Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Over the years, several myths have been created in society regarding how to grocery shop for the healthiest foods. Most Americans feel that healthy grocery shopping is always expensive or that in order to make good food choices, they must buy organic or fresh products. People think that canned and frozen food are not as good options as fresh. Here are challenges to some of these common myths.

Myth 1. You should always buy the “organic” version.
  • Organic foods are those that are produced with no pesticides and little amounts of chemicals. One of the other big differences between organic and nonorganic foods is the price. The nutritional content is extremely similar. For families and individuals who are shopping on a budget, there is no reason to get organic foods. Organic foods also spoil faster because they don’t contain preservatives, so it is likely that more food may go to waste if it is not consumed quickly.
Myth 2. It is smarter to buy all items in bulk.
  • Although there can be some benefits to buying items in bulk, not all foods need to be purchased this way. When families are trying to be smart about their grocery bills, it is important to limit food waste. Buying produce in bulk is unnecessary as it goes bad quickly. Frozen foods, oats, pasta, rice and nuts are examples of food that are good to buy in bulk because they have a long shelf life
Myth 3. Fresh foods are always better than frozen.
  • Freezing foods is a great technique to preserve food. A flash freezing technique used by grocery stores helps retain flavor and nutrient content. When specifically buying fruits and vegetables, buying the frozen version with no additives is also a good option because they last longer and are often cheaper than fresh produce. Beef, fish and poultry are also cheaper to buy frozen and last longer with the same nutritional value
Myth 4. Generic food brands are not high quality.
  • Generic foods are often made in the exact same way as name-brand products. The biggest difference between these products is the label on the box. The benefits of generic brands are that they are cheaper, without losing taste and nutrient content.

Processed foods are not the only option when looking for cheaper alternatives. Smart grocery shopping is key when making the most out of a grocery budget.There are several food companies that have mastered the creation of products that are convenient and have low prices. These foods also come with high sugar content, trans fat and other unhealthy additives. It is important to consider the type of food you are buying, how long that food will last before it goes bad and if it is smart to buy an item in bulk.

Federally Funded Food Programs

For Americans on a federally funded food program, finding healthy foods can be challenging without the proper education. WIC approved foods help lead people away from highly processed foods and encourage people to purchase nutritious foods. Using WIC as an example, each participant is granted about $61.24 in food every month. This is equivalent to $15.31 per week to spend on groceries. There are several healthy recipes for families and individuals that use affordable, nutritious foods. An example of a healthy recipe using affordable products is our Garden Fiesta Tuna Pockets.

By Annie Clark

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