Lately, I’ve been trying to make healthier choices with the food I put on the table. Something that I know held me back for quite a while was assuming that making any healthy changes to my diet would result in a substantial increase in my grocery costs. While my grocery costs have increased overall, I’m okay with that because we’re eating a lot healthier now. However, not all healthy changes automatically lead to a higher cost.
Below you’ll find four healthy swaps that you can make without affecting your grocery budget. If you do happen to see an increase, it shouldn’t be more than a few cents over the version you’re eating now.
1. Swap White Rice for Brown Rice
If I’m cooking up something saucy or sticky every once in a while, I’ll spring for the white rice. It’ll complement the dish perfectly (like in this sticky chicken dish). But when it comes to routine dinners, I find myself reaching for the brown rice more often than not. First off, it’s a whole grain, while white rice is a refined grain (read more on grains here). Brown rice has fewer calories and carbs per serving. And it also packs a more powerful punch of fiber. So on a day-to-day basis, it’s an easy healthy swap that I don’t mind making.
2. Swap Sour Cream for Greek Yogurt
When I first heard about subbing Greek yogurt for sour cream I was hesitant to try it. Putting yogurt on my burritos, really? No thanks. But then I did a little research. Apparently, Greek yogurt has more protein, less sodium, less fat, less cholesterol and fewer calories than sour cream. Basically, it’s sour cream 2.0… and this worthy imposter was staring us right in the face all along.
So I tried it. I did a taste comparison between the Greek yogurt and sour cream. The results? The Greek yogurt tasted like Greek yogurt, and the sour cream like sour cream. Not exactly ground breaking. But then I put a dollop of each on the burritos, and honest to coffee, couldn’t tell a difference between the two. So try it. I promise, you won’t notice a difference.
3. Swap Shredded Cheese for Block Cheese
Most of us toss at least one bag of pre-shredded cheese into our shopping carts each week. I did the same thing until a reader recommended shredding my own cheese in order to save money. While I do often save money by shredding my own cheese, sometimes it’s a wash on the cost and that’s okay. Shredding my own cheese allows me to avoid added ingredients (i.e. not cheese) in the cheese I use to cook dinner for our meals. Read this for a more thorough explanation of why you should shred your own cheese.
4. Store-bought Salad dressing for Homemade Vinaigrette
Swap your store-bought salad dressing for a homemade vinaigrette. Not only is it far less expensive, but it’s healthier and can be done in 30 seconds flat. Pour one part vinegar, one part EVOO in a jar, add a little salt and pepper if you’d like. Screw on the lid and shake for a few seconds. Done. Easy, right? You can add other ingredients as well and play around with the types of vinegar you use. It’s dirt cheap, healthy and can contain as little as two ingredients if you so choose.
Do you have any recommendations for easy healthy swaps that can be made without impacting the budget? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts below! This is a large topic and I know I’ve just touched on the tip of the iceberg.