Have you ever seen a coupon for some overly processed cookie and thought, "Why aren't there coupons for kale?!" According to a recent study, which looked at more than 1,000 online coupons offered by six major grocery store chains, the biggest chunk of discounts (25 percent, in fact) were for snack foods—like chips, crackers and desserts—and just 3 percent were for fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and veggies. Major bummer! But there are savvy ways to cut your healthy grocery bill, and even save on fresh produce. Check out these budget-friendly tricks, along with easy ways to incorporate your bounty into nutritious meals.
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Shop for Organic Store BrandsMost major grocery chains now offer organic options of their store-brand products, and some even sell a separate line of USDA-certified organic foods. These private-label goods tend to be less expensive than brand-name alternatives. For example, at my local market, a 16-ounce package of organic store brand quinoa cost $1less than a 12-ounce bag of a popular, brand-name product that's not organic. The same store sells organic beans for $1 per can, which is $0.79 less than a non-organic, well-known brand one shelf away. And organic store-brand eggs sell for at least $1less per dozen compared to a popular organic version.
Make More Plant-Based MealsAn effective overall budget-friendly strategy is to make more plant-based meals each week, like bean or lentil stew. Compared to $2 per pound for chicken on the bone (one of the least expensive poultry options), one can of beans costs about $1 and contains 3.5 servings. For an easy dish you can make ahead of time and re-heat, saut? a few cups of chopped veggies of your choice and minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Add a cup each of water and organic, low-sodium vegetable broth, along with some Italian herb seasoning. Bring to a quick boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Add a half cup of canned beans or lentils, and serve over a half cup of a cooked starch, like brown rice or sweet potato. This hearty dish costs much less than a meat-based entr?e, and it's brimming with fiber and nutrients.
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Print Organic CouponsWhile brand-name products tend to cost more than store brands, many now offer printable coupons on their web sites or on retailer sites. When I Googled "organic coupons" I found organicdeals.com, where I quickly spotted a link to printable coupons from Whole Foods for organic products, including $1 off 2 cups of Stonyfield organic yogurt and $1 off a 3.5-ounce Green & Black's organic chocolate bar—pretty decent deals!
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Switch Your Meal ProportionsIf you eat meat, remember that one portion is 4 ounces uncooked, which means that 1 pound of raw meat should yield four servings. Cutting back too-large portions of meat to the recommended amount and bumping up your veggie intake can be an easy and effective way to reduce food costs. For example, slashing your chicken breast portion from 6 ounces to 3 ounces and adding a quarter of a head of broccoli in its place saves about $1.00, a savings that could snowball meal after meal.