Frugal Healthy High Country Grocery Shopping

The biggest complaint I see to eating real food is the price that it can cost to follow a healthy diet.  While consistent and exclusive shopping at health food stores like Earth Fare can be expensive (even when you shop sales) there are many ways to save money on your grocery bill while eating healthy.  On most months we spend around $400 a month or $100 a week on groceries.  I buy many organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed and natural-fed meats, and only use natural sweeteners.  I rarely purchase any processed foods.  Here’s how I do it:

Purchase in Bulk: I purchase dry goods from a local bulk-foods co-op.  I buy pasta, dried fruit, raw nuts and seeds, cooking oils, wheat berries, and organic spices all in bulk to save money.  The only danger with purchasing in bulk is that sometimes some things might look really good, but you won’t use that much of it or use it ever.  I purchased a few things a time or two that either took us forever to use or we still haven’t used it.  My advice if something looks super tasty in the bulk foods catalog, but you aren’t sure if you’ll need that much or use it at all purchase it from Earth Fare or another local health food store.  If you use it up quickly and want to buy a larger package next time, then buy it in bulk.  If not, you know that you’ve actually saved money buying it at the health food store.

Purchase Meat from a Local Farmer and Eat Less Meat: We have been buying all our beef and chicken from a local farmer here in the High Country.  I just love buying meat from the source and knowing where it is coming from.  I am willing to pay a bit more than the local grocery store sales knowing that I am eating meat that has been grass fed and doesn’t contain contaminates (like hormones and antibiotics) or an inverse of Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s (which can cause inflammation).  Since we pay a bit more on meat than shopping the super cheap grocery store deals I typically make 1-2 vegetarian meals a week in order to make up the cost.  And, there is also a health benefit to eating less meat.  If you are interested in hearing more about meat production in the US I would recommend the documentary Food Inc.

Purchase Eggs from a Local Family: I’ve found a local family that sells their eggs for $2/dozen.  This helps both the local family and I get eggs for a great price.  Each month I’ll buy 3 or 4 dozen eggs to do all my cooking and baking for the month.

Purchase Only Organic Foods that are On the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen List: The Environmental Working Group has put out a list called the “dirty dozen”, this list contains the 12 worst fruits and veggies that contain the highest amounts of pesticides and contaminates.  And since many studies are starting to link pesticides to epidemics like ADHD and other health problems, spending money on these foods will be well worth your money.  You can find both the EWG dirty dozen and clean dozen list here.

Healthy Eating

Purchase Fruits and Veggies from a Local Farmer: This summer we took part in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  I have really enjoyed trying to figure out ways to use unique fruits and veggies in our diets this summer.  Though I’m not sure if we will do it again because I find myself being the only one to want to eat foods such as eggplant and butternut squash time and time again.  Many farmers will sell “organic” produce for less.  Those farmers are probably not USDA certified because it costs a truckload of money, but they might as well be because many practice organic farming methods.  Just ask your local farmer if they use pesticides.

Make Food From Scratch: I realize that many don’t feel like they have the time to cook from scratch.  Sometimes I don’t have the time either.  But, I do try to cook from scratch as much as possible.  Sometimes it takes just as much time to dump a box in a bowl then to makes things from scratch.  And, sometimes it takes much more time to cook from scratch.  But,  even when shopping sales cooking from scratch is often a lot cheaper than buying processed foods.  Plus, it is much healthier and will probably save you on hospital bills later.

Grow A Garden: Someday I will graduate to having my own garden, but until then I will continue to buy from others who have one.  A garden is the most frugal way to eat healthy.  Plus, there is never any harm on learning how to grow your own foods.

Do you have any more tips?  What do you do to save money on healthy foods?


  1. Edith Webb says

    We have enjoyed the local Farmer’s Market this year. Fresh is always best. Very good tips. Keep up the good articles.

  2. Great tips, thanks so much for sharing!