Reduce your food bill, increase your health. 10 tips for healthy grocery store trips.

1. Meat is a source of protein, but is often expensive. Using meat alternatives a few times a week can reduce your spending, while still providing you with protein for your meals. Try using beans in place of ground beef in chili, tacos and burritos. Or mash beans and form them into patties as a low-cost alternative to burgers. Eggs are another high protein food that don’t cost as much as meat.

2. Prepare larger meals that can provide leftovers for another day. This is a great way to save money on your grocery bill. Try roasting a chicken and eating half for dinner one night and shred the leftover chicken for another night. Use it to make soup, enchiladas or chicken salad. Use leftover steak for shredded beef tacos.

3. Pack leftover side dishes or salads in your lunchbox the next day to save money on fast food and cut down on the amount of lunch food you buy at the grocery store.

4. Have a plan regarding what you buy at the store. Make a menu for the week and a grocery list that corresponds. Once you arrive at the store, buy only what is on your list and resist impulse buys to keep your food bill low.

5. Shop without your children, if possible, that way you won’t be talked into buying extras.

6. Avoid junk food, such as frozen pizzas, soda, candy and commercially prepared baked goods and foods. They are often more expensive than healthy items.

7. Meal planning can be a great way to save money on your food budget, in part because having the ingredients to prepare meals available ahead of time will prevent the need to pick up take-out or go through the drive-through on a busy night.

8. Consult sales fliers. This can help you make the best of what’s on sale for the week. Stretch your food dollar even further by looking for coupons for items on your list.

9. Work seasonal fruits and vegetables into your family’s meals and snacks and have those fresh ingredients readily available when a family member is hungry.

10. Remember, money spent on the high quality food you eat is an INVESTMENT in your health!

We want to know, how do you shop for food? With a budget in mind or other priorities? Do you have just one grocery store you visit or do you shop around? Let us know how you reduce your food bill. Give us your tips for eating healthy, being organized, cooking, and menu planning!

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