a block of cheese is cheaper than shredded cheese, and a canister of oats is less expensive than a box of instant oatmeal packets. Of course conveniently cut up fruit and portioned yogurt saves you time, but this is an area that can save you some extra dough. And speaking of dough – when selecting grains, like bread, choose the whole-wheat options, rather than their white counterparts. This small swap will provide you a healthier nutritional profile without spending more.

RELATED: How to live 5-2-1-0 with your family

Shop Smart to Fill Your Cart

At Hy-Vee, we offer our own private label That’s Smart! brand for nearly any product you can think of. Full Circle is Hy-Vee’s organic brand, which can be found in the HealthMarket. Store brands offer the same quality at a lower cost. Be on the lookout for these and watch your savings add up.

Stock Up on Sales

We all love a good deal, but it can backfire. Ask yourself: “Is this item something I’d normally buy, or am I just interested in it because it looks like a steal?” Pro tip: Make sure a product is going to last for a while (if not using soon), because it won’t save you money if you end up throwing it out later.

QUICK RECIPE: Shrimp Scampi & Broccoli Linguine

Frozen Produce is Your Finance’s Best Friend

We all have good intentions of using the head of broccoli staring at us each time we open the fridge, but as the week goes on, unfortunately so does the quality. That’s where frozen vegetables come into play – they are convenient and an easy addition to any meal. The freezer is also the perfect place to house make-ahead meals. 

paigePaige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Ames Hy-Vee on Lincoln Way.