Groceries make up a large chunk of my monthly expenses, so I've learned a few ways of keeping my bill down, like making a grocery list and cutting coupons out of the Sunday paper.
There is, however, another way to save yourself some money at the supermarket, and even help you eat a healthier diet: avoiding certain foods. There are foods on the shelves of your local grocery store that could only be interfering with your bill and your health. Here's what to avoid next time you peruse the aisles of your grocery store:
Sure, it's convenient to grab a bottle of water when you're on your way out the door, but buying cases of water each week will only damage your wallet and the environment.
It has been proven that bottled water is no better than the tap water coming out of your faucet, so why pay extra for it?
Plus, these plastic bottles may leach phthalates into the water, which are chemicals found in common personal care products such as hair spray, soap and shampoo. These chemicals could have a direct impact on your hormones.
The alternative? Invest in a reusable water bottle. You can fill it up at home or at a water fountain. You can even purchase water bottles with filters if you're worried about drinking tap water. You'll be saving yourself money and doing something better for your health at the same time.
I'm always amazed at how pricey name-brand spices like chili powder, cinnamon and garlic powder are. The good news is, you can still get your spices without shelling out extra cash.
The off-brand versions are just as flavorful, making the name-brand varieties kind of a rip off. If you often cook with spices, think about growing your own herb garden in your kitchen, where you can enjoy fresh thyme, oregano, basil and more.
Salads are a tasty option if you're looking for a lighter, healthier meal choice. However, those leafy greens aren't as healthy when they're doused in a creamy dressing. Instead of buying bottles of salad dressing at the grocery store, make your own!
A simple vinaigrette consists of only four ingredients: oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. If you'd like, you can include other add-ins, like finely minced garlic, cilantro, mint, sugar or shallots. This dressing will give your salad the flavor it needs without completely undoing your healthy choice of meals in the first place.
As tempting as hot dogs and brats may be to buy, resist the urge. These smoked and cured meats are extremely unhealthy and have been linked to negative health issues like high blood pressure, migraines and even cancer.
Aside from that, they're filled with grease, added sugars and high fructose corn syrup. If you're in the mood for meat, opt for meats with lean protein (1/8 inch of fat or less). When eating chicken, fish, pork, turkey, beef, etc., you can always add seasonings to enhance its flavor.
Many consumers believe they're purchasing the healthier alternative to regular peanut butter when they throw the reduced-fat variety in their cart. However, it's much better to stick with regular peanut butter.
Why? In order to make up for the lack of fat, manufacturers add in lots of extra sugar. As long as you're eating regular peanut butter in moderation, you're actually taking in protein and good monounsaturated fats.
Buying bottled tea may be more convenient than making your own, but the convenience might not be worth it.
The tea you just bought could seem healthy, but it's actually hiding quite a bit of sugar. In fact, bottled tea can contain more grams of sugar than a can of soda.
Pick up your favorite tea packets from the store and brew them at home instead.
When you come home at the end of a long day, a frozen meal is easy to pop in the microwave, and there's nothing to clean up. But if you knew what was in these convenient meals, you may not be as tempted to put them in your cart.
Frozen meals often contain unhealthy fats, refined sugars, preservatives, sodium, and chemicals. Plus, have you ever actually been filled up by a frozen dish?
Instead, buy foods like chicken and vegetables in bulk and freeze them. You'll always have food on-hand that you can make at the drop of a hat.
Decrease your monthly grocery bill by crossing store-bought cookies off of your list. Yes, they're tasty, but they're packed with refined sugars and certainly aren't good for your waistline.
If you're looking for a sweet treat, bake your own cookies. This way, you can control exactly what goes into them. Try swapping out some of the butter with olive oil to make your treats more heart healthy. You can also replace the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour to add more fiber to your dessert.