Many times fruits and vegetables are considered to be the expensive foods and fast-food meals seem to be the only option. The irony is that, while some people think that they can't afford to buy healthy food, they are paying hundreds of dollars per month on medications to treat chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, which are often brought on by unhealthy eating in the first place. In our culture, people often equate their return on investment with respect to food to the calories they get for the dollars they spend. Therefore, someone may look at a bag of chips that costs 50 cents as being a better purchase than a banana that costs $1. To look at it strictly from a money standpoint, the chips cost less and provide more calories. However, from a nutritional standpoint, the chips are providing little nutritional benefit - saturated fat, salt, and preservatives. On the other hand, the banana is providing fiber, vitamins, and minerals. People need to start equating their return on investment on the health benefits from food rather than simply on what will fill them up and consider their food to be their medicine. Here are some ways to save money when buying produce.
Remember to check the freezer
Some frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as healthy as the fresh ones - and often much cheaper. One of the advantages of buying frozen produce is that it does not spoil. Make sure that frozen fruit doesn't contain any added sugars and that frozen vegetables don't contain added sodium. While frozen produce is usually a healthy option, canned fruits and vegetables tend to have added sugars or salt.
Plant a garden
If you don't have space to plant multiple fruit or vegetable plants, even growing one tomato plant in the backyard or growing herbs on your window sill can help you save money.
Produce at a farmer's market is usually cheaper than at the grocery store and also very fresh, since it is usually grown close by.
Plan to use what you buy
Before going grocery shopping, make sure you have a plan in mind for the week - especially when it comes to buying produce. Plan what meals you will make so you know what - and how much - to purchase. This will help eliminate having to throw away that wilted bag of lettuce and help you to save a lot of money in the long run.
Buying produce that is in-season can help you save a lot of money. Since grocery stores sell most fruits and vegetables year-round, it is hard to tell what is actually in season. The following pages show what fruits and vegetables are typically in season by month: