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See this pineapple? Changed my life. Forever. No, silly, not THIS pineapple. But one just like it.
I used to just put things in my grocery cart with abandon. And I paid dearly for it. Especially when I decided to start being intentional with a healthy lifestyle. I would think, “Pineapple is healthy, let’s get some of that!” I would put that five dollar pineapple right in my cart and pat myself on the back for being a good noodle.
My grocery bill went up as my waistline went down.
Then at some point during the early summer I tossed in a pineapple and looked at the sign above the bulk bin. Two dollars. What?!?! When did pineapple become two dollars? I thought it was my lucky day.
I was wrong. It wasn’t just a lucky coincidence. As some of you may already know, in early summer those pineapple prices plummet. Why? Because pineapple is IN SEASON at this point. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to grow it, so it doesn’t cost the consumer a hand and a foot to purchase it.
I was not new to meal planning, but I was definitely new to cost planning. I had never really thought about consuming foods on a regular rotation. Asparagus in April instead of December, peaches in June instead of September. You get the idea.
So I started to do a little research, and lo and behold, there are resources to help you be proactive in meal planning. There are tables and charts that will tell you when to expect produce prices to dip. Just like the one I’ll share with you in my seasonal produce PDF.
You want to know what else I began to notice? Those strawberries I bought in November didn’t taste nearly as sweet as the ones I purchased in July. The asparagus was kind of wilty and drab in September too. Because produce in season is at its peak, and tastes crisp, and fresh, and sweet.
What are some other things that I do to keep to my budget while eating clean?
- Buy frozen fruits and vegetables when they are not in season.
For times when you need a LOT of fruit or veg, like making smoothies, go with frozen produce. It is frozen at its peak and is almost as nutritious as fresh.
- Don’t try to buy clean items for you and junk for your kids.
Who are we helping by doing this? If you try to do both, your grocery bill will skyrocket. Save the treats for special occasions and make a lifestyle change that will benefit everyone.
- Do most of your shopping on the outer perimeter of the store.
This is where the meat, produce, and dairy are usually located. Inner aisles are full of temptation.
- Meal plan BEFORE you go to the grocery store.
Know what you will have for supper each night. Prepare for snacking. Plan for breakfast items. Then stick to your shopping list. Use a meal and grocery planner
- Make meals from scratch.
Check out a couple of tips in my blog post Scratch Cooking: Spice Mixtures and Cream Soups. Start slow, it will come more naturally the more you learn.
- Grow some of your own produce.
No, you don’t have to be a full-on farmer to make a dent in the budget. Try your hand at some herbs in the windowsill or grow a tomato plant on your porch in a big pot. Every little bit helps.
- Go meatless at least once per week.
Meat can be one of the most expensive parts of a meal. Your gut and your wallet will thank you if you give it a rest once in a while. Try this tasty vegetarian recipe instead.
But my number one tip for clean eating on a budget is definitely:
- Eat produce when it is IN SEASON!
Use the seasonal produce PDF to help. It’s FREE!!
Hope you enjoy this post! Please comment below and let me know any other tips you may have for anyone wanting to begin a clean eating lifestyle. Also, be sure to share this post with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.