Despite what I – and likely you – have heard over and over again, eating healthy does not have to be expensive. With a little planning and thoughtfulness, you can buy and enjoy a variety of healthy foods without breaking the bank. Here are my top 5 ways to save…

1. Take inventory.

Before you begin making your list, check your own inventory. Look in your pantry, fridge, and freezer to prevent buying duplicates. Then, prioritize using what you have on hand to minimize food waste and guide your meal choices.


2. Plan ahead

Especially in the beginning, a little planning goes a long way. Once you’ve taken inventory, decide how you’re going to use your pantry, fridge, and freezer foods in upcoming meals. Consider one-pot meals like minestrone or lentil soup, or a vegetarian bean chili—they last all week and the flavors become richer as the week goes on. Plus, they can be enjoyed for both lunch and dinner!


3. If you can’t buy fresh produce, go frozen!

Fruits and veggies are frozen right at their peak ripeness, which maintains their flavor and nutritional value. Steam frozen veggies and toss with brown rice or your favorite noodle for a delicious mid-week stir-fry. Add frozen berries and spinach to your smoothies for a boost of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.


4. Eat more plant proteins.

Meat and poultry foods are among the most expensive foods at the grocery store. By cutting back on portions and replacing with foods like beans and lentils, you not only save money, but you support your heart health by choosing foods low in saturated fat and high in fiber. Other heart healthy plant protein foods include nuts, seeds, whole grains, green peas, tofu, and tempeh. Try adding them to your favorite salads, puree beans in the blender with garlic, cumin, and tahini for a delicious DIY hummus, or make black bean/lentil burgers with brown rice for a hearty weeknight dinner.


5. Stick with water.

Don’t waste your money on fruit juices, soda, or other packaged beverages which contribute to added sugar intake without any nutritional value. Stick with water and if you want something sweet, make some unsweetened brewed tea (I love a fruity or floral tea like hibiscus) with a drizzle of honey!