Eat Healthy and Save Money

Guest post by Jamie Logie

If you’re on Tanya’s website you are probably becoming more aware of the things you want to include and eliminate from your diet. The next step is where are the best places to get those items and save some money while you’re doing it?

Money saving tips are always appreciated, especially if you’re like me and need every last cent to keep expanding your Golden Girls commemorative
plate collection..

The first tip is being aware of how grocery stores are designed to make you spend more money. Pretty much every store you’ve ever gone in has the same layout and you might have wondered why that is. Learning how to navigate them more effectively is the first step to saving money.

Remember the movie Labyrinth with David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly? These stores have the same idea to try to have you never leave, but the stores have less of the “bog of eternal stench”.

When you walk in the first thing you are greeted by is usually flowers, a bakery and colorful produce. This is called the decompression zone and is meant to make you feel calm and not in a rush. Remember in retail the longer you stay in a store the more money you will spend.

If you look at the layout you basically have a giant ring that goes around a store and that is where all the real whole foods will be, these are the things you want to focus your diet around. The problem is when you follow the ring it brings you around to the center aisles. At the end of each aisle are what they call “end caps” and this is where you see promotional and sale items. This encourages you to go down the aisle and be exposed to hundreds of products. When you come out the other end you are face to face with the checkout registers. If you are not ready to pay you generally go up the next aisle and are basically put into this funnel system that makes you weave through the entire store. (Have you ever gone into a grocery store, not bought anything and tried to get out? It’s almost impossible, like Kim Kardashian trying to solve a rubix cube)

So the best way to navigate these stores properly is to have a plan.

Firstly, go in with a shopping list. The average person spends 15 minutes in a store before buying something and that leads to overspending. Knowing
what you want gets you in and out quicker. Also try to shop on a Tuesday, that’s generally the slowest day in a grocery stores. More crowds = more time spent inside which leads to overspending and items you probably don’t need at all.

What are some money-saving tips while you’re in there? I’m glad you asked!

  1. Buy chicken breast with bone in. This can cut the price in half
  2. Save bones from chicken for making stock which you can use in soups
  3. If buying pork choose the pork shoulder over the loin. Cheaper and in my opinion is better tasting.
  4. When buying frozen fruit or veg go for the store brand generic type. More often than not this type of product comes from the same place as more expensive brand types. That cost difference comes from basically paying for something that is a brand that has packaging and advertisements. Frozen food is an often overlooked but can be an incredibly valuable and helpful product. You only use what you need and the rest doesn’t need to spoil and only tends to cost a few dollars per package. Since they are flash frozen the nutrient content is better preserved than a fresh item that might have sat on the shelves for a while and had a long travel time.
  5. A no brainer is that vegetables and fruit will not only be better for you but are cheaper than processed foods. The average price for a huge bunch of Kale is $1.99 where I live and has enough kale for about 3-5 salads or almost 8 green smoothies. I can’t point out enough that healthy foods are cheaper.
  6. Your best value for cuts of beef are going to be brisket, skirt steak, flank steak, chuck & blade, top rump. This is where a slow cooker can be your best friend. Slow cooking can take any type of cheaper cut and turn it into a fantastic, tender dish. You can add in things like broth that you made, vegetables, garlic etc set it for 6 hours or so and just leave it. It turns out to only costing you a few dollars a portion and makes incredibly good meals. If you’re in a grocery store look for the cheaper cuts or if at a market or butcher ask them for these cuts as well. The farmers and butchers will also know the best way to cook the various cuts of meat and what goes well with them so use them as a great resource!
  7. Quinoa– quinoa is not a grain but a seed and good organic varieties are becoming as cheap as rice. This ingredient can be stretched far in dishes as well as making salads.
  8. Bulk Stores– A lot of people tend to think of Bulk stores as places where you can buy mass amounts of jelly beans or gummy worms but they are a very overlooked resource. These stores can be of great assistance in saving money and storing up on some key items. They are great places to get things like raw nuts, seeds, wild rice, flax and chia, coconut and almond flours and a lot of great gluten-free products.
  9. For fresh veg that you buy keep them in either a plastic bag or brown bag and wrap the bag up while trying to squeeze all the air out. Doing this and keeping it in a vegetable crisper in your fridge will vastly extend the life of the Veg. Keeping as much air out as possible allows it to not break down, wilt or turn brown
  10. Grow your own herbs– If you’re like me you use a ton of herbs for things like salads to almost every dish I eat. Herbs contain important phytonutrients that help in fighting disease and providing us with antioxidants along with enhancing the flavor of our food. Packages of seeds can be bought for very little growing plants that cost pennies a piece.

The easiest herbs to grow also tend to be some of the best for you such as:

  • parsley
  • borage
  • basil
  • sage
  • thyme

O.K there’s a few shopping tips but you might be interested in how money saving starts at home. The average person is throwing out around 20 pounds of food per month and that ends up costing around $2000 a year.

Here’s a few food storage tips to make them last longer:

  • keeping salad wrapped in a towel can get you an extra week out of it
  • celery, broccoli and lettuce can be wrapped in tinfoil to greatly extend its life in the fridge
  • a little bit of butter on the side of cheese will help it from drying out
  • asparagus should be stored like flowers in some form of jar or vase with water in the bottom
  • keep mushrooms in a paper bag not plastic
  • if you do drink milk keep it in the cooler back of the fridge. Milk kept on the door is always the first thing exposed to warm air which can cause its freshness to be compromised
  • cheese on the other hand can be stored in the warmest part of the fridge like the door or vegetable drawer
  • potatoes stored with onions can spoil faster. Storing them with apples also helps prevent them from sprouting
  • mix one part vinegar and 10 parts water to swirl berries in to keep them from going moldy and soft. You won’t taste the vinegar but will extend the life of the berries
  • keep bananas away from other fruits. They emit ethylene gas which accelerates ripening
  • putting tomatoes in plastic bags causes them to spoil faster. They are best stored in a single layer at room temperature
  • ginger can be stored in the freezer to last indefinitely and is still able to be peeled and grated

So there you have it, hopefully you can take some of these tips and apply them to not only help your health but your wallet.

Or in my case my Hello Kitty coin purse..


Listen to Jamie on The Cut the Crap and Keep it Real Podcast

Jamie LogieJamie Logie is a personal trainer and certified nutrition and wellness specialist who runs a website devoted to helping you take back your health. He also has his own podcast of the same name Regained Wellness that is very popular on iTunes.