Q. We have a tight budget but also want to eat healthy. Do you have any tips?

A. There are many ways to save money on your grocery bill and also eat healthier. Here are five budget-friendly shopping tips.

Plan to save your pennies

Meal planning and weight management go hand in hand, but meal planning can also help you save your hard-earned paycheck.

Planning meals helps as you compile your grocery list and makes shopping more efficient. Without a plan, you’re more likely to purchase extra items or not enough — and then takeout becomes more tempting. Pro tip: Don’t shop on an empty stomach; hitting the store while hungry will push you over your budget faster than you can say “junk food.”

Buy whole foods

It’s no secret that some foods are less expensive in a less processed form. For example, a block of cheese is cheaper than shredded cheese, and a canister of oats is less expensive than a box of instant oatmeal packets.

Of course conveniently cut up fruit and portioned yogurt saves you time, but this is an area that can save you some extra dough. And speaking of dough: when selecting grains, like bread, choose the whole-wheat options, rather than their white counterparts. This small swap will provide you a healthier nutritional profile without spending more.

Shop smart to fill your cart

Buy private label or store-branded products. Store brands offer the same quality; they’re just less expensive. Take note, many private or store brands have names that may be incognito. Store websites are usually a great resource to uncover all these hidden gems. Be on the lookout for these brands and watch your savings add up.

Stock up on sales

We all love a good deal, but it can backfire. Ask yourself: “Is this item something I’d normally buy, or am I just interested in it because it looks like a steal?” Pro tip: Make sure a product is going to last for a while (if not using soon), because it won’t save you money if you end up throwing it out later.

Frozen produce helps

We all have good intentions of using the head of broccoli staring at us each time we open the fridge, but as the week goes on, unfortunately so does the quality. That’s where frozen vegetables come into play.

They are convenient and an easy addition to any meal. An added perk is that frozen produce is already cut and chopped for you, making it a convenient (and nutritious) choice without waste!

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