If you’re looking for simple ways to save money on healthful food, then this blog is for you. Here are my top 10 tips for cutting down on that grocery bill and still walking out with a basketful of nutritious items.

1. Shop at a farmer’s market first thing in the morning. When you go there before the crowds, you can get bags of slightly-bruised fruits and veggies for a fraction of the cost. For example, you can buy three to four pounds of apples or bananas for $1! And did you know that bananas are best when they have brown spots on them?

2. Shop at the farmer’s market right when they are about to close. When you go to a market at the end of the day, farmers may give you an extra discount. For many vendors it is more profitable to sell you the leftover foods at as much as 50 percent off than to take them home and try selling later.

3. Get the free Edible Florida magazine to learn about your local farmer’s markets. These full-color magazines are available at almost every Whole Foods Market as well as other locations around the area. Check them out online at ediblesouthflorida.com.

4. Sign up for your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. For about $25 a week you can pick up a large basket of fresh, organic produce to make your healthy meals with. CSA programs can also help you discover great unusual items like durian, kohlrabi, guanabana and many other exotic local foods.

5. Shop store sales. Stock up on shelf-stable foods like rice, oatmeal, beans and many others when they are promoted as buy one, get one free. Check out publix.com/bogo for deals at Publix, and make sure to check out coupon magazines at Whole Foods Market.

6. Buy large quantities of local produce that’s in season and freeze it when you find a great deal. For example, you can stock up on mangoes and coconut water and enjoy them for months to come. Add them to your smoothies, use them to jazz up simple breakfasts or create healthy desserts. 

7. Swap costly animal protein for plant-based complete protein of rice or potato with beans. Whereas organic chicken can cost $5.99 a pound, a 13-ounce box of cooked beans is only $1.59 and rice can cost as little as 50 cents a pound.

8. Eat something before you go shopping. It may sound like a common advice, but it’s important. Whenever I shop hungry, I almost always over-buy. If I shop when I am satisfied with my last meal, then I usually stick to my shopping list.

9. Don’t let leftovers to go bad. Freeze them in individual containers and eat later. I like to make large portions of soups and then freeze them in two-cup glass bowls. When I am in the mood for soup, I simply re-heat it and dinner is ready.

10. Drink eight to 16 ounces of water, 30 minutes before your meals. You’’ll trick your brain into thinking you’re full, and you may find yourself wanting half the meal you usually eat – saving yourself extra cash. Replace soda with filtered water and you can save yourself $182 a year if you spend at least 50 cents on carbonated beverages a day.

••••••••

For more from the Green Goddess, click here.

About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida,  Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.