Tips For Eating Clean When You’re Broke

Does clean eating seem like an expensive and overpriced option to you? Are you avoiding it because you just don’t think you can afford it?

I was the same way at first. That is until I learned how to eat clean on a budget! Below, I’ll share with you the 5 tricks and tips I’ve used to do just that.

5 Tips For Eating Clean When You're Broke

Shop In Bulk

Start in the bulk section of your local health food store. Bulk foods are cheaper than the packaged versions, and you get really clean and healthy foods. Think beans (easy to cook and cheaper than buying cans), whole grains such as barley, millet, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), and whole grain flours. Avoid anything boxed or canned. While this is pretty much a general rule of clean eating, many clean items still come in a can or box. Remember, you pay for the packaging!

Selective Organics

You don’t have to purchase all organic produce to get the benefits of eating organic. Save your money for the organic options of the “dirty dozen.” Those foods which contain the highest amounts of pesticides.

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Grapes
  10. Spinach
  11. Lettuce
  12. Potatoes

Get Familiar

I shop at three different stores because I know where I can get better prices on different foods and supplies. That said, you have to factor in the carbon footprint and cost of driving from store to store. For me, these stores are relatively close together. If I had to drive further to get to each one, it would outweigh the benefits of going to a cheaper store.

Clip Those Coupons

While few people want to take the time to clip and organize coupons, it can definitely add up in the savings department. Typically, you won’t find a lot of sales on bulk items or fresh produce. But often, stores will put out coupons for a certain amount off of your entire order, as opposed to the manufacturer offering a discount on one specific item. Keep your eyes open for these deals. I know Whole Foods occasionally offers discounts on anything in their bulk section. This is the time to stock up, especially on items you buy regularly.

Cook From Scratch

I know, I know. You don’t have time to cook every day. But with a little planning, you can work on home-cooked meals every day of the week. Plan to cook and freeze portions of large recipes on the weekend. Bake your own bread. With the right recipe, it’ll be cheaper than that 99-cent loaf at the SaveMart. And it’s easy! Here’s a recipe for Healthy Bread In 5 Minutes A Day, and here’s another quick and affordable recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

Make Poor Man Meals

Keep those homemade meals simple. Fewer ingredients equals less cost per serving. While the term “Poor Man Meals” may not be the most uplifting, it gets to the heart of my point: Don’t make elaborate meals. Keep it simple, like spaghetti or fried eggs on whole-grain toast.

Buy The Whole Bird

Buy a whole, organic chicken. Yes, it seems pricey at first. (I paid almost $14 for a medium-sized, organic chicken at Trader Joe’s). But here’s the thing. There are so many ways to extend the “life” of that chicken. The meat can be frozen or used in soups, sandwiches, or on its own. Plus, once you’ve removed the meat, you can boil the bones to make the best chicken stock ever. You just can’t beat homemade chicken stock. So you can start to see where you can actually save money by buying a whole bird.

This is by no means a definitive list. If you know of any ways to save on eating clean, please share them in a comment below. We’re all on a budget these days. Let’s help each other out and save some money while still maintaining our health!

Article is an original work and is © Tiffany McCauley. It may not be reproduced for any reason without written permission by the author.

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  1. I like to bulk cook and put stuff in mason jars! Put the food in hot (boiling if a sauce) and it seals itself! No need to freeze and only needs to be kept cool! Saves on defrosting time

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Abby – Interesting! Do you know a lot about canning? For some reason, I’m scared to do it!

  2. First off, please don’t can unless you know what you are doing. I only use recipes from the Ball Blue Canning Book. You do NOT want to just can something and hope it doesn’t go bad ( botulism is NOT worth it!!)

    Our ” health food store” in my area (sprouts) usually has 3 or 4 produce items as loss leaders each week in their ad. If it’s something I love, I’ll buy a ton and freeze it on a cookie sheet. Then put it in a freezer bag and have it on hand!

    I also have changed my mentality for grocery shopping. Instead of just buying what we need, when we need it, I try to stock up on the sales. I also realized that things go on sale every 4-6 weeks, so I don’t have to buy (and store) a years worth of a product.

    Once you’ve watched the sales for a few cycles, you can start a price points list. It’s a list of the lowest price of the products you buy most often in your area. It lets you know if the sale price is actually a good price, or if it will drop in a few weeks.

    Finally, multi-purpose items help save money. For instance, I can buy vinegar at Sams Club for $3 for 2 gallons. I can use that for cooking, canning, floor cleaner, ant deterrent, etc. same goes for coconut oil. Cooking, in smoothies, face wash, hair mask, etc.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hales – I agree on the canning thing! That’s why I haven’t really started with it. I need to learn more. I know there are some botulism test strips in the works, but they are not available to the general public yet. Fingers crossed that happens soon! Thanks for sharing your tips!