The University of Alabama

UA Matters: Tips for Buying Healthy Food on a Budget

Sheena Quizon Gregg

Sheena Quizon Gregg

Healthy eating is something many strive to achieve, but oftentimes the grocery bill tends to get in the way.

The University of Alabama’s Sheena Quizon Gregg offers suggestions on how you can still buy nutritious food, but stay within your budget.

  • Buy local: Purchasing fresh produce from your local farmer’s market or roadside fruit/vegetable stand can ensure you’re getting a fresh product and a cheaper price. Building a rapport with the vendors at these stands can also help you barter for a cheaper price. Additionally, you may get a better price visiting a vendor’s stand later in the afternoon or before they close up shop for the day as some farmers want to sell their remaining days produce on the cheap to avoid bringing it back with them.
  • Utilize Frozen Produce: Today’s technology “flash freezes” fruits and vegetables at their peak level of nutrition, ensuring your product is packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Get to Know Your Grocery Store: Signing up for your grocery store’s reward cards while using in-store coupons and coupons from the internet/newspaper can help keep your wallet in check. Getting to know grocery store employees, especially in the meat and produce section, can allow you to ask when certain meats are going on sale or produce will be restocked.
  • Buy in Bulk: Warehouse discount membership stores that offer bulk purchase of produce, meats and other food products can be helpful when you have a large family.
  • Shop in Season: Be sure to do your research and find out what particular produce is in season in your state.
  • Make a List and Check it Twice­: Going to the grocery store with a plan in your hand can help reduce impulse shopping. Many recipe websites offer tools to help you create weekly menus for you and your family while also compiling a grocery list with foods that can be used in multiple recipes throughout the week.
  • Avoid Going to the Grocery Store Hungry: In fact, you may want to do your grocery shopping right after eating a meal to avoid any purchases on impulse and hunger.

Quizon Gregg is a registered dietitian and assistant director of health education and prevention at UA.

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UA Matters is a weekly posting that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The information is available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Kim Eaton at 205/348-8325 or kkeaton@ur.ua.edu>.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.