How to Snack in a Healthy and Cost-Effective Way

You don’t need to sacrifice on healthy snacks just for the sake of your budget.

There are lots of ways to stay balanced and stay on track with your spending—it just takes a little bit of creativity and planning.
The grocery store is one of the toughest places for keeping your budget in check. But, while you might be familiar with general tips for saving money on your groceries, it’s less common to see tips that are specifically geared toward cost-effective snacking, especially when your focus is on healthy snacks that will provide you with wholesome nutrition and lasting energy.

Fortunately, we’re here to help on that front. Below, we’re sharing our best tips for budget snacking that fills you up without emptying your pockets. When you stretch your dollars on healthy snacks that you love, you don’t just benefit your bank account—you also benefit your physical and mental health.

Ready to save? Here are some tips for making it happen.

1. Stock up on spices

It’s amazing what some spice can do. Routinely check the spice aisle for sales and great deals, and when you see them, snag your favorites to amp up simple and affordable snacks. Spices like cumin, turmeric, and fennel seed are packed with nutrients in their own right, and can take a healthy basic like popcorn, nuts, fruit, and sweet potatoes to a whole new level. As a bonus, a standard spice bottle should last for months—if not a year or more.

Some interesting pairings: cayenne pepper on fresh watermelon slices, tajin on mango, or a mix of garlic powder and dried chives on plain popcorn. Yum!

2. Buy your nuts in bulk

Nuts are one of the healthiest snacks around, offering a big dose of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in every serving. And while they can run a bit pricey, if you buy in bulk from stores that purchase wholesale nuts you can seriously save while getting more of the good stuff. Eat them on their own for a burst of energy during the workday, or add to oatmeal, salads, and smoothies for a big nutrition boost without a big investment.

3. Take advantage of coupons and loyalty programs

Many stores today run apps and coupon programs that can save you a ton of money both in individual trips and in the long run. Learn how to increase your coupon savviness, and set aside some time before you hit the store to look through available deals and clip the ones that look appealing to you.

Thanks to smartphones, you don’t have to worry anymore about cutting coupons out and bringing them to the store with you in an envelope. Today, it’s a lot easier to put coupons to work and to get major savings on healthy snacks that are often quite costly, such as avocados and whole grain alternatives.

4. Skip the pre-packaged items

It’s almost always going to be cheaper to package your own single serving snacks than to buy them ready to go. As a bonus, you’ll usually get a lot more for your money too. Buy a block of your favorite whole-fat cheese, slice it, and pair it with apple slices, grapes, and almonds for a cheap DIY protein box. Or, buy a box of whole grain crackers and portion it out into single servings you can grab and go, instead of opting for the pre-packaged varieties which usually skimp on total volume.

A little prep goes a long way with healthy and cost-effective snacking. Take a minute to prep at the beginning of the week and you can take your budget a whole lot further.

5. Shop frozen fruits and veggies for healthy smoothies

Big fan of smoothies? Buy your fruits and veggies frozen instead of fresh. Not only will you get more for your money, but you also won’t have to worry about them going bad in the fridge before you can get to them. Look for sales and store brands, and buy double (or triple!) when your favorites are on clearance. They’ll last for about six to nine months in the freezer, so you’ll always have plenty of yummy, healthy fruits and veggies ready to go.

Saving money never has to mean cutting back on nutritious snacks. Follow the tips above to snack healthy and within your budget, and you might wonder why anybody finds themselves spending so much on snacks in the first place.