Eat Healthy & Save Money – Tips From a Dietitian Part 1 of 2
I would like to introduce you to Stephanie!
Stephanie is a Registered Dietitian based in Edmonton, AB. Stephanie has a passion for trying out new nutrient packed recipes, running in the river valley, and weekly ventures to the local farmer’s market. Stephanie loves to share her cuisine adventures on social media. Follow her for inspiration!
“Healthy eating is so expensive!” “I can’t afford to eat healthy foods!” I hear these statements almost on a daily basis from my clients. The marketing of certain “health foods” make it seem that eating healthy = big spending, but luckily it does not have to break the bank! Healthy eating on a budget can be tricky but not impossible. The following tips and strategies can help you stick to your grocery budget, save some money and maximize your nutrition.
1. The Unit Price
First things first, a quick math tutorial. The unit price is the price you are paying for each unit (pound, kilogram, gram, milliliters etc…) of a product. Calculating the unit price allows you to compare apples-to-apples and help you decide which product has the best value for its price. The product with the lowest unit price is the best buy for your buck. To calculate the unit price you simply take the price of the product and divide it by the quantity. Some grocery stores will have this calculated already.
For example the price of this 2.25kg (2250grams) bag of quick oats is $6.59. The unit price would be $6.59/2250grams = $0.0029/gram.
Now take a look at the price of pre-packaged plain quick oats
We will use the sale price to calculate the unit price : 2.49$/ 336grams = 0.0074$/gram. If you wanted to know the price per 100 grams simply multiply each unit price by 100. So the large bag of quick oats would be 0.0029 x 100 = 0.29$/100 grams. You are paying 29 cents per 100 grams of this product. Now for the pre-packaged quick oats you would take 0.0074 x 100 = 0.74$/ 100grams. You are paying 74 cents per 100 grams of this product. The obvious choice would then be the bulk quick oats.
If you’re new to calculating unit prices, I recommend starting by comparing unit prices of 3-5 items each time you go grocery shopping. This will allow you to get comfortable with the idea of comparing prices of different products without being overwhelmed. Soon enough you will be a unit price expert!
2. Buy items in bulk
This tip has both some advantages and disadvantages. When you purchase items in bulk you usually get a better value (think lower unit price!), but you may run the risk of increasing your waste when buying items in larger quantities. When purchasing in bulk ask yourself the following: Can I eat it all?, Do I have room to store or freeze what I don’t eat?, Will it go bad before I eat it?
If you have a friend that you can split your bulk purchase with this may be a good option for you.
3. Be prepared and plan ahead
Planning your meals for the week can help you to save money, reduce food waste and get your meals on the table in less time and with less stress. Always go to the grocery store with a plan. Have a list of what items you need based on the meals you wish to prepare for the week and stick to it. This will keep your grocery shopping focused and you will be less likely to purchase items you don’t need. Lastly, have a snack before you go grocery shopping, because we all know that grocery shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea.
4. Take advantage of sales
When items go on sale I typically will take the opportunity and purchase multiples if the deal is a good one. Items that I usually stock up on are pantry staples such as low sodium soup broth; canned beans in water, canned fish, high fiber cereals, oatmeal, yogurt, vegetable oils and spices. These items tend to have a long shelf life and I am less likely to waste them even purchasing in larger quantities.
5. Go to the farmers market at the end of the day.
Depending on your market you can get some pretty good deals at the end of the day. I found that if I arrive at my local Farmer’s Market about 1 hour before it closes, the vendors are eager to get rid of their remaining produce and will typically offer amazing deals. This is a great way to shop local and also save some serious cash!
Following a few of these strategies can help you to save money and stick to your budget. No matter how small the savings may seem, small savings add up which means more money in your wallet!
More About Stephanie:
Stephanie is a Registered Dietitian. Stephanie obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences with a minor in Health Education from the University of Alberta. she is registered with the College of Dietitian of Alberta and is an active member with Dietitians of Canada. Her practice is focused in chronic disease management, IBS and functional gut disorders, weight management and sports nutrition. She values that healthy eating looks different for everyone and uses a personalized, holistic approach to provide practical, sustainable and evidence-based solutions to help meet the individuals needs of her clients. She is dedicated to staying current with nutrition research to ensure she provides the most up-tp-date nutrition information.