Canada's food guide

Healthy eating on a budget

Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost more. You can choose many different healthy foods when eating on a budget.

How to eat healthily on a budget

Healthy eating on a budget can be made easier with these ideas:

Stick to your list

Buying only what is on your grocery list will help you cut down on impulse buys.

Shop for sales

Check out flyers, coupons, mobile apps and websites for deals on foods that are on your list.

Look for reduced prices. Products getting close to their best before dates and oddly shaped or slightly bruised produce may be offered at a lower price or discount. These products are just as healthy as “perfect” varieties and buying them also helps reduce food waste.

Compare prices

Compare the unit price on the label to know which product is less expensive.

In grocery stores where price-matching is offered, use flyers to price match products on sale.

Scan different shelves. Companies pay more to place their products at eye level. You may find other versions of the same foods on higher or lower shelves.

Compare prices on generic and brand name products to see if there is a difference before choosing.

Foods sold in single-serve packaging can cost more. Buy the full size or family size version and divide it up yourself.

Stock up

Stock up on canned goods and staples when they are on sale.

Extend the shelf life of sale products. Freeze:

  • fish
  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • whole grain bread
  • lean meats or poultry

Buying foods in bulk can help you save money. Be careful not to buy more than you need, because this can lead to waste.

Consider the season

Fresh vegetables and fruit are usually less expensive when they are in season.

Frozen and canned vegetables and fruits are also healthy options. They can be less expensive than fresh produce when it is out of season.

Choose plant-based protein foods more often

Beans, lentils and other legumes are inexpensive protein foods. Use them in your meals several times a week.

Limit highly processed foods

Limit highly processed foods. These are usually low in vitamins and minerals and can cost more.

Prepare foods at home. Although they can save time, prepackaged foods such as grated cheese and pre-seasoned meat cost more.

Set a budget

Decide how much you will spend on groceries each week or month.

Explore grocery stores

Shop at discount grocery stores, which offer lower prices.

Avoid grocery shopping at convenience stores, which are more expensive.

Check with your grocery store to see if it offers any discounts. Some stores feature a “seniors’ day” or a student discount day with special discounts.

Visit the Food guide for life for tips to:

  • Save money
Make a healthy choice

What you eat on a regular basis matters for your health.

  • Choose foods that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fat.
  • Compare the nutrition facts table on foods to choose products that are lower in sodium, sugars or saturated fat.

Further reading

Date modified: 2019-01-14