Grocery shopping ? How to buy healthy and save money at the same time

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DETROIT – At Prince Valley Market on Michigan Avenue in Detroit, the shelves are well stocked and the options are plentiful.

Customers say they pay close attention to the cost of things everywhere.

“The prices are really high,” said Dora Hopkins of Southfield.

Hopkins prioritizes buying healthy foods, but is careful to compare prices.

“It’s good for my health. Some things are just high, you know, so I try to find something that might be cheaper,” Hopkins said.

It’s a great approach, said Bethany Thayer, registered dietitian nutritionist at Henry Ford Health.

“I hear people say all the time that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food, and I don’t buy a minute of it. I think there are all kinds of ways to eat healthier and not spend so much money,” Thayer said.

As grocery prices continue to rise dramatically, many families are having to make tough decisions about what to buy. We asked Thayer to shop with us to share his tips and tricks for saving money on healthy foods.

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She said saving starts before you leave home.

“Planning ahead is the best way to save money on groceries, and it’s also the one people don’t do,” Thayer said. “They’re more likely to do it on the fly.”

Thayer recommends planning your meals for the week, checking what you already have at home, then making a shopping list.

“Writing this on a grocery list will not only help you make better purchases in the store, but also prevent you from over-buying and wasting money on food you’re not even going to eat.”

Two other good tips:

“You’ve heard it before, don’t come to the store hungry. You’ll start buying things that you didn’t intend to buy,” Thayer said. “And number two, try to come alone. When you come with other people, you’re more likely to be convinced to buy something else.

In the produce aisle, focus on whole fruits over pre-prepared options. Thayer quickly found a great example of the potential savings.

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“This whole watermelon is $7.99 versus this half watermelon, which is $8.84 versus this (small) container, which is $5.02.”

With fruits and vegetables, don’t assume that pre-packaging is a better deal. Do the math!

We found that the individual halos were four for the dollar, which was 25 cents each. The three-pound bag of Halos was $7.99, which looked like a saving, but when we actually counted it only contained 16 Halos, making them 50 cents each!

This big difference surprised even our expert.

Thayer says you can also save by buying non-organic produce.

“A lot of people think they’re doing their family good by buying organic vegetables. The reality is from a nutritional standpoint, they are the same, but organics cost a lot more,” Thayer said.

Thayer says onions and potatoes are an inexpensive way to stretch meals throughout the year.

“A great way to add flavor without using salt in some of your tastiest dishes and potatoes – a great source of things like vitamin C and potassium,” Thayer explained.

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Moving on to the cereal aisle, we discovered that bagged Raisin Bran was a better deal than boxed.

“We found the bag of cereal weighed 27 ounces for $5 versus 25 ounces for $6. So save $1 and get a little more,” Thayer said.

With oatmeal, the bigger the better. A canister and a box of ten individual envelopes cost almost the same price, but the canister contained three times as many servings.

For grains in general, Thayer said the healthier whole wheat option is often the same price as the less nutritious version. This was true for the pastas and breads we checked.

Cooking oils tend to be expensive. Thayer said canola oil and olive oil are both good sources of monounsaturated fats, but canola is a much cheaper option, especially for cooking or stir-frying.

“In this case, it’s just over two dollars, compared to just over six dollars for olive oil,” Thayer explained.

When it comes to meat, shopping is key. Thayer also recommends serving more “meatless meals” and watching your portions.

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“You only need about three ounces or the size of your palms,” Thayer said.

Frozen fish is another healthy and economical option.

“Tilapia tends to be a cheaper fish. And again, it’s a very lean source of protein that’s delicious in a lot of different things. Salmon tends to be where people go and sometimes you can get a really good price on salmon, especially when it’s frozen,” Thayer said.

If you often throw away fresh produce that spoils before you can use it, head to the freezer section.

“Buying it frozen is a good way to save money because we can pour in whatever we want and then put it back in the freezer for another time,” Thayer said.

When it comes to healthy drinks, Thayer recommends sticking to tap water and low-fat dairy products.

“One place to save money at the grocery store is not to spend it on beverages. You can spend a lot of money in the beverage aisle and not get a lot of nutrition in the process,” Thayer said. .

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Finally, be careful with bulk purchases. People often think they’re saving money by buying healthy foods in bulk, but Thayer stressed that you need to do the math and make sure you’re actually able to use up those foods before they go bad. spoil.

While it takes a little more planning and time to save at the grocery store, Thayer said, it’s time well spent.

“People are starting to make decisions, and hopefully more informed decisions, about what they buy.”

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