Healthy Eating: Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Personal trainers and nutritionists across the country understand that the cost of healthy items at the grocery store is overwhelming and discouraging. There’s a limited amount of people who can find the fat free, organic cookies and actually afford to pay for them along with the rest of the grocery list.

Some of the members of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, who come from all walks of life, are on tight budgets, and healthy eating plans are hard to execute. What our members have learned is that it’s not about being able to afford it, it’s that the planning ahead of time, as well as the preliminary research, wasn’t there.

Healthy eating doesn’t require six figure incomes to support it; it’s the preparation and knowledge that make a substantial difference.

The personal trainers at the Y encourage our members to take advantage of a great workout plan by capitalizing on it with a healthy eating schedule. Consider the following tips when developing a grocery list focused on good health:

Set a budget and track your money

Our members are extremely busy throughout the entire week, many are too exhausted to worry about a budget before leaving for the grocery store. Avoiding a budget not only hurts wallets but causes disorganization while shopping. Prior to going to the store, making a grocery list can be the difference between a successful trip and a failing one. The lack of planning leads to spontaneous purchases and money being spent on items it shouldn’t be spent on.

Tracking spending and staying organized by keeping all of the receipts in one place is key to managing budgets.

Avoid shopping hungry

Shopping on an empty stomach is something that the personal trainers here strongly oppose. The end result is always impulse buying, purchasing items that are not on the list and are only wanted out of cravings without healthy eating in mind.

Temptations are everywhere, especially after the Y’s group exercise classes. To avoid the urge to go grab food ,get in the routine of going grocery shopping on the same day each week with enough time to create a list by the end of the week so unnecessary stops for one item don’t occur.

Find alternatives to family favorites

Family favorites are arguably the most budget friendly foods, the mac n’ cheeses, pizzas, cheeseburgers and fries, but alternatives that fall under the same categories of being fun and inexpensive while still being healthy do exist. For example, pasta is a budget-friendly item, and the healthier option would be the whole grain version. Go for the fat free cheeses, yogurts and ice cream, children won’t pick up on the differences.


Preparing a list that is organized by the order of each section of the store, along with making enough healthy food to last a few days, and reviewing the weekly grocery store ad, are additional recommendations from our personal trainers.

Become a member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas today to learn more about healthy living!

Authored by: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas