Eating Healthy on a Budget + A Giveaway!

*This post is in partnership with Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market stores. All opinions are my own.

I LOVE grocery stores.

I could spend literally hours wandering the aisles, looking at products, and buying all the food. I would say libraries and grocery stores are my two happiest places to spend time. This is my life.

I was contacted by Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market, a natural and organic grocery store. To my embarrassment, I had never heard of it aside from knowing my friend Ashley shops there in Michigan. I was surprised to find out that they have a location in Chicago and immediately wanted to go there, buy everything, and write about it. If someone who loves taking field trips to grocery stores didn’t know about it, OBVIOUSLY no one else must know about it and it’s my mission to tell the world. 🙂

The goal of this post is to help show that eating healthy doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but before I get into that I wanted to talk a little bit about the store itself.

Fresh Thyme takes a slightly different approach to grocery shopping. Because their emphasis is on fresh, healthy fare, you’re immediately greeted by a giant produce department, much of which is organic and sourced from local farms. Processed foods are minimal and everything else can be found surrounding the nucleus of produce in the center.

There is a large selection of bulk foods as well as an extensive natural products selection.

As this post is geared at helping you eat healthier for less, I also want to take time to mention that prices are more than fair. I was surprised at how many items were on sale. Not just random things I wouldn’t normally buy, but much of the produce, the frozen vegetables I bought, and many everyday items. Sales are the best.

I chose to make two recipes that are healthy AND cheap — two of my favorite things. They’re also super quick to make which is also the best since I’m super lazy when it comes to making meals.

While fresh produce is always a good choice, frozen vegetables are another great option. They are often flash frozen, which maintains the nutrients and are just as good as their fresh counterparts.

Here is the breakdown for the above recipe of trout (which I baked) and mixed vegetables:

  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables = $1.59 (on sale!)
  • Boneless Trout = $3.99
  • Total for one meal = $5.58

I used the whole bag of veggies, but if that’s too much you could also split it in half. For an even cheaper dinner, replace the fish with turkey or chicken.

The second recipe I made was my healthier chicken curry — the recipe which you can find here. I portioned the recipe into two large servings, but you can easily do three.

Price breakdown (ingredients I didn’t have on hand):

  • 1 lb chicken breast = $2.32
  • Diced Tomatoes = $.79
  • yellow onion = $.40 (on sale!)
  • Total = $3.51 — price per serving (3) = $1.17

There are tons of ways to eat better for less. Don’t feel obligated to buy organic everything or think you need every fancy powder on the market. Some tips that may help you on your next shopping trip:

  1. Buy store brands
  2. Buy frozen or canned veggies
  3. Look for sales
  4. Shop bulk bins
  5. Buy larger amounts of food and freeze for later (often costs less the more you buy — think Costco)
  6. Make large quantities of your meal and freeze for later

Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for. Fresh Thyme is offering a $50 gift card to one reader so you can see just how easy it is to eat healthy on a budget. To enter, simply choose from the options below to ensure you get as many entries as possible!

This goes without saying, but since this is a Midwest grocery chain, make sure you have access to a Fresh Thyme store before entering.

The giveaway will stay open until midnight CST on Monday, March 27th. A winner will be chosen at random and I will mail your gift card out. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow:

33 Comments

  1. March 22, 2017 / 7:35 am

    I’m really glad I’m not the only one who enjoys field tripping to grocery stores…haha! It’s seriously the best! If I ever come to visit Chicago can you please take me around to some good grocery stores and then we can eat delicious foods 😀 Susie must also come!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…When Things Don’t Go Your WayMy Profile

  2. March 22, 2017 / 8:01 am

    I LOVE grocery stores!!! I can seriously spend all day in one exploring, etc. That’s probably why my husband really dislikes grocery shopping with me. LOL I’m sad we don’t have a Fresh Thyme here – yet another reason I need to come to Chicago! BUT, I am excited about making your chicken curry again!! NOM!

  3. March 22, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Wow! Fresh Thyme sounds like a really dreamy store; I LOVE local produce and I would love to shop there if we had nearby. I love how you illustrated it’s not hard to make easy, delicious, filling meals on a budget.
    Emily recently posted…Lemon Buttery Skillet Cookie (Gluten Free + Vegan Option)My Profile

  4. Kim Conley
    March 22, 2017 / 8:57 am

    We have a Fresh Thyme in Des Moines, IA and I’ve been meaning to check it out!

  5. Jessica
    March 22, 2017 / 9:07 am

    I agree so much with frozen vegetables being a big help in eating healthy on a budget. I would also say to shop from your own pantry first, cook big batches and freeze leftovers, and shop the sales. I feel very passionately about not wasting food as well, which definitely saves money. You can freeze veggie scraps to make your own vegetable stock, and use leftover odds and ends for soups.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Samantha Padula
    March 22, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Oooh the Treasure Island I live by now is crazy overpriced! And their produce is meh…

  7. March 22, 2017 / 10:15 am

    I LOVE wandering grocery stores and markets when I have the time. I’m also a huge fan of frozen produce – with my busy schedule I can’t always eat it quickly enough, and I haaaaate wasting food, so frozen it is!
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…The Hot Seat QuestionsMy Profile

  8. Allison
    March 22, 2017 / 11:11 am

    Thanks for sharing Erin! I need to get over to Fresh Thyme ASAP and stock up on everything delicious!

  9. Antoinette Overton
    March 22, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    You know we have one of these right up the street and I’ve never gone. Guess I’ll have to mosey on over!!

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 25, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      It’s so nice!!

  10. Nicole
    March 22, 2017 / 8:10 pm

    I’ve never been into Fresh Thyme but have driven past it a bunch of times. I will definitely be checking it out after this post. I love that they focus on local produce!

  11. March 22, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    I eat tons of eggs and buy produce on sale!

  12. Hillary
    March 22, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    I definitely use Pinterest, follow money saving Blogs and I made slow cooker meals for the week. I also shop at aldi

  13. Susan B
    March 23, 2017 / 5:05 am

    I was so happy when Fresh Thyme opened up here! Love it! Buying in bulk, watching sales, buying in season produce or frozen if it’s not in season, buying store brands….I guess those are the ways I try to save money on food.

  14. March 23, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    Eating healthy on a budget – such an awesome topic! Truth be told, we go to 3 different grocery stores to get everything we need at a great price. We love the produce and price points at Fresh Thyme! Thanks for sharing, Lovely Doll. Xx

  15. Katie J
    March 23, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    Love finding out about other grocery stores where I don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for some fresh produce!! cough cough whole foods… cough cough….

  16. March 23, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    I love walking through new grocery stores as well. I like to look for the fresh fruits and veggies that are on sale and stock up on meat that may be on sale to put in the freezer to save money.

  17. Allison
    March 23, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    I love our new Fresh Thyme stores popping up in Michigan! The prices are unbelievable! Great bulk bins and produce.

  18. Mahdi Martin
    March 25, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    Staying away from the pre packaged food section is the way to go.

  19. Sam
    March 25, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    LOVE fresh thyme! They have the best oatmeal (and cheap!)

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 25, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Ooh I’ll have to check next time!

  20. Laura
    March 26, 2017 / 8:32 am

    Shop for what’s on sale and in season!

  21. March 26, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    I drink so many smoothies, and I like to have different flavored ones every day, so I keep loads of frozen fruit and spinach. That saves me a lot of money because if I bought it fresh, a lot of it would go bad before I used it, haha! 🙂 This is such a great post and thank you for hosting the giveaway!

  22. KElly M.
    March 27, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    I go to the store without a list and shop whatever is on sale and within my meal plan. I also buy dried food in bulk and cook it in the crock pot 🙂

  23. Jana
    March 27, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    Love the bulk section!

  24. March 27, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    I always take a look at the store coupons before I go and/or while I’m in the store! I also try to shop locally and seasonally as often as possible!

  25. Lindsay
    March 27, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    I make a list and shop the ads in hopes of identifying the best shops to hit up for what I need. We are getting a Fresh Thyme grocery store here in Bloomington where I live.

  26. Brighid
    March 27, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    I love grocery stores also! I have only been to Fresh Thyme once- I need to visit it more often!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge