Build a Budget-Friendly Grocery List

Save money while getting needed nutrients.

| September 17, 2012

  • Grocery Shopping on a Budget
    Get the most out of your grocery shopping trip with these tips.
    Courtesy Getty Images

  • Grocery Shopping on a Budget

If you think healthy eating has to be expensive, you’re wrong. Comparing cost per nutrients when searching for nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and milk can not only save you money, but can affect your health in the long run.

Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian, mom and author of the upcoming book titled “Clean Eating for Busy Families” says, “We’re all watching our budgets these days. But there are important health and nutrition trade-offs that we need to consider. The truth is Americans need a crash course in ‘nutrition economics.’”

Whether it’s picking the most nutrient-rich foods, or finding ways to keep the costs down within important food groups like fruits, vegetables and milk, Dudash also emphasizes that nutrition economics doesn’t mean making everything from scratch; it means doing a little advance work to understand exactly what you’re buying.

“Expensive” depends on how you measure cost, so to help navigate the supermarket, Dudash has outlined tips to make the most of your grocery cart. With these tips as a guide, learn the art of nutrition economics and save more while getting nutrients you need, all within budget.

Learn to look at costs per nutrient. Healthy foods can sometimes appear to be higher in cost, but when you look at the nutrients these foods provide, they often are a good value. Check your labels and ask yourself: “Is the food I’m selecting packed with nutrients to keep my family fueled?” Be sure to look at the percent daily value for nutrients you need, such as calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

Don’t spend on substitutes. Expensive alternatives are usually just that – expensive – and they often don’t deliver the value of the real thing. For example, look for the best value in the dairy aisle – milk. Unlike some of the other alternatives, you always know what you’re getting when you grab a glass of milk; nine essential nutrients for just a quarter a glass.

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