April 10, 2015

April 10, 2015
12 Ways to Save on Healthy Food

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Friday and we have almost made it through another work week. I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I have been enjoying a leisurely week.

Part of living long term with HIV (or any chronic illness) is having a nutritional diet. The healthier we live the less the side effects from the medications and the healthier our bodies with be. Budget is also a concern but how can we save on healthy food? Use these 12 easy, creative grocery shopping tips to buy food that's good for you without breaking the bank.

Download an Organic Grocery Rebate App

There are rebate platforms aplenty, but BerryCart (free, Android, iOS) is the only one dedicated to organic, gluten-free and non-GMO items from more than 100,000 stores including Kroger and Target. Recent deals: $4 cash back on a blend of organic superfood oils (avocado, chia seed, coconut); 50 cents back on a dozen non-GMO free-range eggs.

Be an Organic and All-Natural Product Tester

Want to sample new items on the cheap? Visit Abe's Market, which sells organic and natural products (no artificial additives, hydrogenated fats or preservatives). In exchange for your feedback, the Try for $2 program lets you order individual or travel-size products—and shipping is included. Past scores include $2 for two Kind bars—which ordinarily come in a 12-pack for $19, plus shipping.

Visit Health-Conscious Food Brand Sites

Global food giants—with their big marketing budgets—have long posted coupons on their sites. As those companies snatch up smaller organics (General Mills owns Annie's Homegrown; Kraft owns Boca Burgers), there has been an explosion in coupons for health-conscious lines. Danone-owned Stonyfield recently offered 14 online coupons, and spice maker Simply Organic posted 9. To find deals, sign up for e-mail and newsletters from manufacturers and follow them on Facebook and other social media.

Sign Up for Organic Grocery Coupons

Four times per year, Mambo Sprouts, a marketing company that specializes in healthy lifestyles, publishes direct-mail coupon books stuffed with exclusive deals. Some examples: $1 off any Rudi's Organic Bakery product; $1 off Nate's non-GMO meatless meatballs.

Bookmark Healthy Shopping Blogs

Searching for sales can put a real dent in your day. Thankfully, there are a handful of blogs that do the work for you. All Natural Savings organizes more than 80 coupons for healthy and organic foods by category (baby/kids, say, or baking). It also posts a weekly sweep of store circulars (Kroger, Target, Trader Joe's and others) and matches the best sales with manufacturer coupons, so you know which deals to stack. Sign up to get a daily message with deals and coupons.

Buy Healthy Foods in Bulk

Because you're not paying for packaging or distribution, organic bulk foods cost 89 percent less on average than their packaged counterparts. A standout source is Bulk Natural Foods. The site listed organic brown rice in bulk for 13 cents per ounce, while Safeway was selling packaged organic brown rice for 17 cents per ounce. Just know: Bulk retailers often sell only large quantities, and you save only if your haul doesn't go to waste. A solution: Split big purchases with friends.

Shop Closeout Stores for Healthy Foods

Low-cost chains are a great source for healthy goods. Big Lots, for one, has organic and gluten-free grains from Bob's Red Mill for far less than what you'd find at supermarkets. A 26-ounce bag of the brand's quinoa was $11.50 (or 44 cents per ounce) at Big Lots, while a 16-ounce bag of the same went for $9 (56 cents per ounce) at ShopRite.

Hit Whole Foods Market

The upscale store is catering to cost-conscious customers. It is expected to roll out a rewards program nationally this year; it also offers more than 30 printable coupons for organic products online and at store checkouts. What's more, a 2014 price sweep by product-analysis site Cheapism found that Whole Foods beat Safeway's price on 25 everyday items including organic potatoes ($1.49 per pound compared with $2).

Save on Organic Foods at Commissaries

Although selections vary at the 241 military commissaries worldwide, organic eggs, milk, produce and frozen foods are widely available. Goods are priced 30 percent lower than at regular markets, according to the Defense Commissary Agency, which operates the stores. Check the Military Produce Group's site for weekly specials on fruits and vegetables. A recent circular advertised organic gala apples for $1.89 per pound, compared with the average supermarket price of $3 per pound.

Save on Eggs at Club Stores

The average club-store price for 24 organic eggs is $7 (29 cents per egg), while 12 organic eggs at the market ranges from $4.39 to $5.69 (37 cents to 47 cents per egg). Thank the buying power of BJ's, Costco and Sam's Club. They negotiate with vendors to get lower prices, which they pass on to you. One catch: When store-brand organic eggs are on sale at the grocery store, the price—which might drop to as low as $2.68 per dozen—can beat warehouse clubs.

Buy "Clean 15" Produce

Can't afford to go all-organic? You might not need to. According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, these 15 fruits and veggies contain minimal levels of pesticides, so they are safe to eat when conventionally grown: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, frozen sweet peas, pineapples and sweet potatoes.

Shop at Farmers' Markets

A 2011 study found that prices of 14 organic items were, on average, 39 percent less at farmers markets than at grocery stores. Even if a farm isn't certified organic (a long, expensive process), the grower might use non-chemical practices, so ask. Or buy a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share, which lets you split the price—and yield—of a farmer's harvest. Every week you get a box of produce. Prices and share sizes vary but, in general, you can net a portion that will feed two or three people a week for less than $20.

Hope these tips help you save money and eat healthy. Also hope you have a beary safe and great Friday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab