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TOPIC: Inexpensive grocery shopping on a low carb diet

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September 18, 2012 11:27 AM
It's so hard to eat healthy when food is so expensive. It's no wonder so much of the population is so obese. It's cheaper to pick up a hamburger through drive-thru than a salad. If you actually try to eat healthy, you spend a lot of money at the grocery store.

Has anyone found any ways to get past this? I'm trying to go low carb, but its so much cheaper to grab a loaf of bread and sandwich fixing than it is to buy lean meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Any suggestions?
September 18, 2012 11:30 AM
Eggs. 5 dozen for $8 where I go. You can make omelets for days. Just add a little spinach and EVOO for fats.
September 18, 2012 11:31 AM
look at the different grocery ads in your area and go to wal-mart they will compare the prices for you thats what i do on wednesday they have the ads in the news paper and there is alot of differnt kinds of meat on sale and i only go to one place and they give me that price!!!! hope it works for you
September 18, 2012 11:34 AM
If you are avoiding or limiting carbs you are NOT buying the bread, potatoes, crackers, pasta, cereals, etc. I have found my grocery bill has gone down.

Look for sales on meat, stock up and freeze. Buy fruits and veggies in season as you can. Frozen is always a good option for fruits and veggies and it's not that expensive.
September 18, 2012 11:34 AM
It does get pretty expensive. I load up on frozen chicken breasts, ground turkey, ground beef... veggies. If you have a crock pot, starting some turkey chili in the morning is a great way to have lunch available for the week (and pretty inexpensive per serving). Snack on veggies and cheese, hummus. I think the hardest part is planning.
September 18, 2012 11:35 AM
Sorry, but I don't agree at all.....You don't have to buy a salad at a drive-thru - you can buy a BAG of salad in a grocery store for half the price of a hamburger...
And to make home made hamburgers cost a lot less....
8 lean beef patties, store bought) a dozen buns, salad, tomato, and oven fries - conveniently store bought frozen ones) that makes two meals for 4 people comes to less than $16 dollars (and that's in Canada, which is a lot more expensive than the US)

Add a 12 pack of pop, diet or not, and its around $10 for four hamburgers with fries, salad and pop - and it's a lot healthier that drive thru stuff....
Can you buy all that for $10 at a drive thru?
It's an excuse....
September 18, 2012 11:35 AM
Lots of eggs, buy the generic kind of cheese, buy lunch meat when it's on sale. Check out the various ads and buy whatever meat is on sale that week in a larger size, package up and freeze in portions. One week it might be hamburger, another week it might be pork chops, another chicken breasts. Veggies are cheap, eat lots of salads with meat/cheese/hard boiled eggs (any or all). I decided it was cheaper and more delicious to make my own ranch with half generic sour cream/half generic mayo and buy the ranch powder in bulk. If you're not buying junk food/breads/etc you should have plenty to spend on eggs, cheese, meat, veggies. If you know someone with a Costco card, see if they will take you so you can buy butter. It's just over $8 for 4 pounds of it. See if it's cheaper to buy a bag of salad mix or heads of lettuce, keeping in mind that the bags of cut salad can go bad more quickly.
Edited by maremare312 On September 18, 2012 11:36 AM
September 18, 2012 11:43 AM
I find it cheaper to eat healthy, not eat out as much, and not buy junk.

I don't do anything special other than watch my stores sales. The biggest thing I've found that has cut my grocery budget is planning out my menu and shopping ONLY off my shopping list for the menu I've prepared for the week or month. My grocery budget is generally under $400 a month which is for a family of four. And, honestly, I run a daycare so I have a group of kids eating breakfast and lunch here too.

It's a lot cheaper when you aren't buying junk you don't need. It's also a lot cheaper when you prepare all your food.

Over all, if I splurge and spend $6 on a jar of almond butter that will last me a month, I've more than made up for it in the savings by NOT going out to eat every week and cutting things like chips and alcohol.

Since I changed my diet, I find it a lot easier to get a handle on my grocery budget.
September 18, 2012 11:45 AM
Costco 15 dozen eggs for under $20.
Beans are very cheap and although high in carbs the net carb is low and provide some protein as well...
Edited by lewcompton On September 18, 2012 11:46 AM
September 18, 2012 11:53 AM
I'm still buying some processed foods for my family, but I eat almost none of it now. In the last month I've probably consumed a processed food item 1-2 meals a day. Almost everything else is a "whole food": Chicken, beef, fish, eggs, veggies, fruit, brown rice, quinoa, popcorn.

My grocery bill is about the same as it was before, but I'm buying much less processed stuff, and much more "real food." I've been trying to stock up my pantry with "good for me" things, and am slowly transitioning to organic non GMO stuff. We are eating better than ever as a family... which is driving my 8 yr old daughter up a tree. LOL.

I'm getting creative with how I prep my whole ingredients. Like every time I bake chicken, I through an extra breast or two in... and dice up the leftovers, and pre-portion them into single serving "snack size" bags and freeze. I do the same thing with Hamburger, Brown rice & quinoa too. All my veggies and fruit that get cut, I always cut up the whole item, and save the extra in my fridge to make salads & fruit w/ yougurt a quick and easy breese. I try to pack myself a snack before I leave the house, as I'm eating every 3 hours, and can't afford the calories of "eating out" most places... quite frankly, my tastebuds have changed so much over the last 4 months that I am not even craving most of that stuff most of the time. And most depressingly, I can't drink my carmel latte anymore because it is just too sweet! Sigh. But at least my pocket book is thanking me!
September 18, 2012 11:57 AM
A bag of salad at any grocery store probably isn't much more expensive than a hamberger at drive-thru. The problem here is for many a plate of salad doesn't give the same level of "satisfaction" than a cheesy berger. LOL

I think you can do it relatively cheaply, but it takes time for you to adjust your mind and sense of satisfaction over the new type of foods you are buying. Good luck!
September 18, 2012 11:57 AM
You aren't going to get cheap low carb. I make sacrifices elsewhere to afford it.
September 18, 2012 11:59 AM
I buy a roasted chicken once a week and use it all work week. I eat the legs and thighs for two meals and I add breast meat to salads, soups, etc. I am on a ridiculously low carb diet due to thyroid issues, per my doctor. I eat between 20 and 30 net carbs a day and I manage pretty well on a tight budget.
September 18, 2012 12:00 PM
Coupons. Yes, there are so many coupons for the junkier foods. But I am seeing more and more coupons available for healthier foods. In fact, I get produce coupons from my store (Kroger). With coupons I have been able to purchase foods such as produce (fresh and bagged), cheese and yogurt, almond milk, meat and fresh fish, atkins products, powerbar products and more at lower prices, and sometimes even free.
September 18, 2012 12:03 PM
Tofu--inexpensive compared to meat.
September 18, 2012 12:04 PM
Try finding a farmers market in your area. They usually have produce cheaper than the grocery stores and it will always be seasonal!

It is hard shopping healthy. Sometimes when my wallet hurts I wish I could just buy cheap ramen for my lunches instead of the salad & toppings + meat. Definitely stock up on freezable items when they go on sale. Make large batches of soup and freeze single portions for the future.
September 18, 2012 12:07 PM
I eat a l o t of eggs :)!

I dont buy the bag salads because they cost more then cutting it yourself and dont last as long.

I eat alot of cabbage because its a cheap veggie (Lower in carbs) I mix onion/oil with some mix of other veggies as a filler. Frozen veggies can be cheaper however certain things I dont like frozen.

My husband bought a food saver and we buy meat in bulk now and the foodsaver has already paid for its self :)! I usually get the fattest cuts of meat which can in some cases be cheaper... unless its comes to rib eye :)!
September 18, 2012 12:08 PM
I shop at Aldi for fresh produce (among other things). Their prices are well below even the sale prices at the bigger name-brand supermarkets. It pays to no what day the produce truck comes in so you can get the freshest and best.
September 18, 2012 12:09 PM
It is cheaper to avoid the junk and fast food all in all. However, I too have used the reasoning that you have pointed out. But once I changed to buying food in the store, my bank card AND my tummy thanked me! Where my husband and I would spend $100+ each week in fast food/junk, I can make healthy, whole food meals & yes even low carb meals all week for around $50-$70 a week! Plus not to mention, I know ladies in my area and other states that make healthy meals for bigger families for less than I spend.

My choices:
turkey bacon
chicken breast/fillets
real cheese
lean ground beef rolls
frozen mixed veggies for stir fry
broccoli(frozen and fresh, switch it up every now and then)
asparagus (again frozen or fresh depending on the price you are comfortable with)
1 loaf of whole wheat 35 calorie bread (lasts for around 2 weeks)

My lists goes on and on. Stock your pantry with canned low carb veggies & this will cut down the bill each week or month as well.
September 18, 2012 12:13 PM
Sprouting lentils. Love them.
September 18, 2012 12:25 PM
Indian food! The best investment I ever made was shelling out £5 on spices. Once you have the basics you can make hundreds of cheap, tasty, freezable dishes. (Buy from Asian groceries, if you can. 100g packet of tumeric will set you back 69p at my local store; whereas the supermarket sells 36g for £1.69. You're paying a premium for getting it in a little glass jar.)

If you have free time and a big freezer, COOK and FREEZE!

Go to the supermarket late at night when they slash the prices of food they can't sell the next day and buy more than you can eat. You don't need to have a recipe in mind. Just buy what's cheap, find recipes once you get home, and then spend the next day cooking and freezing. The added advantage of freezing is that whenever you're hungry or you're tired and don't feel like cooking, you always have a healthy low carb meal just ten minutes away. It takes away the temptation to order pizza.

I agree with you that it's more expensive to eat well than to eat badly, but I'll share with you some advice a friend gave me - "invest in yourself." We often feel guilty when we spend money on ourselves, but good, healthful food is an investment in our health and well-being - and what is more important? The same goes for finding time to cook - invest time in taking care of yourself.

Be kind to yourself.
September 18, 2012 12:26 PM
I have a family of 7 to feed (though many are small children) - I buy in bulk - esp meats. I just picked up an 8lb roaster chicken, a whole pork loin, boneless/skinless chicken thighs, and lean ground beef (93%) at Safeway on sale for $2/lb each. Definitely look for the sales. Buy larger cuts of meat and cut them yourselves, too. Last Xmas we got a whole beef tenderloin (a big annual splurge for us) and sliced it up ourselves using a YouTube video. I think I got the whole thing for $50 when it retails for like $35/lb if you get smaller cuts or filets. Not that any of us are eating filet regularly, but the logic applies to any large cuts.
September 18, 2012 12:31 PM
I like to get my fruits and veggies at the stands rather than the grocery stores. Still not extremely cheap, but i can usually get about 4 full bags for about $30 at the veggie stand, versus one bad for $30 at the grocery store.
September 18, 2012 12:36 PM
People aren't obese because they find it's cheaper to eat junk than healthy. Feeble excuse.

You can eat junk and still be thin.

You can eat healthy food and still be obese.

The best option is to eat healthy and within a sensible calorie limit for your body.
September 18, 2012 12:37 PM

I decided it was cheaper and more delicious to make my own ranch with half generic sour cream/half generic mayo and buy the ranch powder in bulk.

I'm also a ranch fan...You should try the hidden valley ranch dip packet and mix it with a 500g container of 0% Fage greek yogurt! it tastes great, has more protein and no fat!


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