How eating fresh produce can save you money and improve your health
My eyes practically bulge out of my head every time I push my shopping cart around the grocery store's produce section.
$4.00 for a package of clementine "cuties"?
$1.25 for a pound of apples?
One million dollars for a pint of raspberries? (that's what it feels like anyway)
But this is nothing compared to junk food prices:
$5.00 for a package of cookies?
$4.00 for a quart of good ice cream?
$1.25 for a bag of candy?
This week's tip for eating healthy on a budget is to avoid pre-packaged snack foods.
Food companies work hard to make us think we need packaged snack foods. They tell us that prepackaged foods are easy, affordable and fun (and they are!). Food companies market "healthy" packaged snack food as the key to eating well.
fruit snacks with real fruit juice vs. fruit snacks with corn syrup
less salt potato chipsvs. full salt potato chips
high protein granola bars vs. regular granola bars
And the list goes on.
Some of these options ARE definitely healthier! But the real way to eat healthy and save money is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of pre-packaged snack foods.
Buying fruits + veggies will save you money in 3 ways
They cost less than chips and candy
You'll eat less, so you'll spend less on food overall
You'll be healthier, which saves money on medical and dental bills
Don't believe me?
Check out the numbers below (prices obtained from walmart.com on April 5, 2023):
Fruit Snacks: $7.98 for 40 pouches,
25 cents per pouch
Clementines: $3.98 for 3 pounds:
19 cents per clementine
Apples: about $1.00 for 1 pound:
25 cents per quarter apple (which is about the same volume as 1 pkg fruit snacks)
1/2 banana: 13 cents (about the same volume as 1 pkg of fruit snacks)
Health bonus of fresh fruits + veggies: fiber + cancer-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins! Also, fruits and veggies do not cause tooth decay (cavities)!
Reeses Peanut Butter Cup: $1.24
(only 1.5 ounces of food!)
1/2 Apple with 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (9 oz total!): $0.60
1/2 cup oatmeal with peanut butter + chocolate chips: $0.40 (it's really yummy I promise!)
Health bonus of apple + peanut butter: fiber, protein and healthy fats keep you full, so you'll eat less later. Plus apples are full of vitamins and peanut butter has iron and zinc!
Health bonus of oatmeal: fiber, protein and healthy fats are very satisfying and curb appetite later in the day. Oatmeal is a good source of zinc, iron and B-vitamins for energy!
1 cup of Gummy Candy: $1.25
1 cup of Grapes (when in season): $0.35
1 cup of cherries (when in season): $0.50
1 cup of apple slices: $0.50
Health bonus of fresh fruit: fiber + vitamins and phytochemicals to help your digestive system. Major health benefit: fruit does not cause tooth decay like candy does! Buy less candy and save money at the dentist!
Great Value Veggie Straws: $2.74 for 7oz, or 40 cents per serving
Bag of baby carrots: $2.44 or 25 cents per serving
Bag of sugar snap peas: 2.88 or 58 cents per serving
Bag of celery: $1.84 or 20 cents per serving
Health bonus of fresh veggies: No salt or unhealthy fats in fresh vegetables! Plus vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals kids need for growing!
Potato chips: $3.68 for 8 ounces
Cucumber slices:$0.78 for 8 ounces
Roasted potatoes: $0.50 for 8 ounces
Baby carrots: $0.90 for 8 ounces
Even low-salt chips have a lot of added salt! Roast your own potatoes or carrots if you are craving a crunchy salty snack!
3 Tubes gogurt simply: $0.30
The same amount of plain yogurt: $0.16
Health bonus of plain yogurt: No added sugars. Kids should limit their sugar intake to 25 grams per day. Even gogurt simple (which is lower in sugar than regular gogurt) has 5 grams of sugar per tube. Plain yogurt has none.
Granola Bars: $3.84/package, 16 cents per bar
Banana Oat Cookies: $2.72, 11 cents per cookie
Health bonus of homemade oatmeal cookies: 1 cookie has 5 grams healthy fats, 1.5 grams fiber, 3 grams protein and only 2.7 grams added sugar. Granola bars have 0 grams of fiber and 8 grams of added sugar!
And the biggest money saver is: WATER!
12 oz water = FREE
12 oz soda = 33 cents (for the Walmart brand)
12 oz sparkling water = 35-40 cents (sugar-free and artificial sweetener free, a much healthier choice than soda if you crave the fizz!!!)
If you drink 1 can per day, you spend $130 a year on soda!
Eating healthy can be more expensive (I'm looking at you, fresh raspberry pints), but it doesn't have to be.
When you choose fresh in-season produce instead of packaged snack food, you'll save yourself a ton of money at the grocery store (and improve your health!).
Did this article encourage you to eat healthier? Send me an email to let me know: nicolebuhlerRD@gmail.com
See you next week with my final tip on how to save money and eat healthier!