Eating Healthy on a Budget

Three-generation family with two small children preparing food.

We always want to feed our family the most nutritious and delicious options out there.  Unfortunately, eating clean doesn’t always come cheap. But, the saying, “you get what you pay for” doesn’t necessarily ring true either.

Here are a few tips to help keep the grocery bill down, while keeping the quality of what you’re feeding your family up.

For babies and toddlers

When they’re babies and they’ll be relying on breast milk (other than the pump, if you choose to get one) will save you money by not having to buy formula. But, the reality is, not everyone can breastfeed or prefer formula. So, how do new parents save? I don’t remember formula going on sale very often, at least never the kind that we used (and when you find a good type that suits your baby you don’t tend to switch). That’s where coupons come in handy! You can get them often. In fact, if you join a mailing list for your favourite brand, they may send you coupons monthly.

As your baby grows you’ll start introducing pureed foods. A great way to ensure quality is to make your own baby food. This can help, it will also save you money. There are many gadgets that promise the perfect puree, but, in my experience, as long as you have a blender or food processor and some freezer safe containers, you’re all set.

For the kiddos

When it comes to saving money and eating healthier; meal planning is key! It will help ensure that you are ONLY buying the ingredients that you need, which in turn, means throwing out less food that goes bad in the fridge.

Planning isn’t just for the parents; if you’re trying to encourage healthy eating, it’s a good idea to get the kids involved too:

  • Give the children some healthy meal ideas and have them help fill out the family calendar so you can plan your meals out together.
  • Provide them with their own grocery list (whether they can read it or not) and have them get specific items as you walk down the aisles.
  • Get kids involved in making meals. You can chop up the ingredients but have them add it to the casserole or dish you’re making.

Don’t give up on them right away. My kids are not picky eaters. Sure, they love macaroni and cheese, but they also love broccoli, mushrooms and pork chops. I firmly believe it’s because we just kept trying. So, if you want them to like healthy foods like broccoli, then just keep trying it. They might surprise you.

For all ages

When you have kids, your schedule gets busy. As your kids get older, sitting down around the table for a healthy meal may become more difficult, but meal planning and prepping can help with this. Having a meal in the freezer ready to toss in the slow-cooker will help avoid spending money at the drive thru as well as unhealthy meal options.

If you’re opting for organic produce for your purees and meals for the whole family, that cost can add up, but is organic always necessary? It’s important to thoroughly research your options and weigh the pros and cons to determine what is best for your family.

Other healthy-eating and money-saving tips

Seasonal produce will always be cheaper.

Shop around and price match. You can either go the traditional route of bringing in your flyers, or there are some free apps out there that can help you find the best price on specific items. Keep in mind, not ALL grocery stores price match though, and some have strict rules when it comes to the amount of items they’ll price match, and which stores they’ll match from.

Here’s a new thing I’ve been trying – … grocery shopping online! You have no choice but to stick to your grocery list and you can even price match at some locations! Keep in mind that there may be some places that have minor fees when you shop online.

So, plan ahead, prep ahead, get the whole family involved and enjoy the savings and the healthy meal you’ve created together.

Brianne Ducharme

I’m a busy mom of twins with a passion for sharing stories and information. This comes from my background as a local TV producer, where I’ve had the opportunity to share experiences with viewers for many years. Now I’m finding a way to couple my background with the hardest and most fulfilling job I’ve ever had…being a mother to my amazing identical twin daughters. I write my blogs as a way to share my experiences, but also hope that it provides a bit of help to those parents out there who might be going through something similar.

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