How to Continue Eating Healthy During the Economic Downturn

How to Continue Eating Healthy During the Economic Downturn
supermarket shopping

Be a smart shopper

Have you noticed that your grocery bill has gone up? I know you have, because I have. You are probably thinking that you cannot continue eating the healthier cleaner foods, because those foods cost more, but do not stop eating healthy because of the prices. There are ways you can cut corners while keeping more your money in your pocket.

If you are into purchasing all organic produce, it is time you stopped that. There is no need to have all organic fruits and vegetables. You can save money and still eat organic.

But here are some fruits and vegetables that you should eat organically because they have high pesticide residues. These fruits and vegetables are known as the “dirty dozen.”

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Here are the “clean 15” fruits and vegetables (little to no pesticide residues):

  • Onion
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (frozen)
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Garlic
  • Blueberries

You can download the Environmental Working Group’s shopper’s guide to pesticides here.

Now that you know what you are working with, here are some pointers that will help you keep more money in your pocket.

1. Shop for sales. Make those sales work for you.  You keep more money in your pocket when participating in sales.

2. Cut down your visits to the natural health food stores. I enjoy shopping at natural health food stores, but I cannot always afford to do so. The next best thing is my local grocery store, which offers some of the foods I enjoy eating. I just have to suck it up and get what I can afford.

3. Cut back on purchasing superfoods. Superfoods are expensive and the tab adds up quickly. Remember, superfoods are not a must have. It is always best to eat whole unprocessed foods. Even though superfoods are healthy, they go through some form of processing.

4. Purchase only what you need. Get only what you need, no more and no less.  Never go shopping without a list and make sure you stick to your list. Those other items that are not on your list add up quickly.  Be careful!

5. Do not buy toiletries, cleaning and laundry products from the grocery store (unless they are on sale). Believe it or not these items are more expensive in the grocery stores. It is best to get these items from a dollar store.

6. Shop at Farmers Markets. If you have access to a Farmers Market, buy the bulk of your produce from these markets. The food items found at Farmers Markets are cheaper than what you will find in your local grocery stores.

7. Grow your own food if you can. Growing your own food is a good way of ensuring that you get clean food. And it is way cheaper.

These are a few ways you can keep more money in your pocket.

What are some ways you save money on your grocery bill? Do tell!

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

22 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Mary says:

    Now that more stores have organic and natural products, it’s good to shop around. I found a store with great prices that has way more organic than I expected it would. Another tip, which I followed for about six months until I got a good idea of what the items cost, is to make a price book of your most frequently bought items and bring it around to the stores you shop at. That way you’ll learn which store has the best price. The results in some cases may surprise you. I also try to make a lot of items from scratch. Canned beans are inexpensive, but making them myself is cheaper (and fresher). And it lets me have organic beans without worrying about the price.

    • Hey Mary!

      Great tips!

      I’ve never thought about doing a price book. I’ll have to try that.

      You’re right about beans. I find that regular dried beans are cheaper and they go a long way.

      I like cooking foods from scratch as much as possible.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. ToddF says:

    Wow, today has been my first trip to your site and I keep finding great stuff. I would like to point out, that it might be best to do container gardening, with organic soil. Especially if you are not sure how good or safe your lawn dirt may be. I’m from Kentucky. I wouldn’t hesitate to use the soil there, but now that I am living in Chicago, I sort of fear pollution that might have gotten into the soil.

    • Hi Todd,

      Thanks for sharing about container gardening. Where I live, I don’t have that issue with the soil. But this information can help others who can’t control what’s been sprayed on the lawns.

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  3. Michael says:

    I tried to plant different vegetables in our garden and the result is pretty well. It help us in maximizing our budget. But for people who want to try this one, you also need to be aware that this need some maintenance like watering, cleaning and treating it from time to time.

  4. Hi Lisa,

    I hear you loud and clear about sticking with the essentials. Just remember everything doesn’t need to be organic. Aww…come on, gardening is fun. 😉 I totally understand though.

    Take care and thanks for stopping by!

    Evelyn

  5. msfullroller says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Mohammed says:

    I usually favor the idea of eating local fruits and veggies whenever you can (as opposed to imported foods), which is not only cheaper, but also… encourages the local economy!

    • Hi Mohammed,

      Thanks for chiming in and sharing your tip about eating local fruits and veggies. I try to do this a lot in the summer time. During this time there are fruit and veggies stands in my county. The fruits and veggies taste so good. 😉

      Good points!

      Evelyn

  7. Tai says:

    I started a garden last year with a friend of mine. It’s nice to have fresh kale and chard available without pesticides for “free”.

    My tip is that I stock up and freeze organic fruits and vegetables when they are on sale. In the spring and summer I buy the ripe organic strawberries or other produce that’s on sale and freeze them for smoothies later on. That way I can have organic produce year round with the high prices.

    • Hi Tai,

      The garden sounds great. I love gardening and have one started. I hope everything does well. 😉

      Thanks for your helpful tips. I’ll be doing some freezing. I love making smoothies and having what I want already in the freezer sounds like something I need to do.

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  8. Carolyn says:

    Great post! I totally agree with what you said. Glad you talked about the dirty dozen and clean fifteen.

  9. Benedictus says:

    Great post! You are right about everything you said. I did have a few tips to share though. I, too, USED to shop exclusively at Whole Foods and bought everything organic, but not anymore! I can’t afford to. But I have been having good success with Target. They have a great variety of organic products that are a lot cheaper than Whole Foods (sometimes $1.00 or more per item). So I’ve stopped going to WF and now use Target. Now for the good part! Last night, I went grocery shopping and they had ALOT of items on sale. Good, quality/organic foods I normally buy. I bought these items in bulk (about 10 of each item) and saved over $45.00 on things I was going to purchase anyway! But wait…it gets better. If you use your Target Visa or Target Debit card (comes straight out if your checking account), you save 5% of your bill!!! I saved another $12.00 dollars! Then, I purchased 4 all natural dish soaps that I would have bought anyway, on sale, got 5% off that, THEN got a $5.00 Target gift card to use next time! I also had 2 coupons fir a total if $3.00 off for Silk Soymilk and MorningStar Veggie items. I was so excited!

    Anyway, just wanted to share how I’m stretching our food dollars. Your idea for Veggie wash is great too. Use that for fruits/vegetables you can’t buy organic. Here in Louisiana, they have “pick it yourself” peaches, blueberries and strawberries – that is cheaper than the store. Also, I go on eBay and buy organic coupons to use for organic products – that helps alot. And lastly, when I can’t afford straight organic, I’ll just get the “all natural” version, but still read the labels first because they can be deceiving.

    I hope those tips can help someone else! In these times, we all need to help each other when we can. Thanks for the great blog…that’s exactly what you are doing. : )

    • Hi Benedictus,

      Thank you!

      My daughter’s physician once told me that Whole Foods will take your Whole paycheck and that is a true statement. Buying everything organic can definitely make the pockets hurt. I don’t shop at WF either, well only if I want some hair products or something. That’s about it.

      I didn’t know that Target had a debit card. Your savings sound really great. I’ll have to check out Target’s food selection, the next time I’m in there. Thanks for sharing this info about Target.

      I remember when I was a teenager we use to pick strawberries and I hated it, but now I’d do it in a heartbeat. It is much cheaper to do that. Everything is so expensive.

      Thank you for sharing your awesome tips. Very helpful!

      Welcome to this blog! 🙂

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  10. Vivian says:

    Tsk, I eat an apple a day and your “clean 15” is making me rethink! Shopping at farmers markets and growing your own food is definitely way cheaper and more eco-friendly.

    • Hi Vivian,

      You can still eat your apple a day, but make sure you peel it if it’s not organic. There is also veggie washes that could probably remove the pesticides too (not 100% sure).

      Take care,

      Evelyn

  11. TrafficColeman says:

    If your on a budget then you should look at your food buying even more closely to get the most for your buck..its about eating healthier to see your grand kids..kids..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  12. Health Blog says:

    I agree most on the pointers 6 and 7. Grow your own vegetables if possible. Yo can get best and healthy food.
    Thanks for the great info about vegetables and their pesticide residues.

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