Most of us are operating under the assumption that it’s too expensive to eat healthy. And if you’re only browsing the premium aisles at Whole Foods, this might be true. But otherwise, it doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to save on groceries and have healthy meals on a budget. You just have to be ready to do the extra work. Choosing convenience over all other considerations is what tends to get us in trouble. When you make cautious and mindful decisions, your wallet and your health will thank you!

6 Tips to Eat Healthier and Save Money this Summer

1. Cook at home more often

According to research performed by Forbes, ordering delivery is nearly five times more expensive than cooking at home. Food that’s five times cheaper is nothing to scoff at, but that’s not the only benefit of cooking at home. When you cook at home, you have greater control over the ingredients that are used and the portion size. And with restaurant wait times and multiple deliveries to get to before yours, cooking at home will probably get that food onto the table faster, too. Cooking at home can also create great fun for your summer staycation.

2. Consider the seasonality of your purchases

When you try to find fresh fruits and vegetables outside of their growing season, they can be pricey. They also tend not to taste as good. Both of these factors might prevent you from choosing healthy foods to cook at home in the future. By buying produce that’s in season, you’ll save money and build a healthy habit. If there’s a fruit or vegetable you need for a recipe and it’s not in season, buy it frozen as it’s picked at the peak of ripeness and cost-effective.

3. Visit local farmers markets

One of the best places to get fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price is the farmers’ markets. Plus, they have the added benefit of supporting local businesses. Because these food items are grown locally, they’re more likely to be fresh, in-season, and a more reasonable price. And farmers’ markets are a fun activity to look forward to in the summer months, too. When you’re done at the farmer’s market, you can spend the time you saved hunting for affordable produce on making your home more energy-efficient and save yourself even more money. 

4. Try to buy in bulk

Shelf-stable items can be purchased in bulk at club stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJs. The price per unit on things like pasta, nuts, olive oil, and other pantry staples works out to be significantly cheaper than traditional grocery stores. You’ll have to have the space to store greater quantities of these items, but if you’ve got a closet to spare, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money long-term. Just be wary of items that will degrade in quality when you buy them in bulk. Skip the spices, since these tend to become less flavorful after a year or so on your shelf.

5. Store foods the right way to minimize waste

Do you know which fruits should be stored on the counter and which should go in the fridge? What about your vegetables? Do you know when it’s time to move something to the fridge so it doesn’t over ripen? Paying attention to the way your food purchases should be stored is one of the best ways to save on your grocery bill. You’ll get more out of your grocery haul and you won’t feel guilty when you have to throw away all that produce at the end of the week.

6. Share meals if you’re going to eat out

Saving at the grocery store and cooking at home will make a huge difference in your effort to save money and eat healthy. But sometimes, we just want to eat out anyway, especially now that restaurants are reopening. It is the summertime, after all. We deserve a treat now and then. And there are ways to eat out without going overboard financially or physically. If you’re going to go out to eat, consider going out for lunch instead of dinner. There are often lunch specials or smaller portions involved.

If you’re eating at a restaurant that serves notoriously large portion sizes, order an appetizer instead of an entrée. Or if you’re with a friend, coworker, or loved one, order one entrée to share instead of ordering two. If you know you have snacks to look forward to at home, skip the restaurant dessert, and move the party back to your house. There are plenty of easy ways to save money eating out.