Eating Healthy Can Save Money

— Written By Janice Fields and last updated by

By: Janice Fields
Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent
North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center

Some people say healthy food costs more, but that is not necessarily true. Often, the cost is determined by how, where, or when you acquire the food. If you have a money-saving food plan in place, that won’t be an issue. Consider trying the following tips from Cooperative Extension.

Tip #1: Buy locally grown food. Check out the farmers market or produce stand nearest you. Buying direct from the producer cuts out the middleman, resulting in more money for the producer and less cost for you.

Tip #2: Grow your own. Blueberry bushes are easy to grow and provide a delicious lawn border. Blueberries are a superfood in the nutrition realm. A few tomato plants can produce lots of tomatoes. Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, can be attractive in the landscape and be a great seasoning to replace salts while cooking.

Tip #3: Buy produce in season. The price of a fruit or vegetable will be lower when lots of it is available. Produce that is plentiful now includes peppers, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, and cabbage.

Tip #4: Check out the weekly grocery circulars. Buy canned, dried, or frozen in larger quantities when they are on sale. Buy only what you will use before the use-by date. Most commercially canned foods are good for about two years. Most commercially frozen produce will last about two months.

Tip #5: Participate in a community garden. You get to share the work and the produce while promoting community spirit.

Tip #6: Buy a variety of forms of produce: frozen, canned, dried, and fresh. Use the fresh produce first as it will not last as long. If you cannot use the fresh produce right away, try freezing it.

Tip #7: Avoid buying precut and single packages. By cutting the produce yourself, you can save money. You can also prepackage into serving sizes using small ziplock bags. A serving-size bag of fresh carrots ($.23) is much more nutritious and less expensive than a bag of chips ($.75). This not only saves you money now but also reduces the risk of spending precious dollars on medical bills down the road.

Tip #8: Your gardener friend/neighbor may share their overabundance of produce with you. How lucky for you! Contact our office for ways to can, freeze, pickle, or dehydrate your newly acquired produce. It is best to have that information before you get the produce.

We can also educate you on making jams and jellies. Contact our office for dates and topics for food preservation classes in June and July. By using the tips above you just might feel better, look better, and have more money left over to save or spend on other things.

For more information, please contact Janice Fields, Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Janice_Fields@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.