Karen Lawson wrote the following in the Detroit News. She’s their Food Writer and I thought it was really helpful to keep on hand.

You can cut your grocery bills and still be healthy with these ideas. Remember to choose minimally processed foods that are close to their natural state so you’ll be able to eat well and maintain your budget.

No pre-cut veggies

Forget the bag of baby carrots and instead grab the bag of full-size carrots, which can be as much as 70 percent cheaper. Even though you have to peel and chop the full-size veggies, you will get more nutrients in your system.


Popcorn is affordable and actually quite good for you. Whole grains packed with fiber, these little kernels have gotten a bad rap over the years since they usually eaten after being cooked in oil and slathered with butter and salt.

You can, however, make popcorn better with this quick, healthy trick: Throw some plain kernels in a brown paper bag, fold the top down, and place the bag in the microwave. It will pop like those store-bought bags of popcorn, just without all the preservatives, oils and butter.


Whole grain oats of any kind (old-fashioned, steel-cut, quick, barley, etc.) are a great addition to any healthy pantry. They can be used for all sorts of meals and can keep you full for hours at a time. Add oats to Greek yogurt or sugar-free pudding or just make it the old-fashioned way. Not only are oats very budget-friendly, but this super-food is also great for your body.

Garlic and onions

They not only add a powerful and tasty spark to your meals but are also very inexpensive. Choose the fresh antioxidant-packed options over the powdered seasoning versions to save yourself cash and avoid any preservatives found in processed versions.

Dry beans and lentils

At just a couple of dollars per bag, beans are the perfect protein substitutes for more expensive sources like meat, fish and dairy. Beans can be added to any diet, whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or full-on omnivore. Add beans to your favorite soup or salad or just eat them as a side dish. Dry beans may seem daunting, but just throw them in boiling water until they’re soft, and you’ll have ready-to-eat beans before you know it.

Other healthy, affordable options

Plain yogurt: Add a dollop of honey and get a dose of calcium and protein.

Natural peanut butter: Get your healthy fats this way, and look for brands without added sugar.

Canned tuna: Cheaper than the fresh version, but look for water-packed.

Dry rice/pasta: Avoid precooked versions and choose whole grain or wheat varieties.

Frozen vegetables/berries: Often cheaper than fresh; just make sure that there is just one ingredient listed (the veggie or berry you’re buying).

Green tea/coffee: Decaf and regular versions are both packed with antioxidants