8 Ways to Save on Food Without Compromising Nutrition

updated May 24, 2019
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It’s a common misconception that the best foods for your waistline are the worst foods for your wallet. Well, we consulted a few nutrition experts to BUST THAT MYTH once and for all. Here are their best tips for loading up your grocery cart with healthy options on a budget.

Spoiler alert: No, they do not recommend spending your whole paycheck at Whole Foods!

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1. Cook once, eat twice.

“I like to use the ‘cook once, eat twice’ method. I pick two healthy dinners to cook for the week and eat leftovers for lunch and dinners. This prevents me from having to cook every night, because who has time for that? It also saves money on ingredients.” — Rebecca Elbaum, MPH, RD, CDN, CDE

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2. Buy in bulk.

“I recommend buying both grains and vegetables in bulk. FYI, a head of broccoli that you have to cut yourself will definitely be less expensive than a bag of florets.— Elbaum

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3. Don’t pay for convenience.

“Foods are often less expensive in their least processed form. For example, dried beans cost way less than canned. Cook up a big batch of dried beans and store them in your freezer to have on hand for months.” — Marissa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD and founder of Marisa Moore Nutrition

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4. Add ingredients to stretch out your dinners.

“Add budget buys like chickpeas or lentils to pasta dishes or toss into stir-fries with lots of greens. This will bulk up your meal for a minimal added cost.” — Moore

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5. Shop for what’s in season.

“When it comes to buying fresh fruits and veggies, go with what’s in season. During the cooler months, pears, apples, citrus, and root veggies are cheaper (and tastier!)” — Moore

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6. Have a playbook and stick to it.

“Making new recipes every week can quickly add up, since you may need to buy new condiments, spices, and ingredients for every one. And you may never use these things again. Have a few staple recipes on rotation. Once you’ve mastered a recipe, then change up the spices so you don’t get bored.” — Rachael Hartley, private practice dietitian at The Joy of Eating

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7. Buy frozen produce.

“Frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious (if not more so) than fresh, because they’re frozen at the peak of ripeness. You also won’t have to worry about wasting any because it’s in the freezer” — Nazima Qureshi, RD and founder of Nutrition by Nazima

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8. Eat your pantry.

“Pantry staples — like 100 percent whole-grain pasta, canned beans, canned tomatoes, and old-fashioned oats — are some of the cheapest foods around and they basically never expire. Stock up and use them to your wallet’s advantage.” — Alexis Joseph, RD, Nutrition Consultant, and Founder of Hummusapien

Got any of your own tips to add? Leave them in the comments below!