Cooking on a Budget
It’s 2022, we have officially reached $6 per gallon for gas and the price for fresh food is abnormally high. This rise in living and food expenses have been affecting many of my clients’ food choices, a.k.a more fast/convenient foods since it’s only $5 for a combo meal. It’s cost effective, tastes great and gets people full. However, we know that fast food is generally more calorically dense and 30 mins of physical activity can be difficult for some to achieve daily (especially during a pandemic), thus leading to weight gain. This challenge is what I’d like to focus on today. Let’s talk about some cost-effective tips for healthy eating/grocery shopping!
Tips (listed in no particular order):
1) Buy fruits and vegetables “in season”.
Imported foods tend to get priced higher than locally grown produce because they have to factor in the cost of shipping.
Here’s a website that shares what is in season here in “The Golden State”:
2) Keep an eye out for coupons and sales when you plan for the week.
Save some time and research which grocery stores have the best deals before heading out. They usually update daily/weekly.
Don’t throw away coupons! The little things add up.
3) Canned/frozen fruit/vegetable is the way to go.
Don’t be afraid to skim through the frozen section for some frozen vegetables and fruits. These items actually maintain a lot of nutritional value.
Avoid buttered/seasoned frozen foods as they are higher in sodium and fat. Find ones that are just blanched/boiled. You’ll find the hidden fats in the nutrition facts label.
Canned goods can work just as well. It may be higher in sodium so you may want to rinse it out before consumption.
4) Dried goods extended shelf life
Some examples include: beans, lentils, brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, dry milk.
Spices are a great way to add flavor and antioxidants to any meal!
Versatile for any meal prep
5) Shop your pantry first before doing grocery run
Don’t waste money on buying something you already have! Do a quick run through the fridge or pantry before heading out.
6) Avoid shopping on an empty stomach…
Temptations and hunger highly affect your food choices in grocery stores. Shop smart and have a snack before you go!
Think of it this way. You can spend $5 on a combo meal with a hamburger, small fries, and a coke. OR, you can choose to make a sandwich at home with a side of carrots and fruit which cost approximately the same or even less!
$4 per loaf (16 slices)
$0.50 for 2 slices
$5 per pack (8oz)
$1.88 for 3oz
$3 per pound (average
serving ~1/2 pound)
$1.50 for 1⁄2 pound
$1.50 per pound (average
weight 0.33 pounds)
$0.50 for 1 small apple
$3.50 per pack (~8 slices)
$0.43 for 1 slice
$4.81 for the meal
**food prices listed above obtained from March/April market prices**
That’s it for now! If you have any questions or would like to connect with one of our dietitians, feel free to reach out. Happy shopping!
Check out these fun recipe videos from our website!
Interested in learning about weight goal and nutrition needs? Schedule a free body weight and
% body fat analysis with our Smart Eater Dietitians at 626-283-5128 or email