How to Shop for Healthy (Real Food) on a Budget

So you don't want to sacrifice the quality of food you serve your family, but it's breaking the bank?

We can totally relate... Grocery shopping for healthy, real food is EXPENSIVE. When you have an entire family to feed, succumbing to a $5 box of frozen nuggets versus more costly fresh chicken breasts can be tempting. The good news is they're simple ways to make shopping affordable without spending hours cutting out coupons or choosing quantity over quality.

Here are Some Great Tips Which Will Allow You to Shop for Healthy Food on a Budget

1. Be careful with coupons. 

In our experience, manufacturers use coupons to entice you to buy unnecessary items (or more expensive than store-brand) just because "it seems like a good deal." Certainly use them if it's for something you'd normally be buying, otherwise, they're useless.

2. Avoid buying pre-packaged. 

Want to save big? Eliminate buying pre-packaged foods, such as individual yogurts or snack packs. Purchase the food itself and when you get home, chop, cut, portion out and put it in reusable storage containers.

3. Be a bulk babe! 

Bulk bins rock when it comes to saving money because they often have the cheapest price per pound. Most grocery stores have a bulk section with a variety of nuts, beans, grains and herbs. If you have a large family, a super cost-effective way to buy in bulk is by getting a membership to a club store such as Sam's Club, Costco or BJ’s.

4. Grind your own goodness.

Many stores even have a machine, similar to a coffee grinder, where you can grind your own nut butter. Not only is this a great way to save money, it’s often healthier because the only ingredients are typically roasted nuts and a little salt.

5. Shop for sales! 

Don’t sacrifice quality for what's on sale, BUT when you shop for an ingredient, look around at the different brands to see if one is on sale. If you see a different brand from what you normally gravitate toward, and it has FfL-friendly (real food) ingredients, opt for it and save.

6. Buy generic or store brands.

Smaller companies often have healthier ingredients than big name brands AND they’re cheaper. WIN WIN! If you’re unsure which ingredients to look for, check out our many resources. We have plenty of posts, guides and printables that break down the basics for you in a simple, easy to understand manner.

7. Pay attention to price per pound.

This is HUGE, often overlooked and ties into buying generic versus name brand items. When you're comparing brands at the grocery store, look at the price tag for PRICE PER OUNCE (it's usually found on the right side of the price tag in small print). This ensures you actually get the most for your money, instead of being fooled by package sizes and savvy marketing.

8. Eliminate temptation.

Stay away from those sneaky center aisles in the grocery store, unless something on your list is located in them. You’ll be surprised at how drastically you can lower your grocery bill by eliminating the extra temptation. This is especially true when it comes to snacks (think ice cream, cookies, chips, etc.). Not only will your wallet thank you, your waistline will too. And also, don't shop while you're hungry... we all know how that turns out!

9. Frozen fruit and veggies are fantastic. 

Over the winter, frozen fruits and vegetables are an amazing option. They're generally less expensive and more fresh since they're picked and frozen at peak ripeness. This sounds much more appetizing than some of the “fresh” produce that has been shipped halfway around the world during the off season.

10. Your Freezer = Super Savings. Buy in BULK and FREEZE. 

This saves immensely! We buy most of our meats, cheeses and vegetables in bulk, break them down into smaller portions, put them in freezer-friendly bags or containers and store them for later use. This is especially cost-effective when expensive foods, such as meat, go on sale. In addition to cutting costs, having a stash of options in the freezer can be a life-saver throughout the week. If you're strapped for time, pull out a bag of already prepped food and let it thaw for the next night’s dinner or defrost something for a quick bite.

Take away


Don't let shopping for healthy, real food create unnecessary stress and keep you up at night. Focus on instilling healthy habits into your family (especially your children) but don't beat yourself up if you serve a chicken nugget or two every once in awhile. Do your best to follow these cost-cutting tips and create a healthy home without breaking the bank.

Let’s budget wisely and build healthy families — together!


Cheers to a healthy lifestyle and living FULLforLife!

xo, Pam & Kalie

If you shop on a budget, what are your top tips? Share in the comments below!

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